Changing the way we perceive teens to tap into ‘The Power of the Adolescent Brain’


What do adults see when they look at teenagers? Maybe they see the similarity the children have to their parents. Maybe they see blooming human beings learning to be themselves. Maybe they see a buzzing hive of hormones and obstinacy.

But do they see power? The truth is that teenagers are full of opportunity, dreams and power. It doesn’t mean that they are always right, but they do have a great deal of potential to be great, if given the chance.

What if people worked toward recasting common teen traits such as impracticality, insecurity or recklessness as idealism, creativity or boldness? Perhaps this practice would enable teens to tap into their own power and make a positive impact on the world.

In Thomas Armstrong’s book “The Power of the Adolescent Brain: Strategies for Teaching Middle and High School Students,” he explores the power that the teenage brain holds from an empathetic perspective. He then uses this approach to advise educators on how they can tap in and make the most of their student’s potential.

Armstrong bases his book on current neuroscience research and talks about how the adolescent brain works, offering readers eight instructional elements to help their students. These elements will help students develop their ability to think, make healthy choices, regulate emotions, handle social conflict, consolidate their identities and learn more about the world to help them move into adulthood. “The Power of the Adolescent Brain” provides educators with practical strategies and real-life examples to illustrate these eight key practices being put into practice.

The book also offers readers a glossary of brain terms, a selection of brain-friendly lesson plans for multiple content areas, and a list of resources to support and extend the book’s eight key practices.

Armstrong maintains the idea that there is a disconnect between how the teen brain has evolved over the millennia and the repetitive learning experiences that are common in today’s test-based educational climate. Knowing this, educators can be sure to see a difference when they use the insights from this book to help their students tap into the power of their developing brains.

What do readers think?

Readers seem to have a generally positive view of Armstrong’s latest book. One reader writes that “this slender tome is packed with hundreds of simple but powerful ways that educators can help students connect with their education, following a useful description of what makes the adolescent unique, physically and biochemically.”

About the author

Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D., has been a writer and speaker for more than 30 years with “The Power of the Adolescent Brain” being his 16th book. To learn more about his work, visit, which includes articles, video clips, a list of the keynotes and workshops he give to education and parent groups, and his blog where he writes about learning and human development.

About this author

Brianna Gibbons, graduated from Westmont College with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She currently works hard to organize and publish the content for the blogs and websites. In her spare time, Brianna loves to read, write, knit, travel, dote on her pets and randomly go on small adventures with friends. 

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