The following essay will discuss the importance of adolescent development within an international school setting. The norms within an International Baccalaureate school are given that teachers and educators are trained accordingly to the needs as outlined by the International Baccalaureate organisation, where a focus is placed on inquiry-based learning, assessments, student agency, and how to promote international mindedness, allowing students to learn through making connections within a global context while being knowledgeable, caring, risk-takers and open-minded.
The essay is divided into three sections, the author's personal experiences transforming from childhood into becoming a teenager with all the social and peer pressures students have to encounter at this age, even being a mature adult and attending University.
Keywords: Adolescent Development, Maturity, Teenager, University.
As a child, the author distinctly remembers his upbringing whilst maintaining a very reserved position within his family. Reflection is a key ingredient within the International Baccalaureate programme as part of the assessment. One has to evaluate yourself, your ideology, your philosophy and what strategies to use within your classroom to support and guide these students. The start to any reflection is, to begin with, oneself and conclude a self-assessment, here the author reviews and reflects on his own changes from a child to a mature individual.
Part 1 - Evolving identities growing up from being a child
The author reflects and distinctly remembers him growing up in a very Christian and Jewish background, going to church and synagogues, regularly to praise God and being a firm believer of Catholicism, and Judaism from concluding his first holy communion to completing confirmation within the church, and completing his Bar mitzvah. The author came from a very conservative religious background, and his identity was very much reserved, pretty much conservative, he always thought of consequences and accepted accountability for his actions being very responsible and consistent in his actions and the way he behaved.
Verhoeven et al. (2018) outline the following: “Schools can play an important role in adolescents’ identity development. To date, research on the role of school in adolescents’ identity development is scattered across research fields that employ different theoretical perspectives on identity” (p. 35). Although he enjoyed Primary School, the author was always the type that was helpful, sociable, sincere and honest with my friends. He always shared his work so that they could conclude their homework, without allowing them to get in trouble or be punished, which seemed the norm during my primary school years.
Part 2 - Evolving identity being a teenager
As a teenager, the author was wild and confused about so many things in my life. Getting through school and avoiding students who were smoking cigarettes and experimenting with various other things to be “cool” or “acknowledged” or part of the “gang” as other teenagers raved. The author's parents always thought he was sweet, so his identity then was conservative, reserved with a sense of wildness with someone who was prepared to take risks and be a true “risk-taker” as outlined by IBO (2018, p. 1).
Students always felt comfortable coming to me for help and assistance, with a friendly personality and always consistent with everyone treating them with the utmost respect, the author was very popular amongst the girls in the school. Everyone wanted to be friends with him and even though there were tons of opportunities for peer pressure to conclude things, which was not seen as unacceptable by his parents. He did not have to participate but still joined in on cracking jokes and having fun with his mates, dividing the sections into two parts, accepting responsibility and ownership. Having an understanding of how to deal with the author's friends who would always try to get him into trouble did not change his overall perspective of accepting responsibility and being motivated as outlined by Mathewson (2019); Mulvahill (2018); and Souders (2021). Through being motivated, he was able to encourage others to try to complete their homework and show respect for their teachers and be resilient when it came to attitude, especially in public or in front of their peers.
Part 3 - Evolving identity being a mature adult
When the author went to University, he was very sociable in terms of his personality, responsible and consistent in his actions. Most of his friends were exploring drugs and weeds, especially in his first year of study. Although he did not indulge in any of the activities he always felt like a passive smoker just being in their company. Most students came from diverse backgrounds, and could immediately realise that they were not familiar with this type of freedom and exploited it to their advantage by being “cool” and part of each personal group or “gang”.
As a mature individual, the author's identity was still the same, responsible, great sense of humour, funny, hilarious but always responsible and trying my best to get the best results in each class he attended. This was a very difficult task, which meant spending hours in the library and exploring books on educational psychology and sociology. According to Sokol (2009) which confirmed that: “Erikson (1968) believed the primary psychosocial task of adolescence is the formation of identity. Therefore, he called the developmental conflict identity versus role confusion. There are several contributing factors to the formation of identity” (p. 142).
Evaluation of how my identity changes evolved
As mentioned before, from the three stages of being a child to being a teenager and then becoming a mature adult my identities changed. Luckily the author had assistance and support at home because of the strong upbringing from his parents, who always taught them to be responsible no matter what and show the utmost respect towards their elders and people much older than myself. His life involved parents throughout his childhood who guided him constantly to seek what is good and right for him. The author's teacher had a positive impact on my educational development, even at university he truly realised his potential of achieving excellent results and making his parents proud.