We are Georgie and Annie, researchers at the Centre for Educational Neuroscience, and we are interested in sharing the latest research in adolescent brain science with teachers.
A few years ago, we participated as scientists in an interactive play, with a theatre group called Cardboard Citizens. The play, META, was performed in front of teenagers, and explored how changes in the teenage brain can impact their lives, and even lead them to spin out of control. During performances, we (and our colleagues) were there to explain the adolescent brain science underlying the play. We were often approached by teachers and parents after the play, who said that they found the science fascinating and useful, wishing they had known it sooner.
This feedback inspired us to work on a resource for teachers (parents are also encouraged to get involved!). We teamed up with a film-maker and some great professionals from Small Films to bring you this short film. The aim of the play META had been to encourage teens, armed with new knowledge about how their brains work, to think about how they might be able to change their behaviour for their own benefit. The aim of the film is similar for teachers: how can knowledge about how the teenage brain works influence the way teachers interact with, respond to, and ultimately teach teenagers?
As part of the interactive play, teenagers came up with some interesting strategies to better manage their emotions and stay focused on the task at hand. We’re interested to find out what strategies teachers come up with (or already use) to engage the teenage brain, deal with their quirks, and essentially take advantage of the special world that is the social and emotional rollercoaster of being a teen…
At the early stages of creating the film, we spoke to teachers about our ideas. Based on this discussion, we decided to keep the video short and with basic science, but with more detailed resources about the topics covered on this website. The teachers we spoke to were particularly keen to get ideas for specific strategies to use in the classroom. We are experts in adolescent brain science, but not in teaching, so we are handing over to you, to crowdsource strategies that draw on this science.
Under each topic there is the opportunity to add your own thoughts about how you might use, or have already used, this science to inform your teaching. We hope you will take this opportunity to share your ideas with other teachers. We will regularly update the website to include the strategies that you suggest (anonymously). Our hope is that this will become a useful resource of strategies designed by teachers, for teachers, and informed by research. We are excited to hear from you!
You can also get in touch with us on social media – we have a Twitter account @TeenBrainFilm – come and ask us questions, give us your feedback, or share with your colleagues and friends!
Finally a massive thank you to everyone who was involved in making the film and helping us get the ideas together:
Rebecca Chambers (Film Producer and Director)
Scott Craig (Camera Operator)
Matteo Inchingolo (Animator)
Small Films (Production Company)
Cathy Rogers (Presenter)
Behind the scenes
With grateful thanks to The Master, Mr Jack White-Foy and the staff and pupils of Dulwich College.
Thank you to Dr Iroise Dumontheil, Reader in Cognitive Neuroscience at Birkbeck, University of London.
Thanks to Julia Harrington and Dr Amy Fancourt from BrainCanDo.
Thank you to our funders: Birkbeck / Wellcome Trust ISSF funding scheme (grant number 204770/Z/16/Z)
Thank you all for your help!
Dr Georgina Donati and Dr Annie Brookman-Byrne
Click on the topics below to find out more about the science in the film.
Sleep *** Hormonal Changes *** Prefrontal Changes
Inhibitory Control *** Mental Time Travel *** Limbic Changes
Sensation Seeking *** Risk taking *** Social Development
Theories of Adolescence *** Evolution *** Mental Health
Neuroconstructivism *** Educational Neuroscience
Use the form below to share how your understanding of this topic has influenced, or will influence, your teaching. What tips or strategies do you have that are based on this science? We will share this anonymous feedback on our website so that other teachers can try out your ideas. Thank you for contributing!