Adolescence : a useful concept for this millennium

Bahr, Nan & Pendergast, Donna (2006) Adolescence : a useful concept for this millennium. Curriculum Perspectives, 26(1), pp. 67-73.


This paper proposes adolescence as a useful concept rather than definitive. It explores the notion of adolescence and its relevance to contemporary society and schooling. We reflect on the purposes for the emergence of research into adolescence during the early 20th century, particularly the particular scientific and societal pressures that served to bring this field to prominence. Recent debate has started to problematise many of the early parameters used to define and provide bounds for understanding adolescents and adolescent experience and for the rationale for some notionally tailored educational contexts. This paper provides an overview of this debate and argues for a reconsideration of some of the basic tenets for definition. In particular we discuss the cultural construction of adolescence in the light of our new globalised society. A possibility for thinking about contemporary adolescents is by considering them in terms of generational characteristics. What makes a new generation? Typically, members of a generation share age, a set of experiences during formative years, and a set of social and economic conditions. The adolescents of today fall into the group known collectively as the ‘Y Generation’, the ‘D (digital) Generation’, Generation C (consumer) and the ‘Millennial’s’. Born after mid-1980, they are characterised as computer and internet competent, multi-taskers, with a global perspective. They respond best to visual language, and are heavily influenced by the media. We consider the generational traits and how this impacts on the teaching and learning.

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ID Code: 26479
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: No
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Middle schooling, Adolescents
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
Deposited On: 26 Jul 2009 23:41
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2010 15:57

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