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Adolescent Development Toolkit

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If you are engaged in planning or delivering programs for youth, visit the Youth Work Professionals section, which includes the Social and Emotional Learning Toolkit.

Toolkit: Youth Program Planning

For Youth ProgramsIf we want to deliver effective youth programming, it's important to take adolescent development into account. Resources included in this section cover:
  • How adolescents learn
  • Activities and strategies that can be integrated into programming
  • Locating evidence-based programs


SEL Tookit: Self-Management

Self-management is critical to learning. Resource topics here include promoting a growth mindset, perseverance, and motivation to learn. ACT for Youth.

WebResources for Professionals

Carol Dweck: The Power of Believing That You Can Improve

Carol Dweck researches "growth mindset" -- the idea that we can grow our brain's capacity to learn and to solve problems. In this TED talk, she describes two ways to think about a problem that's slightly too hard for you to solve. Are you not smart enough to solve it...or have you just not solved it yet?

VideoVideo (10 minutes)

How Youth Learn: Ned's GR8 8

This brief, entertaining animation highlights eight conditions of learning based on recent findings in neuroscience. What Kids Can Do.

VideoVideo (6 minutes)

Multiple Intelligences Theory: Widely Used, Yet Misunderstood

One of the most popular ideas in education is applied in ways that its creator never intended. Here, find what to do -- and what NOT to do -- when applying the theory of multiple intelligences. Edutopia.

WebBlog Post

Mind, Brain, and Education

What does brain research tell us about how we learn and how learning, in turn, shapes the architecture of the brain? What is the connection between the stress of poverty and the impact of emotions on learning? This paper draws on cognitive science and brain research, highlighting the positive impact of student-centered learning approaches. Students at the Center.


Learning Theories

This presentation introduces theories about how we learn, including behaviorism and social learning theory.

Narrated PresentationNarrated Presentation (10 minutes)

PowerPoint PresentationPowerPoint Presentation

Activities and Strategies

Building Skills for Adulthood

This popular section of the ACT for Youth website features activities, curricula, and other resources designed to support young people in transitioning to adulthood. Skill areas include healthy development, relationships skills, parent-child communication, life skills, financial literacy, and career exploration and success. Resources for youth are also included. ACT for Youth.

WebResources for Professionals

Inquiry-based Instruction: Engaging Youth in Deeper Thinking

How can educators set the stage for critical thinking? Inquiry-based instruction offers an approach that goes beyond simply conveying information. ACT for Youth.


WebFormatted for Screen Readers

The Adolescent Brain -- Learning Strategies and Teaching Tips

Following a brief description of adolescent brain development, this resource offers several key facts about learning in adolescence along with associated teaching strategies. SPOTS Manual.

PDFTeaching Tips

Establishing a Culture of Questioning

When students consistently ask meaningful questions, they get comfortable taking the risks that lead to learning. Edutopia.

WebBlog Post

Youth Communication

Youth Communication publishes stories written by New York City teens about the issues they face. The stories can be used as tools to engage young people in conversations about a range of topics and challenges. Resource kits for educators include girls' issues, resilience, and diversity and cultural competence, among others. Lessons and leader guides are available as well.


Evidence-Based Programs and Program Design

Building Protective and Promotive Factors in Afterschool

This brief summarizes research into what after-school programs can do to strengthen protective and promotive factors in the areas of substance use, problem behaviors, and academic performance. Child Trends.

WebReport Brief

Child Trends: What Works

What Works is a searchable register of over 700 programs that have had at least one randomized evaluation to assess child or youth outcomes related to education, life skills, and social/emotional, mental, physical, behavioral, or reproductive health. Child Trends.

WebProgram Database

Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development

This site helps you identify evidence-based programs that help young people reach their full potential. Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, University of Colorado Boulder.

WebProgram Database

Youth.gov: Evidence-Based Program Directories

Multiple federal agencies have put together registries that list evidence-based programs as a way to disseminate information about programs and their level of effectiveness. Youth.gov.

WebProgram Registries

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