Kids on the Brink of Adolescence

I. Academic and Social Issues of Pre- and Early Adolescence
A. In the social realm

  • Excluding and putting down
  • Concerns about the “cool crowd”
  • Focusing on looks, clothes, and money
  • Eating problems and their social meaning
  • Aggression and the culture of nastiness

B. In the classroom

  • Hiding what they know, hesitating to take a stand
  • Fear of “being too smart” or “saying something dumb”
  • Acting out being accepted
  • Subtle sexism and exclusion — when to intervene

II. Practical Strategies Based on the Relational Model

A. Differences between the traditional individualistic model of development and the relational model

B. How the relational model envisions the teacher-student relationship

  • Connected learning
  • Mutuality in the classroom

C. Teaching girls to

  • Speak truth to power
  • Value a healthy argument
  • Agree to disagree
  • Resist media stereotypes about sex and violence

D. Teaching boys to

  • Bond together around socially useful challenges to the status quo
  • Have words for feelings
  • Resist messages about gaining power through violence and exclusion
  • Act on their need for connection and resist sexual conquest as a substitute

E. Helping young adolescents think about relationships

  • Friendships
  • Actual adult relationships they see
  • The false relationships of movies and MTV
  • Relationships with mothers and fathers
  • A Group of Their Own: helping the uncool create a group to belong to

F. Connecting with parents around early-teen issues

  • Explaining prevention and helping parents seize the “teachable moment”
  • Helping parents teach kids to resist media messages and explore their own ideas
  • Using relational approach to parent-teacher conflict