Building Better Teen Brains Tip #8

Get Real!

This is Brain Friendly tip #2 from Thomas Armstrong’s book, The Power of the Adolescent Brain.

Real-world experiences. Work activities engage higher-order thinking processes that are impacted by social and emotional influences…providing opportunities to develop executive functions…prefrontal cortex…

“…In real-world settings, adolescents are under optimal conditions for dealing with issues related to “hot” cognition, where on-the-spot behaviors and good decision making result in the formation of new neural connections between the emotional brain and the rational prefrontal cortex.. where life is unpredictable…with meaningful consequences.. that result from the choices we make…” (p.135)

Armstrong lists 6 ways that teachers can give students real world work experiences ….:

  1. Institute a job-shadowing program
  2. Provide internship experiences
  3. Create an apprenticeship program
  4. Establish a career academy
  5. Incorporate community-based learning and service learning
  6. Encourage entrepreneurial learning

Points to Ponder and Discuss:

  • Rate these suggestions from Best to Worst
  • Which idea(s) sound the most important or meaningful to you?
  • Which idea(s) are the most doable or feasible?
  • Which suggestion(s) are unrealistic or impossible to do?
  • If you had to choose one to do immediately, which one would you do and what would you have to do prepare to get started?

Do you have your own ideas for incorporating real world work experiences  into your subject area? What could help you to do more of this? Materials?