Schools’ role in supporting teenagers – Ms. Monika Chhabra, Principal
Schools’ role in supporting teenagers
Adolescence is a tumultuous time where rapid social, emotional, cognitive and physical developments take place. For teenagers, they often face an identity crisis where they struggle to cement their morals and values, opinions and decide which groups to identify with. Volatile behaviour is a natural characteristic of teenage. As educators we should be able to comprehend adolescent psychology as it deals with all the issues faced during puberty so that we are able to ensure that they don’t have a long-lasting negative impact on the life of any student. Schools and school counsellors should be able to identify the various issues that the teenaged students might encounter, like identity crisis, social relationships, sexuality, independence etc. and help them sail through such difficult situations.
Teenagers develop the ability to think abstractly, which can also jeopardize them. At the same time, their logical reasoning skills guide them and they develop the ability to judge better. Teachers can actually use this to assign them challenging tasks to increase their motivation towards academics.
Social and academic competition is also a very prominent aspect of teenage. Schools can play a significant role by providing them a platform to become independent, explore their interests, thoughts and values and hence develop a stable sense of their identity. Parents and teachers can help by allowing teens to make their own choices to help them gain confidence in their abilities. As peer relations are very important to teens and they begin to identify with their peer group, parents and teachers can equip them with proper tools to enable them to interact with peers and cope with competition. This way they can form mature social relationships that can provide them with quality social support.
Besides this, teenage aggression is a way of venting their emotions and frustrations that are cultivated because of their hormonal change. Teachers and parents should strive to find a more productive and engaging activity for this emotional venting to prevent behavioural issues. Being connected with your child is very important. Social isolation, loss of interest in activities those were pleasurable before, rapid weight loss or weight gain can all be warning signs. Ultimately, if one has an amicable and understanding relationship with their child, they might be able to provide support to their teen.
Often, teenagers are hungry for positive feedbacks outside the class engagement and hence it’s very essential that the teachers help them satisfy their need of validation in a positive manner and provide them opportunities to express their ideas, values and even resurrect the spirit of fun. Outdoor activities can be certainly instrumental in their harmonious development.
Understanding the teenage mind and its development can be very beneficial for both teachers and their students. Teachers would be capable of effectively motivating their students towards academics and students would be able to find comfort in a teacher who can understand and help them resolve their problems. With the school and parents working hand in hand, the teenagers can be guided through this tough yet beautiful phase of life that can be treasured as beautiful memories. This will also enable them to use their full potential towards sculpting their careers and remain undaunted in challenging situations.