1st Edition

The Teacher and the Teenage Brain

By John Coleman Copyright 2021
    158 Pages 39 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    158 Pages 39 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Teacher and the Teenage Brain is essential reading for all teachers and students of education. This book offers a fascinating introduction to teenage brain development and shows how this knowledge has changed the way we understand young people. It provides a critical insight into strategies for improving relationships in the classroom and helping both adults and teenagers cope better with this stage of life.

    Dr John Coleman shows how teachers and students can contribute to healthy brain development. The book includes information about memory and learning, as well as guidance on motivation and the management of stress. Underpinned by his extensive work with schools, Dr Coleman offers advice on key topics including the importance of sleep, the social brain, moodiness, risk and risk-taking and the role of hormones. This book is extensively illustrated with examples from classrooms and interviews with teachers. It explicitly links research and practice to create a comprehensive, accessible guide to new knowledge about teenage brain development and its importance for education.

    Accompanied by a website providing resources for running workshops with teachers and parents, as well as an outline of a lesson plan for students, The Teacher and the Teenage Brain offers an innovative approach to the understanding of the teenage brain. This book represents an important contribution to teacher training and to the enhancement of learning in the classroom.

    1. Ten Things Every Teacher Needs to Know About the Teenage Brain  2. A Brief Introduction to Teenage Development  3. From "My Baby’s Brain" to "My Teen Brain"  4. Learning and Memory  5. Risk and Reward  6. The Social Brain  7. Stress and Mental Health  8. Teenagers and Sleep  9. The Teenage Brain for Teachers: Planning a Workshop  10. The Teenage Brain for Students: A Lesson Plan  11. The Teenage Brain for Parents: Engaging Families in New Knowledge


    Dr John Coleman trained as a clinical psychologist and was formerly a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford. He is the Founder of a research centre studying adolescents and their families, and during his career he has also run a special school for troubled teenagers and worked as a policy advisor for government. In addition to running workshops for parents of teenagers, he has created two series for TV, and written books and developed videos on the adolescent years. John’s pioneering work has been widely recognised, and in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2001 he was awarded an OBE for services to young people.

    **Learning Ladders Best Books for Educators Summer 2021 Awards**

    We’re delighted that The Teacher and the Teenage Brain has made the shortlist at Learning Ladders. It was shortlisted alongside 40 other books from a longlist of over 100 entries for its dedication to enriching the lives of educators with writing.  The awards panel featured teachers, school leaders, and EdTech entrepreneurs including Learning Ladders’ founder, Matt Koster-Marcon, who is also Chair of the EdTech Special Interest Group at BESA.  We’re proud to be included in the list and congratulate the other shortlisted books for their work. 

    ‘John Coleman’s book is beautifully written, thoughtful and creative, and could have a real and positive impact on teachers', parents' and students' lives. He describes the recent science on the teenage brain, from hormones and sleep to risk-taking and social interaction to mental health and mental illness, and how this evidence is relevant for the classroom. Not only does this book provide a succinct overview of the evidence, it also dispels myths, and provides novel and creative suggestions for teachers, students and parents, including lesson plans and workshop ideas. Coleman writes about scientific findings in a way that will engage anyone interested in teaching and nurturing young people.’

    Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, University of Cambridge, UK

    ‘This book should be a compulsory part of all teacher training. If you are looking for an essential primer on all matters relating to the adolescent brain, learning and development, read this book. In schools, we are still in the foothills of appreciating how understanding the teenage brain will transform education. The Teacher and the Teenage Brain brought together all my disparate thoughts together into one highly accessible read.  Throughout, John Coleman’s compassion for, and understanding of, young people shine through, offering evidence-based research and practical strategies. As a Headteacher, I feel that, if this book was turned into an INSET day, my staff would come away feeling enlightened and enthused.’

    Rob Shadbolt, Headteacher, Wood Green School, Witney, UK

    ‘For children who have had adverse childhood experiences in those famously vital early years, how empowering to know there are also important teenage years for the brain's development. It's not all fixed. We can yet make a difference and assist the restructuring going on. Let's get this information into the hands of educators, parents and carers, and create agency for our teens.’

    Sylvia Jennings, Assistant Head, and Matt Warren, Headteacher, Presdales School, Hertfordshire, UK

    ‘What is the teenage brain trying to do? What does it feel like to have one? What can go wrong? In his book, The Teacher and the Teenage Brain, trained clinical psychologist John Coleman asks whether neuroscience can actually lead to more effective teaching and learning. His answer is a categorical YES – because it changes the way we understand young people. Direct translation from neuroscience to education is challenging, but Coleman is a perfect example of how it can be done well. Reviewing the latest (and sometimes surprising) findings across areas crucial to the development of the teenage brain – cognitive skills, decision-making around risk, sensitivity to rewards, social skills and peer influence, emotion regulation, and sleep – he shows how new neuroscience findings can help teachers understand their pupils, teenagers gain an insight into the changes they are going through, and parents understand and perhaps interact better with their children. This is delivered in the form of concrete lesson plans for each of these interested parties. This book is a great example of how education can be advanced by multiple contributions of the social and biological sciences.’

    Professor Michael S. C. Thomas, Director, University of London Centre for Educational Neuroscience, UK

    ‘In this book John Coleman manages to combine an impressive knowledge and understanding of the brain with his outstanding skill in communicating complex ideas to a wide audience. The book reflects the author’s lifelong work with teenagers, a passionate commitment to education, to working with teachers, and a deep knowledge of the most recent advances in brain science. A ‘must-read’ for students of education and for teachers, The Teacher and the Teenage Brain provides compelling and easily accessible information and insight into one of psychology’s great challenges.’

    Professor Ingrid Lunt, University of Oxford, UK

    ‘John Coleman’s 'The Teacher and the Teenage Brain' provides an accurate and up-to-date primer on the essentials of how the brain functions, from its neurochemistry to the multiple brain areas that affect learning. As such, it is a highly useful source of professional knowledge for any teacher. It also draws on recent research to explore several contemporary issues, and it was wonderful to see accurate coverage of the neuroscience of social interaction, sleep, and risk taking, to name just a few. It’s rare to see a book focusing on the neuroscience of the teenage learner in particular, and as well as informing readers it will help to dispel a few myths.’

    Jonathan Firth, University of Strathclyde, UK

    ‘Complex topics are explained brilliantly, using simple language, interesting facts and questions to stoke curiosity, and solid research to support findings…With each chapter, you are left with greater insight into how to better relate to, engage or teach teenagers through this challenging time... During this critical period of brain development, teachers and parents have opportunities to support young people and help them become more confident individuals and better learners despite their starting points.’

    Yvette Reinfor, co-founder, More Curricular, UK