Adolescence: A useful concept for this millennium

Bahr, Nan (2006) Adolescence: A useful concept for this millennium. Curriculum Perspectives, 26 (1 ), 67 -73.


‘Adolescence’ has become increasingly recognised as a nebulous concept. Previous conceptualisations of adolescence have adopted a ‘deficit’ view, regarding teenagers as ‘unfinished’ adults. The deficit view of adolescence is highly problematic in an era where adulthood itself is difficult to define. The terms ‘kidult’ or ‘adultescent’ have emerged to describe adult-age people whose interests and priorities match those of their teenage counterparts. Rather than relying on ‘lock-step’ models of physical, cognitive and social growth put forward by developmental psychology, adolescence can be more usefully defined by looking at the common experiences of people in their teenage years. Common experiences arise at an institutional level; for example, all adolescents are treated as the same by legal and education systems. The transition from primary to secondary schooling is a milestone for all children, exposing them to a new type of educational environment. Shared experiences also arise from generational factors. Today’s adolescents belong to the millennial generation, characterised by technological competence, global perspectives, high susceptibility to media influence, individualisation and rapid interactions. This generation focuses on teamwork, achievement, modesty and good conduct, and has great potential for significant collective accomplishments. These generational factors challenge educators to provide relevant learning experiences for today’s students. Many classrooms still utilise textbook-based pedagogy more suited to previous generations, resulting in disengagement among millennial students. Curriculum content must also be tailored to generational needs. The rapid pace of change, as well as the fluidity of identity created by dissolving geographical and vocational boundaries, mean that the millennial generation will need more than a fixed set of skills and knowledge to enter adulthood. Teachers must enable their students to think like ‘expert novices’, adept at assimilating new concepts in depth and prepared to engage in lifelong learning.

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ID Code: 26340
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Author version available at Additional URL.
Additional URLs:
ISSN: 0159-7868
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > OTHER PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (179900)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 Murdoch University
Deposited On: 15 Jul 2009 00:25
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:54

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