Assignment: Developmental period of adolescence

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Assignment: Developmental period of adolescence

Assignment: Developmental period of adolescence

The purpose of this assignment is to research and outline major theories, principles, issues, and applications regarding adolescent development and learning that will guide parents and families in the development milestones of their children.

Write a 750-1,000 word newsletter for your current or future students’ parents and families. Your goal is to inform and prepare parents about major developmental milestones, theories, and concepts facing adolescents, including how parents can be actively involved in their child’s development.

The newsletter should outline the following:

  1. Describe the developmental period of adolescence, including the sub-periods of early adolescence, middle adolescence, and emerging adulthood. Provide specific examples of typical school-related behavior found within each sub-period.
  2. Provide an overview of the key theories related to adolescence, including the biological, psychoanalytical, cognitive, and social learning views of adolescence. Acknowledge key theorists and their major contributions.
  3. Outline and define the roles of nature/nurture, continuity/discontinuity, and early/late experience and their effect on adolescent development and classroom learning.

Support your findings with a minimum of three scholarly resources.


This chart is adapted from the ACT for Youth Center of Excellence publication Stages of Adolescent Development by Sedra Spano: (PDF: 538K)

Stages of Adolescent Development

Early Adolescence

(Approximately 10-14 years of age)

Middle Adolescence

(Approximately 15-16 years of age)

Late Adolescence

(Approximately 17-21 years of age)

Identity Development and

Movement Toward Independence

Emerging identity shaped by in/external influences; moodiness; improved speech to express oneself; more likely to express feelings by action than by words (may be more true for males); close friendships gain importance; less attention shown to parents, with occasional rudeness; realization parents not perfect; identification of own faults; search for new people to love in addition to parents; tendency to return to childish behavior during times of stress; peer group influence on personal interests and clothing styles.

Self-involvement, alternating between unrealistically high expectations and worries about failure; complaints that parents interfere with independence; extremely concerned with appearance and body; feelings of strangeness about one’s self and body; lowered opinion of and withdrawal from parents; effort to make new friends; strong emphasis on the new peer group; periods of sadness as the psychological loss of parents takes place; examination of inner experiences, which may include writing a diary.

Firmer identity; ability to delay gratification; ability to think through ideas; ability to express ideas in words; more developed sense of humor; interests and emotions become more stable; ability to make independent decisions; ability to compromise; pride in one’s work; self reliance; greater concern for others.

Future Interests and

Cognitive Development

Increasing career interests; mostly interested in present and near future; greater ability to work.

Intellectual interests gain importance; some sexual and aggressive energies directed into creative and career interests; anxiety can emerge related to school and academic performance.

More defined work habits; higher level of concern for the future; thoughts about one’s role in life.

Ethics and Self-Direction

Rule and limit testing; experimentation with cigarettes, marijuana, and alcohol; capacity for abstract thought.

Development of ideals and selection of role models; more consistent evidence of conscience; greater goal setting capacity; interest in moral reasoning.

Useful insight; focus on personal dignity and self-esteem; ability to set goals and follow through; acceptance of social institutions and cultural traditions; self- regulation of self esteem.


Girls mature faster than boys; shyness, blushing, and modesty; more showing off; greater interest in privacy; experimentation with body (masturbation); worries about being normal.

Concerns about sexual attractiveness; frequently changing relationships; more clearly defined sexual orientation, with internal conflict often experienced by those who are not heterosexual; tenderness and fears shown toward opposite sex; feelings of love and passion.

Concerned with serious relationships; clear sexual identity; capacities for tender and sensual love.

Physical Changes

Gains in height and weight; growth of pubic/ underarm hair; increased perspiration, increased oil production of hair and skin. Girls: breast development and menstruation. Boys: growth of testicles and penis, nocturnal emissions (wet dreams), deepening of voice, facial hair.

Males show continued height and weight gains while female growth slows down (females grow only 1-2 inches after their first menstrual period).

Most young women are fully developed; young men continue to gain height, weight, muscle mass, body hair.

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