Learning & Education
Between puberty and the mid-20s, our brains undergo substantial changes in structure, function, and connectivity. This restructuring creates remarkable opportunities for learning, even mitigating effects from earlier adverse experiences.
Our sensitivity to reward, willingness to take risks, and attention to social status all increase during our adolescent years, motivating us to explore new environments and relationships. We become more active agents in our own learning and development. In middle school and high school, we are “super-learners,” especially primed to learn from real-life, hands-on experiences.
As we discover the widening world around us, we need developmentally appropriate support, including rich environments that encourage safe exploration and experimentation.
Of course, structural inequalities such as disparities in school quality and family resources as well as racial and ethnic discrimination mean that not all youth have the same opportunities. We as a society have to work to ensure that all young people have what they need to fuel the essential social and academic learning that will propel them to thriving adulthoods.
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Brief | December 20, 2019The Science Behind Adolescent Risk Taking and Exploration
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Fact Sheet | July 8, 2021Supporting Positive Development for Youth Post-Pandemic
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Learning & Education | July 14, 2021‘Don’t go back to the old normal’: Opportunities for Adolescent Learning Revealed by COVID-19
Learning & Education | April 20, 2021Adolescent Brains Are Wired to Want Status and Respect: That’s an Opportunity for Teachers and Parents
Exploration & Risk Taking | April 17, 2019Adolescents Are More Likely to Take Risks, and That’s a Good Thing
Contribution | March 1, 2019Adolescents Have a Fundamental Need to Contribute
Contribution | July 22, 2019Adolescents Need Opportunities to Contribute
July 19, 2020Scary but Thrilling: The Science of Taking Risks
Video | March 28, 2023Video: Youth Engagement Matters