Unveiling the mystery of Superbad
by Heidi Wicks
A recent box office smash was a film titled Superbad, a tale of two high-school seniors on a booze-infested, potty-mouthed mission to become sexually professional before they venture to college territory in two short months. Anyone who has seen this film (or any pubescent coming-of-age story for that matter) knows the seemingly wacky insanity that pumps through the brains (and loins) of many-a-teen.
However, there are reasons that fuel the mayhem, and adolescent rationale is information that every teacher should seek like a ravenous grizzly looking for food.
Education 4260: The Nature of Adolescence explores the various layers of adolescent development, including biological, psychological, and cognitive dimensions. The course also considers broader contextual factors which permeate adolescents’ lives such as peer, parental, and societal influences.
If you are curious about how adolescents form a sense of self, establish self-esteem, and navigate through the challenges of developing a sexual identity, then this course may be of interest to you. The professors teaching the course (one of whom is Dr. Greg Harris) look at a number of theoretical aspects that help answer these questions and understand why adolescents develop the way they do.
“The course is divided into five separate sections,” said Dr. Harris, “I teach one, and there are two other professors who each teach two sections. There are close to 40 students in each section, suggesting that the class seems to be quite popular.
“Having an understanding of developmental psychological concepts, theories, and research can help our education students enhance competency in their developing teaching frameworks and methodologies,” explained Dr. Harris. Essentially, through the course, the student gains a sense of what normal adolescent development looks like and how this knowledge can be applied in the classroom.
The more precarious part of puberty is abnormal development. A teacher will need to know which signs indicate issues such as depression, suicidal tendencies, body image concerns, substance abuse, or other potential problems sometimes encountered during adolescence.
“Not that the class will make them trained clinicians,” said Dr. Harris, “but they’ll be able to recognize the signs that require a potential intervention and a referral.”
Essentially, the course is a focus on the developing pubescent with an attempt to apply that knowledge to the educational model. In this instance, education and psychology are coming together in order to better equip teachers to offer effective education to their adolescent students.
The students in the film, as in life, have a mystically disguised heart behind their absurd behaviour. If teachers can understand this, their own teacher-student communications will likely strengthen tenfold.