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ADOLESCENCE – A PERIOD OF
                 ‘STRESS AND STRAIN’
                       - A SEMINAR PAPER




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SCE Seminar 2009                          Taxila: Adolescent Development -Challenges and Role of School and Teachers




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SCE Seminar 2009                   Taxila: Adolescent Development -Challenges and Role of School and Teachers




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SCE Seminar 2009                   Taxila: Adolescent Development -Challenges and Role of School and Teachers




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SCE Seminar 2009                    Taxila: Adolescent Development -Challenges and Role of School and Teachers




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SCE Seminar 2009                    Taxila: Adolescent Development -Challenges and Role of School and Teachers




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SCE Seminar 2009                     Taxila: Adolescent Development -Challenges and Role of School and Teachers




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SCE Seminar 2009                       Taxila: Adolescent Development -Challenges and Role of School and Teachers




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Physical, Motor and Social Development during Adolescence and Role of School and Teacher

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Seminar Paper- Satyam College of Education 2009-2010; Author: Rashmi Sharma

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  1. 1. ADOLESCENCE – A PERIOD OF ‘STRESS AND STRAIN’ - A SEMINAR PAPER 10 SEPTEMBER 2009 SUBMITTED BY: Taxila Group B.Ed. (2009 – 2010) MENTOR: Ms. Preeti Goel GROUP MEMBERS: Aparajita Archana Bhardwaj Geeta Gunjan Singh Manisha Sadhnani Neeti Tyagi Neetu Singh Poornima Rawat Preeti Sharma Rakhi Bulani Rashmi Rathi Rashmi Sharma Seema Kumari Shabnam Kandwal Shiney K. Jose Sujatha Rath Swati Priyadarshan Swati Seth Vandana Yogmaya Pal
  2. 2. SCE Seminar 2009 Taxila: Adolescent Development -Challenges and Role of School and Teachers Adolescence – A Period of ‘Stress and Strain’ and the Role of School and Teacher in Adolescent Development Abstract Adolescence is one of the most fascinating and perhaps most complex stage of life, its breathtaking pace of growth and change second only to that of infancy. Physically, children go from being small and compact one day to being all legs and arms the next. They mature sexually. They also develop the capacity to reason in more abstract ways, explore the concepts of right and wrong, develop hypotheses and think about the future. This is the time when people take on new responsibilities and experiment with independence. Due to the complexities and challenges faced by an individual during this stage, psychologists have termed it as a period of great ‘stress and storm’, ‘stress and strife’. When adolescents are supported and encouraged by caring adults, they thrive in unimaginable ways, becoming resourceful and contributing members of families and communities. School and teachers play a very significant role in facilitating the growth and development of adolescents. Hence it is critical for schools and teachers to understand the various physical, social and psychosocial changes that occur in an individual during this period and ways to deal and help him/her navigate successfully through this stage. This paper describes the challenges faced by adolescents, various changes that take place in their body and behaviour as well as the ways in which school and teacher can facilitate them in reaching their full potential. 1. Introduction Derived from the Latin verb adolescere (to grow into “I’ll be fifteen, maturity), adolescence is the period of transition from And soon a man! childhood to adulthood. Adolescent is a distinct and The very thought of its delights me But even now none dares to slight me dynamic phase of development in the life of an To look with scorn at me, none can individual. It is a period of transition from childhood to Treat me disdainfully or lightly adulthood and is characterized by spurts of physical, I’m no pink-cheeked smiling laddie mental, emotional and social development. WHO I’ve sprouted a moustache already considers "adolescence" to be the period between 10-19 A gaffer’s mien is mine, it’s proud My voice is gruff and also loud years of age, which generally encompasses the time from And for a fight I’m always ready” the onset of puberty of the full legal age. -Alexander Pushkin While the onset of adolescence is usually associated with the commencement of puberty and the appearance of secondary sex characteristics, the end of adolescence is less well defined. It varies from culture as far as the attainment of adult independence is concerned. It is a time when influences outside the family take a greater significance. Adolescents find themselves facing new opportunities and are eager to assume new responsibilities. It is also a formative stage in terms of sexual and reproductive maturity. During this phase of transition from childhood, adolescents are often confused about the physical and emotional changes in their bodies and feel hesitant and embarrassed to discuss them with anyone. Therefore, adolescence is a critical period which influences one’s well- being throughout life. School and teachers have a crucial role in helping adolescents resolve their physical and social illusions and in guiding them in their search for identity and a role in the society. 2
  3. 3. SCE Seminar 2009 Taxila: Adolescent Development -Challenges and Role of School and Teachers 1.1.Definitions of Adolescence Following are some important definitions of adolescence: World Health Organization: WHO defines adolescence both in terms of age (10-19 years) and in terms of a phase of life marked by following special attributes: • Rapid Physical growth and Development • Physical, social and psychological maturity, but not all the same time • Sexual maturity and the onset of sexual activity • Experimentation • Development of adult mental processes and adult identity • Transition from total socio-economic dependence to relative independence. G.R. Medinnus and R.C.Johnson: Adolescence begins when signs of sexual maturity begin to occur in both physical and social development and ends when the individual assumes adult roles and is concerned in most ways as an adult by his reference group. Dorothy Rogers: Adolescence is a process rather than a period, a process of achieving the attitudes and beliefs needed for effective participation in society. The Hadow Report in England: There is a tide which begins to rise in the veins of youth at the age of eleven or twelve. It is called by the name of adolescence. If the tide can be taken as flood, and a new voyage began in the stream and along the flow of its current, we think it ill move on to fortune. 2 Adolescence: A period of ‘Stress and Strain’ Adolescence is typically a time of great stress and strain on the body, mind and emotions. E.A. Peel (1956) is of the view, “The adolescent is beset by problems of divided loyalties, accentuated by the lack of adult privileges and responsibilities. He thus appears excessively aggressive and then excessively shy, excessively affectionate and then quite suddenly detached and cool. These are all problems of the stress and strains of transitions.” G.Stanley Hall also referred to the period of adolescence as a time of “strum and drang” or “storm and stress”. This is explained by the fact that adolescents experience more life- changing external and internal factors and situations than pre-adolescents. Hall attributed the flood of hormones through the body and the internal changes that are experienced during this period, a major contribution to stress. Some of the external changes, which can happen at any age, could be family related, sickness, death, divorce, or trouble with the law. Some of the other changes that occur during this period can be labelled as school-based, such as trouble with grades, breaking up with a girlfriend or boyfriend, or being cut from a sports team. Overall, there is more of a daily connection to negative events during the period of adolescence than during the periods of pre-adolescence (LeFrançois, 1996). Adolescents begin to “break free” from their parents to find their own identities and in some cases that break create a loss of childhood reality, or the protective nature of childhood. Adolescence is also called a period of “Challenges and Potential”. An adolescent has enormous physical, ideational and intellectual potential. Simultaneously, he is faced with great challenges on account of his rapid physical growth, soaring as well as falling ideals, and his search for identity as he is neither a child nor an adult, his growing sexual desires, heightened emotions and lack of appropriate opportunities to channelise his enormous energy. All these issues together make adolescence a stage of “stress and storm”. The formula ‘no 3
  4. 4. SCE Seminar 2009 Taxila: Adolescent Development -Challenges and Role of School and Teachers longer a child-not yet an adult’ vividly expresses the transitional character of adolescent life. It is a state in which the person has already broken with the happy age of childhood, but has not yet found himself in adult life. That is why the adolescent’s mind is confused. The age of adolescence is marked by psychological manifestations that have caused it to be described as “an age of crisis and transition”. An adolescent is faced with several alternatives on account of his ‘conflicts and dilemmas’. ‘To do or not to do’ attitude creates several problems. An adolescent’s notion of ‘knowing it all’ makes him confront several difficulties. Some of the important adolescence problems and worries are briefly described underneath: 1. Becoming Independent: J.A.Hadfield (1962) is of the view, “when we speak of adolescent as growing up we mean that the youth is leaving behind the phase of protective childhood and is becoming independent. 2. Age of ideals: Jean Piaget defines adolescence as, “the age of great ideals and the beginning of theories as well as the time of simple adaptation to life” 3. Health and Adolescence: Adolescence is physically a very critical phase. Various ailments that often manifest themselves are anaemia, nosebleed, nervousness, palpitation of heart etc. 4. Sex and Adolescence: The onset of adolescence is marked by development of sexual and reproductive organs, onset of menstruation etc. which are physically too many issues for an adolescent to deal with. They also develop different sexual orientations during this period. 5. Day dreams: Adolescents live in the fantasy world of love, achievement, security. They exhibit exuberant imagination. 6. Sexual attraction: adolescents feel attracted towards the opposite sex. These feelings manifest themselves in extreme passion. 7. Revolting tendency: The adolescent wants to free himself from bondage. There is a tendency to revolt against authority. 3. Physical Development during Adolescence Adolescence is characterized by dramatic physical changes moving the individual from childhood into physical maturity. Early, prepubescent changes are noted with the appearance of secondary sexual characteristics. Girls may begin to develop breast buds as early as 8 years old, with full breast development achieved anywhere from 12 to 18 years. Pubic hair growth -- as well as armpit and leg hair -- typically begins at about age 9 or 10, and reaches adult distribution patterns at about 13 to 14 years. Menarche (the beginning of menstrual periods) typically occurs about 2 years after initial pubescent changes are noted. It may occur as early as 10 years, or as late as 15 years, with the average in urban India being about 12.6 years. A concurrent rapid growth in height occurs between the ages of about 9.5 and 14.5 years, peaking somewhere around 12 years. Boys may begin to note scrotal and testicular enlargement as early as 9 years of age, followed closely by lengthening of the penis. Adult size and shape of the genitals is typically reached by age 16 to 17 years. Pubic hair growth -- as well as armpit, leg, chest, and facial hair -- begins in males about age 12, and reaches adult distribution patterns at about 15 to 16 years. 4
  5. 5. SCE Seminar 2009 Taxila: Adolescent Development -Challenges and Role of School and Teachers A concurrent rapid growth in height occurs between the ages of about 10.5 to 11 and 16 to 18, peaking around age 14. Puberty is not marked with a sudden incident in males, as it is with the onset of menstruation in females. The appearance of regular nocturnal emissions (wet dreams), which may occur about every 2 weeks with the build-up of seminal fluid, marks the onset of puberty in males. This typically occurs between the ages of 13 and 17 years, with the average at about 14.5 years. Voice change in the male typically occurs parallel to penile growth, and the occurrence of nocturnal emissions occurs with the peak of the height spurt. Table 1: Physical changes during Adolescence Boys Girls • Increase in height • Beginning of menstruation • Growth spurt • Enlargement of breasts • Permanent teeth are in • Increase in height • Oily skin • Broadening of hips • Broadening of shoulders • Growth spurt • Development of muscles • Permanent teeth are in • Change in voice • Oily skin • Appearance of hair on face, armpit and other • Appearance of hair on armpit and other places places • Manifestation of sexual desires • Masturbation Adolescents are often extremely sensitive and perceptive about their own physical appearance and that of their friends. The discrepancies between their less than perfect self-images and the glossy ideals that they are supposed to emulate can be a real source of anxiety. 3.1Role of School and Teacher in Fostering Physical Development To promote health and to direct the enormous energy of adolescents a well-directed physical development programme is necessary at school. This should not be confined to the playground but should pervade the classroom and in fact the entire school programme. Such a programme should stress upon the following: 3.1.1.Role of School a) Sports and Physical exercise: Physical exercise should be compulsory for all students in the school. Students should be involved in a variety of sports, both indoor and outdoor. Yoga plays a great role in physical as well as emotional well-being and hence should be encouraged in the school. A well-qualified sports teacher must be available in the school in order to strengthen the value of sports in physical fitness of adolescence. b) Activities promoting Motor Development: Activities like woodwork, spinning and weaving, book binding, gardening etc. may be introduced in the school. c) Nutrition education: Adolescent girls may become so obsessed with their weight that they develop severe eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia. Anorexia nervosa refers to starvation; bulimia refers to binge eating and vomiting. This necessitates the importance of nutrition education. d) Medical check up: Medical examination of school children by the school doctor should be made at suitable intervals to timely detect any serious problems arising in adolescents. e) Sex education: Drastic sexual changes take place during adolescence and to help them understand these and have a healthy attitude about sexuality, sex education must be a part of curriculum 5
  6. 6. SCE Seminar 2009 Taxila: Adolescent Development -Challenges and Role of School and Teachers 3.1.2.Role of Teacher )a Appropriate seating arrangements and good lighting should be ensured to impress upon the adolescents the importance of studying under healthy surroundings. )b Teachers of adolescents should understand components, principles, and theories of adolescent physical and motor development, as noted in research. )c Teacher should motivate the students to take part in physical activities and sports. )d Teacher must also share the importance of physical health and nutrition with parents during parent-teacher interactions. )e Teacher should act like a guide or a mentor to students so that they feel confident to ask questions and concerns regarding their physical development. 4. Social Development during Adolescence Social development refers to the process of development by which a child acquires the necessary attitudes, skills and values that make him an acceptable member of the group to which he belongs. Following changes characterize the social development in adolescents: 1. Friends or peers: This stage is often marked with increased friendly relationships. During early adolescence, having close relationships and being accepted into a peer group is very important. A child’s actions can be greatly changed by peers or peer pressure. They trust their peers more. More time spent with friends gives a child more chances to try new things. He may try smoking, drinking alcohol, or sexual activity. By middle adolescence, boys and girls start to become friends, which often lead to dating. 2. Sex social relationships: Adolescence is marked with too much sex consciousness resulting in sexual social relationships. Whereas opposite-sex interactions are infrequent in childhood, they increase during adolescence. 3. Community: During adolescence loyalty becomes very pronounced and adolescents are willing to sacrifice their selfish interests for the greater cause of the group, society and nation 4. Family: In adolescence there is also an increasing desire for autonomy, of separating from parents and becoming an independent adult. This desire may lead to heightened family conflict (e.g., arguments about time spent with peers) and defiant behaviours (e.g., affiliation with antisocial peers and engagement in delinquent activities). These manifestations of autonomy striving have resulted in the frequent use of the term "adolescent storm" in referring to this age. 4.1 Psycho-social Development in Adolescence Psychosocial development means psychological development in a social realm. That is, psychosocial development is how a person's mind, emotions, and maturity level develop throughout the course of their lifetime in interaction with their environment. Several psychologists have worked on psychosocial development of individual. However the most accepted theory so far is of Erik Homburger Erikson (1902-1994), a developmental psychologist and a psychoanalyst. The word 'psychosocial' is a term given by Erik Erikson, effectively from the words psychological (mind) and social (relationships). It was adolescence that interested Erikson first and most, and the patterns he saw here were the bases for his thinking about all the other stages. According to him, there are eight stages of psychosocial development that all people go 6
  7. 7. SCE Seminar 2009 Taxila: Adolescent Development -Challenges and Role of School and Teachers through. Each stage builds upon the previous one, beginning at birth and not ending throughout all of life. People are constantly constructing and reconstructing their identity, which is based upon their maturational unfolding, or the progression of change within themselves. This comes into conflict with cultural challenges and how people react to them regarding the demands and expectations placed upon them. It creates a crisis that helps them move along to the next developmental stage. This is the general idea behind the psychosocial developmental stages. Table 2: Eight stages of Psycho-social development as given by Erikson Stage /Age Erikson’s psychosocial crisis stages I. Infancy Trust v Mistrust II. Toddler Autonomy v Shame and doubt III. Preschooler Initiative v Guilt IV. School-age child Industry v Inferiority V. Adolescence Identity v Role-confusion VI. Young adult Intimacy v Isolation VII. Middle adult Generativity v Self-absorption VIII. Old adult Integrity v Despair Each stage involves a crisis of two opposing emotional forces. A helpful term used by Erikson for these opposing forces is 'contrary dispositions'. Each crisis stage relates to a corresponding life stage and its inherent challenges. Erikson used the words 'syntonic' for the first-listed 'positive' disposition in each crisis (e.g., Trust) and 'dystonic' for the second-listed 'negative' disposition (e.g., Mistrust). To signify the opposing or conflicting relationship between each pair of forces or dispositions Erikson connected them with the word 'versus', which he abbreviated to 'v'. (Versus is Latin, meaning turned towards or against.) Successfully passing through each crisis involves 'achieving' a healthy ratio or balance between the two opposing dispositions that represent each crisis. For example a healthy balance at crisis stage one (Trust v Mistrust) might be described as experiencing and growing through the crisis 'Trust' (of people, life and one's future development) and also experiencing and growing a suitable capacity for 'Mistrust' where appropriate, so as not to be hopelessly unrealistic or gullible, nor to be mistrustful of everything. Erikson called these successful balanced outcomes 'Basic Virtues' or 'Basic Strengths' Where a person passes unsuccessfully through a psychosocial crisis stage they develop a tendency towards one or other of the opposing forces (either to the syntonic or the dystonic, in Erikson’s language), which then becomes a behavioural tendency, or even a mental problem. Erikson called an extreme tendency towards the syntonic (first disposition) a 'mal-adaptation' and that towards the dystonic (second disposition) a ‘malignancy’. He identified specific words to represent each of these at each stage. Identity v Role Confusion, the fifth stage of Erikson’s psychosocial development i.e. identity vs. role diffusion describes adolescence. Table 3: Identity v Role Confusion – an explanation 7
  8. 8. SCE Seminar 2009 Taxila: Adolescent Development -Challenges and Role of School and Teachers Meaning and The task during adolescence is to achieve ego identity and avoid role confusion. Interpretation Identity means essentially how a person sees themselves in relation to their world. It's a sense of self or individuality in the context of life and what lies ahead. It requires a person to take all he/she has learned about life and themselves and mold it into a unified self-image, one that the community finds meaningful. Role Confusion is the negative perspective - an absence of identity - meaning that the person cannot see clearly or at all ‘who’ they are and how they can relate positively with their environment. Young people struggle to belong and to be accepted and affirmed, and yet also to become individuals. In itself this is a big dilemma, aside from all the other distractions and confusions experienced at this life stage. Issues/ task Resolving identity and direction, becoming a grown-up Influences Peers, groups, influencers, role models Basic Virtues If an adolescent successfully negotiate this stage, he will have the virtue Erikson called fidelity. Fidelity means loyalty, the ability to live by societies standards despite their imperfections and incompleteness and inconsistencies. It does not imply blind loyalty or accepting the imperfections. After all, if one loves his community, he would want to see it become the best it can be. But fidelity means that an individual has found a place in that community, a place that will allow him/her to contribute. Mal- There is such a thing as too much “ego identity,” where a person is so involved in a adaptation particular role in a particular society or subculture that there is no room left for tolerance. Erikson calls this maladaptive tendency fanaticism. A fanatic believes that his way is the only way. Fanatics gather others around them and promote their beliefs and life-styles without regard to others’ rights to disagree. Malignancy The lack of identity is perhaps more difficult still, and Erikson refers to the malignant tendency here as repudiation. They repudiate their membership in the world of adults and, even more, they repudiate their need for an identity. After all, being “bad” or being “nobody” is better than not knowing who you are! An understanding of psycho-social development during this stage helps teachers and school to ensure that appropriate measures are taken and opportunities be provided to the adolescents in order to help them recognise their identity. 4.2 Role of School and Teacher in Satisfaction of Social – Emotional needs of an adolescent: The greatest influences on the social development of an adolescent are his/her peers. These peer relationships are formed largely at the school. Hence, school environment play a crucial role in shaping the social personality of an adolescent and raising his/ her social awareness. 4.1.1 Role of School a) Creative and Democratic concept of discipline: Traditional methods of discipline may lead to revolt and aggression in some cases and withdrawal in others. Therefore, creative and democratic ways of discipline are the need of hour. Adolescents should be made responsible for handling their own affairs and should be given authority to act responsibly b) Rich and varied curriculum: The curriculum in the school should relate to the real life of adolescents. If the learning in school in unrelated to their modern needs, it could lead to emotional disturbance. c) Appointment of teachers: Teachers of adolescents need to be very sensitive about the social changes taking place in the life of her adolescent students. School should take 8
  9. 9. SCE Seminar 2009 Taxila: Adolescent Development -Challenges and Role of School and Teachers utmost care while recruiting teachers to ensure that the teacher has knowledge and appropriate skill to handle the matters of adolescents. d) Provision of Sex education: Sex education plays a very important role in helping adolescents develop into a responsible adult. Sex education for adolescents is imperative for developing ethical, moral, wholesome and correct attitude towards the opposite sex and hence being a responsible social citizen. e) Freedom for self development: For development of a creative mind, freedom of self development and freedom for activity must be given in a school, offcourse under guidance from teacher. f) Provision of Co-curricular activities: Co-curricular activities provide an outlet for pent up emotions and redirection of emotional behaviour. This is especially important at a stage when an individual is undergoing a ‘storm’ of emotions. 4.1.2 Role of Teacher a) Due regard to Individual differences: Adolescents differ mentally, physically and emotionally. A teacher must study the specific needs of each student and respect individual difference between them. b) Use of dynamic methods of teaching: To ensure that the adolescents are motivated to study and develop in the desirable direction, dynamic teaching methods have to be adopted by a teacher. c) Guidance and counselling: A teacher should help adolescents explore career goals and options. She should ask questions about their future career goals and set up opportunities for them to "job shadow" others. d) Encourage involvement in Group activities: A teacher should remember that adolescents are trying to gain a sense of achievement - a sense of being uniquely good at something. She should give group assignments for both within the school as well as outside the school to facilitate that. e) Praise adolescents for their efforts as well as abilities: A teacher should leave no positive behaviour displayed by her students unacknowledged. Praise helps them develop a sense of confidence in attempting, persisting to and accomplishing a task. f) Be aware of what students are doing: Such monitoring should not end when youth enter their adolescent years. A teacher should be aware of what her adolescent students are indulging in order to guide them and make them a productive citizen of society. Conclusion At about age 10, girls and boys begin the long trek through adolescence. With its jagged and undefined paths, the fascinating journey can be demanding and disorienting, invigorating and 9
  10. 10. SCE Seminar 2009 Taxila: Adolescent Development -Challenges and Role of School and Teachers exciting. It marks the beginning of a quest for identity and for a way to find meaning and a place in the world. As adolescents enter the larger world, they are increasingly influenced by their peers and by adults other than their parents. They begin to explore their sexuality and to stretch and test themselves intellectually, creatively and socially through sports and other recreational activities. To support them in this exploration, adolescents need to develop life skills – skills in negotiation, conflict resolution, critical thinking, decision making and communication. These can help them develop strong friendships, resolve conflicts peacefully, cooperate in groups, build self-esteem and resist peer and adult pressure to take unnecessary risks. A nurturing school and classroom environment can help develop these skills and teach adolescents about citizenship, work skills and ethics, parenting and care giving. References: Agarwal J.C. (2007) “Basic Ideas in Educational Psychology”, Shipra Publications, New Delhi Berk Laura (2007) “Child Development”, Prentice Hall of India, New Delhi Steinberg, L.; Levine, A. (1997) ‘You and Your Adolescent: A Parent's Guide for Ages 10-20’, : Harper Collins Publishers Inc., Dunmore, PA http://www.unicef.org/publications/files/pub_adolescence_en.pdf Haber, D. and Blaber, C. (1995) “Health Education: A Foundation for Learning.” In: Content of the Curriculum, pp. 99-127 Erikson, Erik. (1963) ‘Childhood and Society’, Norton, New York 10

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