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Social interaction: is it necessary for adolescents?

Adolescent students (12 to 14 years old) are in the middle of their developmental years. This is a very delicate time for each of them. Social interaction activities are needed for all students, but especially for the adolescent. Thus, in 2005 ACEI drafted a Resolution to support social interaction for the young adolescent (see www.acei. org/05resolutions.htm). Leaders in our organization, such as Jill Hunter, have addressed this cause and were instrumental in stressing the need for more emphasis on this particular resolution.

According to theorist Lev Vygotsky, learning is an interactive experience (Mooney, 2000). Teachers can support students' learning by actually providing more time to talk (Tompkins, 2006). If teachers and other educators want to stimulate cognitive development, then they should allow students to engage in conversations (Mooney, 2000).

Vygotsky has written about the importance of social interaction activities with peers while adults are still present. Adults are there to facilitate learning during the adolescent stage. Cooperative learning and dramatic activities are two strategies among many to implement social interaction in the middle school years. Adolescents do need to talk together freely; therefore, middle school students need to have some break or breaks during the school day. In addition, some form of physical activity (as a form of play) must be included in this socialization process for the development of healthier adolescents. If educators and parents expect adolescents to understand how to get along with others, communicate well, both orally and written, and become better leaders, then adolescent social interaction activities must be promoted during the school day and/or after school in our communities across the world.

References

Mooney, C. G. (2000). Theories of childhood. St. Paul, MN: Redleaf Press.

Tompkins, G. E. (2006). Language arts essentials. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

--Rose B. Jones, Public Affairs Committee
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Title Annotation:Public Affairs
Author:Jones, Rose B.
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2006
Words:303
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