Academic Lens: The Changeable Adolescent Brain

Posted by Scott Allenby


Those of us with small children know well the malleability of their young brains. Between the ages of 0-3, the human brain is incredibly plastic; changing in response to experiences, both positive and negative. What we often forget is the second most malleable stage of brain development occurs in adolescence. It is during this time the brain develops whole new brain circuits for the last time. Our approach to education seeks to capitalize on this opportunity! 

In this podcast, Temple University neuroscientist Dr. Laurence Steinberg shares thoughts on decision-making in adolescence. His new book, Age of Opportunity: Lessons from the New Science of Adolescence, outlines the brain science behind the ever-changing, and oh-so impressionable adolescent brain. While much of the focus on the teenage brain science in the press has focused on the negatives associated with poor decision-making, Dr. Steinberg shifts the focus in his book to the opportunities in learning that exist due to increased brain plasticity.

Proctor Academy students

Dr. Steinberg notes adolescence has evolved into a process nearly twice as long as it once was, stretching to nearly a 15 year period. What was once viewed as a time in your life you merely ‘got through’, now must be viewed as far more than that. It is an unparalleled opportunity to literally rewire your brain. And this is why the type of education Proctor provides is so important.

Proctor Academy

Transformative experiences in the classroom and abroad are complemented by arts and athletic programs that engage students every afternoon. Academic courses challenge students to think differently, to collaborate with their peers, and are enhanced through an uncommon trust granted to students within a structured adult support system.

Proctor Academy

Proctor’s educational model has long understood how the adolescent brain works. While the science behind this model may be gaining traction, the underlying methodology has served Proctor students incredibly well for more than 40 years. Check out this Chuck’s Corner post from last fall explaining why.

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