How to Maximze Your Teen’s Ability To Learn

The adolescent mind is a chaotic one. Not only is the brain going through a critical period of growth and transformation, but during this period is forced to learn new forms of thinking; and how to cope with new types of feelings.

As adults, we have passed through the gauntlet of adolescence. Our brains have developed, and often we lose sight of how differently they worked while growing up. We unconsciously expect our children to think/behave the way that we do, but this expectation is irrational. Adjust it with help from Ottawa Youth Counselling, and you can better equip your teen for future success!

Where Teens and Adults Differ, and How Understanding This Produces Success

In 2011, a study conducted at Mid Sweden University on learning styles in adolescents found that Teens are distinct from adults and children when it comes to the circumstances of their learning and productivity. Their results indicated that:


Teens are More Sensitive To Sound


Adults typically prefer to work in quiet rooms in order to limit distraction.


Teens, on the other hand, were found by this study to be significantly more productive and capable of learning in environments that contain at least a degree of sound.


teen homework headphonesThis helps to explain why teens are generally so fond of listening to music while doing schoolwork, household chores, and other rote tasks. Neurologically designed to process significant stimulus and information during this period of life; it is speculated that the teenage mind needs stimulation in order to focus.


Brains that are hard-wired to feel at ease while processing information from multiple sources become uncomfortable and irritated when deprived. Often parents think they are helping their child when sitting them down in a quiet room to finish their homework, but to a teen, this can feel like torture.


Allowing a source of stimulus as simple as their music not only makes their homework easier, but it makes them enjoy the experience far more than otherwise, helping to ingrain the habit of regular homework completion!


Incorporating Emotion Helps Teens Learn


Another finding produced by the above study is that incorporating emotional response into the process of learning has a significant impact on the uptake and recall of information.


It’s not hard to understand why. Anyone would be more willing to learn from something that is fun and entertaining than dry and boring. It’s simply the case that after a lifetime of experience, adults are more capable of dealing with boring subject matter!


It isn’t always possible to make dry subject matter fun, but it isn’t always impossible either! Simple things like incorporating jokes or storytelling into the learning experience go a long way!


Teens Are Productive At Different Times


Most adults and young children are most productive during the morning because they have to be.


Babies wake up early in the morning and require constant care, attention, and energy. If adults were not capable of providing it, we would be far less capable of survival!


Teens do not require the same degree of care and are significantly more independent. As such, they are typically most energized and capable of productivity, creativity, and learning during early afternoon hours.


Getting in the habit of taking advantage of this burst of early-afternoon energy to finish homework gets it out of the way faster and with less work than otherwise, and teaches a lesson in discipline invaluable in later life!


Adolescents Learn With Visuals Better Than Sound


Visual Learning TeenSound is important to teens for fostering an environment conducive to learning, but it is not typically the best sense through which they learn.


Studies have shown that adults are better at learning via listening than teens and that teens are far better at learning via visual representations. Perhaps explaining why universities can teach successfully via lecture, while high schools cannot.


Lecturing a teen on any subject matter, school or otherwise, is often a poor strategy for guaranteeing their learning. Finding ways to teach via sight, not sound, is far more effective!


Learn About Teen Learning With Ottawa Youth Counselling.


The above information is a cursory explanation of the results of a single study on learning behavior in adolescents, a brief example of the insight and information available from Ottawa Youth Counselling.


For more information on the ins-and-outs of teen learning, and to find out how you can maximize your teen’s ability to learn, get in touch with our counselors here!