Adolescence: All About Change

Adolescence: All About Change

Several overlapping topics fall under the rather large umbrella of adolescent psychology. All of these have to do with ‘change’, which seems to be the key word for this phase of life. Of course, all of childhood is a period of tremendous growth and change, and we adults would like to feel that we are changing too! Yet the sheer rate and irregularity of changes make adolescence, in particular, a unique developmental stage. Adolescence is characterized by:

  • hormonal and other chemical changes in the body
  • changes in physical appearance which are sudden and obvious to others, signalling sexual maturity
  • emotional changes such as increased excitement, anxiety, elation, depression
  • new behaviour patterns such as aggression, taking risks, seeking thrills
  • new psychological issues such as seeking a sense of identity, rebelling against authority, having romantic interests, increased self-consciousness, greater dependence on peers
  • social changes such as desiring and being given more autonomy and independence
  • cognitive changes, whether quantitative or qualitative, that allow for significantly higher levels of learning and understanding
  • hormonal and physical changes, and the sexual awakening they signal, are a powerful set of forces

These are universal physical markers of adolescence, and, to a great extent, the emotional and behavioural effects they have, might be expected to be similar across cultures.

How can we deal with all these changes?

Give your students more real responsibilities.

  • Get adolescents to be responsible not only for their own learning but also for things outside themselves. Allow for the importance of friendships among adolescents. Many of us adults regard such friendships with mild suspicion, and some schools have a policy of deliberately breaking up friendships each year by changing the class composition. As teachers, we often have a tendency to ‘separate’ friends, and we may have sound reasons for this. But we risk alienation if we deny the importance of peer relationships, and further, we are denying the benefits of the peer group to a student’s emotional life.

Don’t use comparative evaluation.

  • Our whole system of education in India is based on performance and comparison, right from a very young age. Adults often tell toddlers, “Let’s see who eats faster”; “Hurry up or else we will finish first” and “See how nicely she plays-why can’t you play like her?” So when children turn into adolescents, you would think they would be used to it, impervious to the constant emphasis on comparative evaluation in almost every aspect of their lives! But it would also create a strong habit in them of evaluating themselves in comparison with others. Plenty of research shows that this is harmful to their growth and learning.

Don’t clamp down on girl-boy friendships.

  • This is possibly the hardest ‘don’t’ to follow. Sometimes we are pushed into policing, banning and disallowing any sort of contact between girls and boys. This is a mistake. We are ignoring the fact that most of the adolescent’s thoughts and feelings are directed towards physical attraction and romanceâ a natural, biological movement. Clamping down is too easy, and will not work in the long run. We must think creatively about how to manage this issue. Initiate regular dialogues in which adolescents can express themselves easily.
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Ratna Sagar pays tribute to William Shakespeare

Ratna Sagar pays tribute to the “Bard of Avon” William Shakespeare on his 450th birth anniversary today, 23 April.

We proudly present his immortal works ‘The Merchant of Venice’ & ‘Much Ado About Nothing’.

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Let’s Be Positive

What conclusion can be drawn from this?

Now, here is an activity for “Educators”

Given below are rude reactions we hear ourselves using in classrooms. Let us rephrase our angry interjections to positive corrections. Our intent is to get the best out of a child, isn’t it?

* You are irresponsible. I am disappointed that you have not made the chart. Your class expected you to complete it by this morning.

* You are always late.

* Can’t you sit in one place?

* Why are you loitering in the campus?

* You are always like this.

* What’s wrong with you, is this the way to do it?

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Ahimsa Silk: Silk with a Soul

It’s possible to wear the gossamer fabric that people call silk without a prick in the conscience. A Hyderabad-based textile technocrat Mr Kusuma Rajaiah has researched and developed an innovative way of making silk that does not involve the merciless killing of thousands of silkworms.

The Ahimsa silk, as Mr Rajaiah calls his silk is made by harnessing silk filaments from broken cocoons after the silk moths have flown away by piercing them at maturity. “The silk obtained involves no ‘himsa’ or violence and is thus called ‘ahimsa’ silk.” explains Mr. Rajaiah. It is named Ahimsa silk as a homage to Mahatma Gandhi, who had once asked the Silk Board to probe ways of developing silk without killing the insects.

This silk fabric is less shining than the traditional silk. But it is a lot softer and is more comfortable to wear as it has a better fall and air permeability. Mr. Rajaiah, who holds a patent for producing this innovative silk, developed the product and the technique after a decade-long painstaking research that began in 1991.

A chance meeting with then first lady President R Venkataraman’s wife, Ms Janaki Venkataraman in 1991 set him along the path. During a visit to the AP Silk Board, where Rajaiah was a technical officer, she asked for a silk sari that had been made without the destruction of silk moths. She returned empty-handed but not without sparking a thought process in the technocrat who went on to develop the unique silk.

It took Rajaiah about 11-12 years to develop the technique and another four years to acquire a patent for producing the Ahimsa silk from the silkmoth Bombyx mori. This soulful fabric has been received well by thousands of animal lovers across the world – most prominently, the seers of Kancheepuram who shunned silk for its violent methods of production accepted the Ahimsa silk.

For his path breaking research and development, Rajaiah has been recognized and commended worldwide by several industrial and social institutions. His runs his business on a small scale and manages to produce up to 1000m of silk yarn a month. He will be travelling to the United States in May 2014 to receive an International Quality Summit award along with business representatives from 73 other countries, who have made a mark in their respective fields.

To meet such a follower of Gandhiji, who has scrupulously lived and abided by the Mahatma’s principles, is a rare privilege. We at Ratna Sagar, were indeed delighted to meet Mr Rajaiah, when he came to meet us at our Delhi office on March 13. His modesty and humility was not only touching but an exercise in learning for many a youngster like us, who tend to take pride in small achievements.

To know more about Mr Rajaiah and his achievements you may log on to

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Book Review – A School Counsellor Casebook

The review of our book ‘A School Counsellor Casebook’ was published in Teacher Plus dated 1 March 2014.

Please visit this link to go through the review.

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Our Authors’ Interviews

Our authors were interviewed by the Hindustan Times crew at our stall during the World Book Fair 2014. These interviews were published in HT School Edition dated 4 March.

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International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on 8 March. Let us all pledge to condemn injustice against women, violence against women and female infanticide.

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World Book Fair 2014 Glimpses

Please visit this link to see the photos of daily events and happenings at our stall

which gained an overwhelming response.

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My Special Teacher

We have all had a teacher who we will always remember. This teacher taught us something that made a difference in our lives.

Share with us

  • what you learnt from that teacher
  • how that teacher was different

We at Ratna Sagar are committed to empowering teachers with the best, so that our children learn the best. We salute the gurus who show us the light.

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