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What are they thinking? Understanding the Adolescent Mind

Session 1
Carl Ackerman — Constitution High School

Based on the research of Daniel Siegel, M.D. and his book Brainstorm we will discuss myths about teenagers and the qualities of teens that Dr. Siegel describes as the ESSENCE of adolescence (Emotional Spark, Social Engagement, Novelty, and Creative Exploration). We will look at the research and discuss implications for our teaching. If we know how the adolescent brain develops, how does this impact the way we think about teaching and learning in our classrooms. We will also look at some of the strategies proposed by Dr. Siegel for fostering, nurturing, and exercising the adolescent brain so that students are able to link the limbic (emotion generating) area with their frontal lobe (thinking and decision making). We will discuss how we can integrate these exercises into our teaching. This discussion will be structured using an adaptation of the reflective conversation proposed by Dr. Siegel and the Harkness discussion model. This will allow participants to engage the ideas proposed by Dr. Siegel through a modification of one of his strategies for promoting brain integration.

Conversational Practice

Teachers will be a part of the conversation by following the reflective conversation protocols I've developed for use in my classroom. Teachers will go through the process while also discussing and sharing ideas. I will also use TAG cards at the end of the session for teachers to Tell what they liked, Ask a question, or Give advice. These responses will be posted (anonymously) on a weebly site dedicated to this conversation.

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Carl Ackerman

Thank you for coming to the session! I really enjoyed listening to the discussion on teenagers and how their development impacts learning. I hope everyone has a great Educon.

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