Characteristics of Adolescent Thinking

Even if I hide it I have to recognise all this. Well done sir!

Classroom as Microcosm

There are four important characteristics that distinguish adolescent thinking from more mature thinking:

  • adolescent egocentrism (intense preoccupation with one’s own feelings and lack of connection to feelings of others),
  • imaginary audience (the belief that one is the focus of others’ thinking and attention),
  • personal fable (the belief that no one else can possibly understand one’s feelings and experiences because they are unique), and
  • illusion of invulnerability (the belief that bad things only happen to other people.)

We see these characteristics in many of our students, especially those who are having trouble making the transition from high school to CEGEP.

Adolescent egocentrism expresses itself in everything from making appointments and not showing up for them, or showing up unannounced or early and expecting to be accommodated (because in the student’s mind, the teacher’s time and convenience are not relevant), to email and telephone etiquette (I sometimes receive one-line emails with no…

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