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Adolescents 1 differ greatly from children and intervention approaches effective for children may not work for adolescents — and, in some cases, may backfire. This stems from differing ways of processing information at different ages, as childrens’ and adolescents’ brains activate differently in response to the same stimuli. Children seek and respond well to direct instructions; adolescents do not. To illustrate, in one study researchers showed adolescents a clip of their mothers telling them to change their behaviour. In response, adolescent brains light up fMRI scans in regions relevant to anger but not to information processing. This literally highlights adolescents’ aversion to receiving direct instructions (Kyung Hwa Lee et al., 2014). With this in mind, it is critical to craft SEL interventions, and broader teaching practices, in ways appropriate and effective for adolescents.
In this document, we consider what the literature says is appropriate and effective for adolescents to change behavior and socio-emotional outcomes. Specifically, we develop practices for organizations to incorporate and to avoid when designing and delivering SEL interventions.
For each of these, we more clearly define and motivate each principle, then discuss available literature (most is from the United States), why it has/not worked and how it may/not apply to implementation. We draw heavily from David Yeager’s comprehensive “The Future of Children,” but incorporate other relevant readings as well.
14 May 2019
8 May 2019
7 July 2021
3 November 2020