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Masters in Educational Practice: Child and adolescent development 0-19


Changing teens and changing brains



This topic has explored how the brain continues to develop throughout adolescence and beyond, it has highlighted the evidence which suggests that there is a surge in the production of the brain’s grey matter prior to puberty and discussed the implications of the changing brain for education. Change is exciting, and adolescence is certainly full of change.

However, just because an adolescent in your classroom may be reckless and moody, it doesn't mean that there is no rhyme or reason for their behaviour. Knowledge about brain development can help educators to understand the behaviours and abilities of this age group, and work with adolescents to develop.

Additional materials


Sheryl G. Feinstein. Secrets of the Teenage Brain: Research-Based Strategies for Reaching and Teaching Today's Adolescents. ISBN: 1412962676

Valerie F. Reyna, Sandra B. Chapman, Michael R. Dougherty & Jere Confrey. The Adolescent Brain: Learning, Reasoning, and Decision Making. ISBN:1433810700

Nicola Morgan. Blame My Brain - the amazing teenage brain revealed. ISBN:1406311162

Jeb Schenck. Teaching the Adolescent Brain: An Educator's Guide. ISBN: 0393706214

Glenda Beamon Crawford. Brain-Based Teaching With Adolescent Learning in Mind. ISBN: 1412950198

Interesting schools where they have changed the school day for teenagers

  • Monkseaton High School in North Tyneside – 13 to 19-year-olds school day is: 10am–3:40pm
  • Hugh Christie School in Kent County – 16 to 18-year-olds school day is: 11am–5pm
  • Schools Recently Delaying Start Times, etc.

Website resources

The development of the adolescent brain: 3 parts

Youtube - National Institute of Mental Health
Youtube - Adolescent Brain Development Part 1
Youtube - Adolescent Brain Development Part 2 
Youtube - Adolescent Brain Development Part 3

Adolescent brain

Youtube - Adolescent Brain

Teenage brain: 3 parts

Youtube - The Teenage Brain Part 1
Youtube - The Teenage Brain Part 2 
Youtube - The Teenage Brain Part 3 


Abreu-Villaça, Y., Seidler, F., Qiao, D., Tate, C., Cousins, M., Thillai, I., & Slotkin, T. (2003). Short-term adolescent nicotine exposure has immediate and persistent effects on cholinergic systems: Critical periods, patterns of exposure, dose thresholds. Neuropsychopharmacology, 28(11), 1935.

Baird, A., Gruber, S. A., Fein, D. A., Mass, L. C., Steingard, R. J., Renshaw, P. F., Yurgelun-Todd, D. A. (1999). Functional magnetic resonance imaging of facial affect recognition in children and adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 38(2), 195–199. doi: 10.1097/00004583-199902000-00019

Blakemore, S., & Choudhury, S. (2006). Development of the adolescent brain: Implications for executive function and social cognition. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47(3-4), 296–312. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2006.01611.x

Cicchetti, D., Cohen, D.J. (Ed.). (2006). Developmental psychopathology, vol 2: Developmental neuroscience (2nd ed.). Hobooken, NJ, USA: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Giedd, J., Blumenthal, J., Jeffries, N., Castellanos, F. X., Liu, H., Zijdenbos, A., Rapoport, J. (1999). Brain development during childhood and adolescence: A longitudinal MRI study. Nature Neuroscience, 2(10), 861–863. doi: 10.1038/13158

Pope H. G., Gruber A. J., Hudson J. I., Cohane G., Huestis M. A., &Yurgelun-Todd D. (2003). Early-onset cannabis use and cognitive deficits: What is the nature of the association? [Abstract]. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 69(3) 303–310. Retrieved from

Steinberg, L. (2004). Risk taking in adolescence: What changes, and why? Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1021(1), 51–58. doi: 10.1196/annals.1308.005

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