Friday, October 16, 2015

The Construction of Adolescence

Michael Nakkula and Eric Toshalis share their theory on adolescent development in their 2010 book, "Understanding Youth: Adolescent Development for Educators." In Chapter 01, The Constructon of Adolescence, Nakkula and Toshalis discuss the story of Ms. Peterson and Antwon. Ms. Peterson is a tenth grade world literature high school teacher that is loved and respected by all students. Antwon is a student that feels otherwise. They do NOT get along; their personalities clash, and they both consider the other rude, disrespectful, and hostile. Antwon is truly concerned about his graduation exam and relationships with peers, and Ms. Peterson simply doesn't know how to interact with Antwon since she is intimidated and unfamiliar with Antwon's "louder tone and tougher, streetwise demeanor." From what I'm gathering, it is easy to say that if Antwon shares his thoughts with Ms. Peterson and Ms. Peterson doesn't wait for the problem to "go away," this could better the relationship instead of both of them avoiding the situation at hand, but of course this is easier said than done. They both take equal responsibility for this miscommunication and misunderstanding. They both influence and are co-authors of each other

"The material that comprises our life stories comes from all directions, contributed by people who care about you, are indifferent to, and feel antagonistic toward the person whose life they are helping to shape," 
--Nakkula and Toshalis

There were multiple concepts mentioned in this chapter, including:
tested knowledge                     meeting of the minds                       scaffolding
theoretical imagination           interpsychological development     reciprocal transformation
construction of adolescence    zone of proximal development        applied developmentalists

All of these concepts really spoke to me, especially theoretical imagination and reciprocal transformation. Nakkula and Toshalis discuss how looking at past and present experiences are essential to looking forward into the future. Taking multiple parts of your knowledge and creating new possibilities instead of making assumptions based on old experiences allows you to still take your history into consideration, but using it as a foundation for your new experience rather than recreating your old ones. Reciprocal transformation brings me back to TALL University, a group at Calcutt Middle School that my school worked with this past spring. or even being a camp counselor. You can be wear a shirt as a camp counselor that says "ROLE MODEL" or be the oldest students in a mixed group of middle school and college students, but we can learn just as much from our youth as they can learn from us, and I feel like having that mindset can change the entire atmosphere of any environment where both adults and youth are present.

"Whether working with us collaboratively on the
questions that hold critical meaning for them or working 
hard to reject our efforts to help shape the world, 
adolescents join with educators on a day-to-day basis 
to build the theoretically imaginative thinking skills 
necessary for an interesting and productive life. If we are
skilled enough to witness it, adolescents' theoretical 
imaginations offer some of the richest, most critical, and
deeply hopeful worldviews we might find."
--Nakkula and Toshalis

There are plenty of people I could consider the coauthors of my story. Between my family, old friends, new friends, advisor, professors, ex-boyfriends, current boyfriend, and even some of my campers from this past summer at Camp Broad Rock through the South County YMCA, I have plenty of voices that have co-written my story. Some of these voices are positive, and some not so positive, some older, and some much, much younger, but they are all relationships that I believe are (or were) in my life for a reason. As negative as my father can be, his intentions are never in the wrong place. His tough love and wise words of wisdom have helped shaped me into the strong woman I am becoming. In my adolescent years, he tried making things go the way he believed they should be instead of letting them be what they were. Looking back, he was right (most of the time), and I appreciate having him there for all of my mistakes and accomplishments. No matter how much I may agree or disagree with him, we always have an understanding of each other, and I have always taken his advice or opinions to heart before I make any life-changing decisions. My dad is a great man with a good head on his shoulders, and I am happy to call him one of the main co-authors of my story. I would not be where I am without him (literally though, he gave me the gift of life). As graduating college is just around the corner and I start to think more about my future, I know that the next chapter will not be written without my dad's sarcastic commentary or meaningful words of encouragement.
The rest is still unwritten.

1 comment:

  1. I like the piece written about your father. I myself have a father who has pushed me to where I am today. Its great to hear your great amount of feelings toward him on how he impacted your life.