What Are The Characteristics of Adolescence

What Are The Characteristics of Adolescence by Various Authors and The Five Characteristics of Adolescence

What Are The Characteristics of Adolescence
Characteristics of Adolescents and Their Implications for The Teacher


Adolescence is a period of stress and this stress can affect children’s academic activities according to analyses. Adolescence (10-19 years) is a stage of life that has recently gained recognition as a distinct stage of life with its own special needs.

This phase is characterized by the acceleration of physical growth and psychological and behavioral changes, thus bringing the transformation from childhood to adulthood. Adolescence has been described as the transition period in life when an individual is no longer a child, but not yet an adult.

It is a period in which the individual undergoes enormous physical and psychological changes. In addition, adolescents experience changes in social expectations and perceptions. Growth and physical development are accompanied by sexual maturation, often leading to intimate relationships.

The individual’s capacity for abstract and critical thinking also develops, along with a sense of self-awareness when social expectations demand emotional maturity. Research suggests distinctive characteristics of young adolescents with regard to their physical, cognitive, moral, psychological, socio-emotional, and spiritual development (Scales, 2010).

Identify and Describe The five Characteristics of Adolescence

Physical development

Rapid and dramatic physical development and growth mark adolescence, including the development of sexual characteristics. Marked morphological changes in almost every organ and system in the body are responsible for the accelerated growth and changes in sexual contours and organs.

In the case of boys, the active acceleration in the growth of thick pubic hair and facial hair often precedes other signs of puberty, such as voice changes. In girls, breast development, enlargement of the hips, and rapid growth in height usually begin about two and a half years before menarche.

The teacher and schools can support physical development by providing responsive educational opportunities for young teens. Among these opportunities are health and science curricula that describe and explain physical changes.

Teachers and schools also need to provide (a) programs that encourage adequate exercise and healthy lifestyles,

(b) access to plenty of water and nutritious foods during the school day,

(c) adequate education about the risks of alcohol use, and drugs, teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

Adolescents should have opportunities for physical movement and rest periods. When young adolescents avoid physical activity due to concerns about body image (Milgram, 1992), teachers can incorporate movement into classroom activities, minimize peer competition, and disrupt comparisons between early and late maturing youth.

SEE:Definition Of Adolescence By Various Authors

The Characteristics of Adolescence

Intellectual Developmental Characteristics

Intellectual development refers to increasing people’s ability to understand and reason. In young adolescents, intellectual development is not as visible as physical development, but it is just as intense. During early adolescence, young people exhibit a wide range of individual intellectual development, including metacognition and independent thinking.

They tend to be curious and display broad interests. Typically, young teens are eager to learn about topics they find interesting and useful—those that are personally relevant. They also favor active over passive learning experiences and prefer peer interactions during educational activities (Kellough & Kellough, 2008).

During early adolescence, young people develop the capacity for abstract thought processes through transitioning to higher levels of cognitive function varies considerably between individuals. Adolescents often progress from concrete logical operations to acquiring the ability to develop and test hypotheses, analyze and synthesize data, deal with complex concepts, and think reflectively.

As they mature, young teens begin to understand the nuances of metaphors, derive meaning from traditional wisdom, and experience metacognition. Likewise, they are increasingly able to think about ideological topics, argue a position, and challenge adult directives.

They form impressions of themselves through introspection and “have keen powers of perception.” Also, they appreciate more sophisticated levels of humor. Teachers need to consider differences in the intellectual development of young adolescents when planning learning experiences.

To deal with this diversity, teachers need to provide a variety of educational approaches and materials that are appropriate for the broad cognitive abilities of their students.

For example, concrete thinkers require learner experiences more structured, while abstract thinkers need more challenging activities. In addition, young teens need teachers who understand and know how they think.

Teachers need to design curricula around real-life concepts and provide authentic educational activities (eg, experimentation, analysis, and data synthesis) that are meaningful to young teens. As the interests of young teens are evolving, they demand opportunities for exploration throughout their educational program.

To promote intellectual development, these young people need to interact directly with their world – through speech and practical experience with peers and adults. Likewise, young teens need to learn and engage in democratic principles.

Teachers can also provide forums for them to examine the reasons for school, home, and social rules. As adult role models, teachers can guide young teens to connect intellectual thinking and moral reasoning.

The Characteristics of Adolescence

Moral Development

Moral development is defined as an individual’s ability to make principled choices and how to treat one another. During early adolescence, many of the attitudes, beliefs, and values that young teens develop remain with them throughout their lives.

They move away from general acceptance of adult moral judgment to the development of their own personal values; however, they often embrace the values of parents or key adults.

As noted, young adolescents’ increased capacity for analytical thinking, reflection, and introspection characterizes the connection between their intellectual and moral development. Young teenagers also tend to be idealistic and have a strong sense of justice.

As they move into the interpersonal conformity stage of moral development, young adolescents begin to reconcile their understanding of people who care about them with their own self-centeredness.

The transition from a self-centered perspective to consideration of the rights and feelings of others (Scales, 2010). Gender affects the way teens approach moral dilemmas – men see moral issues through a lens of justice and women use a lens of interpersonal care. Young teens often ask broad, unanswerable questions about life and refuse to accept trivial adult answers.

They also begin to see moral issues in shades of gray, not just black and white. As young teens begin to consider complex moral and ethical issues, they tend to be unprepared to face them. Consequently, young teens struggle to make sound moral and ethical choices (Kellough & Kellough, 2008).

Teachers need to be aware of the relationship between young teenagers’ intellectual development and their moral reasoning (Scales, 2010).

They can organize instructional experiences that promote critical thinking skills and higher levels of moral reasoning. For example, teachers plan assignments that help students incorporate their thoughts and feelings in writing (Scales, 2010).

Teachers can involve young teenagers in activities that require consensus building and the application of democratic principles; teacher mentoring and service learning programs can promote teamwork and build community (Brighton, 2007).

In addition, teachers can design experiences for students to examine moral dilemmas and contemplate answers (Scales, 2010). Such experiences can help young teens develop values, solve problems, and establish their own patterns of behavior (Kellough & Kellough, 2008).

Young teens may also have opportunities to examine their own choices and the consequences of those choices (Kellough & Kellough, 2008).

In addition, teachers can develop scenarios that lead young adolescents to investigate the concepts of equity, justice and equity. School programs or curricula may focus on social issues such as the environment, poverty or racial discrimination.

SEE: 5 Powerful Tricks on How to Stop Forgetting What You Read

Psychological Development

During early adolescence, psychological development is characterized by identity formation and the search for independence. Young teens experience two stages of identity formation:

(a) industry versus inferiority when 10-11 year olds identify by the tasks and skills they perform well, and

(b) identity versus identity when 12-15 year olds explore and experiment. various roles and experiences). Identity development depends on the degree of exploration and commitment to an identity.

During these years, young teens seek their own sense of individuality and uniqueness (Brown & Knowles, 2007). They may also experience a heightened awareness of their ethnic identity (Scales, 2010). As young teens seek adult identity and adult acceptance, they struggle to maintain peer approval.

As young teens expand their affiliations to include family and peers, feelings of conflict due to competing loyalty can arise.) The search for identity and self-discovery can intensify feelings of vulnerability as they become attuned to the differences between themselves and others (Scales, 2010).

Typically, the onset of adolescence is intense and unpredictable (Scales, 2010). Young teens tend to be moody and restless, and may exhibit erratic and inconsistent behavior, including anxiety, bravery, and fluctuations between superiority and inferiority.

They are often self-aware and highly sensitive to criticism of their perceived personal shortcomings. The self-esteem levels of young adolescents are generally adequate and improve over time, while self-competence in academic subjects, sports and creative activities declines (Scales, 2010).

Emotionally charged situations can cause young teens to resort to childish behaviors, exaggerate simple events, and voice naive opinions or one-sided arguments. Their emotional variability puts young teens at risk of making decisions with negative consequences and believing that their experiences, feelings and problems are unique.

Teachers need to support young teenagers’ quest for identity formation through curriculum experiences, instructional approaches, and opportunities for exploration.

Young teens need frequent opportunities to explore and experience various roles and experiences within the context of the classroom. Teachers can provide educational experiences such as role play, role play and reading that promote identity formation. These experiences can help young teens realize that their challenges are not unique (Kellough & Kellough, 2008).

In addition, teachers can incorporate opportunities for student choice and self-assessment. Teachers can also describe how self-esteem affects many aspects of their development and design experiences that build young teens’ self-esteem.

Likewise, teachers can recognize the importance of friendships and explain that changing peer loyalty is normal (Scales, 2010).

To promote successful experiences for every young teenager, schools need to provide organizational structures such as team building and mentoring programs. These structures help ensure that each young teen is well known by at least one adult and has regular occasions to experience positive peer relationships.

Young adolescents need opportunities to form relationships with adults who understand them and are willing to support their development. Educational programs and practices can be used to promote an atmosphere of friendship, concern, and group cohesion (Kellough & Kellough, 2008). Young teens deserve school environments free from harsh criticism, humiliation and sarcasm.

Social-Emotional Development Characteristics

Socio-emotional development concerns a person’s capacity for mature interactions with individuals and groups. In early adolescence, socio-emotional maturity often lags behind physical and intellectual development. Young adolescents have a strong need to belong to a group – with peer approval becoming more important and adult approval decreasing in importance (Scales, 2010).

SEE: Difference Between Social Science And Social Studies

As young adolescents mature socially and emotionally, they may experience conflicting loyalties to peer groups and families (Wiles et al., 2006). As young teens are fiercely loyal to their peer group (Kellough & Kellough, 2008), they seek social stature within the peer group. Young teens often experience new behaviors as they seek social standing and personal identity (Scales, 2010).

They are also torn between their desire to conform to peer group norms and their aspiration to be distinct and independent (Brighton, 2007). Young teens experience a variety of peer associations – both positive and negative. During early adolescence, young people often broaden their circle of friends (Brighton, 2007) and may experience feelings of romantic or sexual attraction (Scales, 2010).

Issues of sexual orientation and identity may also arise at this time (Brighton, 2007). Negative peer associations, particularly bullying, also become more prevalent in the high school years. Young adolescents are also socially and emotionally vulnerable due to media influences (Kellough & Kellough, 2008; Scales, 2010). Young teens tend to imitate their esteemed peers and non-parental adults.

Although they prefer to make their own choices, the family remains a critical factor in making the final decision. Young teens can be rebellious with their parents and adults, but they tend to depend on them. Young teens also often test the limits of acceptable behavior and challenge adult authority. They may overreact to social situations, make fun of others, and feel embarrassed (Scales, 2010).

When experiencing adult rejection, young teens may seek out the seemingly safe social environment of their peer group. Importantly, teachers report that meeting the social and emotional needs of young teens can improve their learning and academic performance.

Due to young teens’ need for affiliation and belonging, they must have opportunities to form healthy, affirmative peer relationships. The teachers should recognize the importance of peer relationships and friendship (Scales, 2010) and provide opportunities for positive peer interactions. Teachers can design cooperative learning activities and collaborative experiences for young teens to interact productively with peers (Scales, 2010).

Teachers can also plan activities that involve students in argumentation or debate in academic settings, as well as those that simulate social situations through role-plays or simulations. Schools play a key role in providing young teens with educational programs that promote freedom and independence within a safe space.

Organizational structures such as team building and in-service learning advance in positive places for young teens to grow. School districts need to support programs that stop negative peer interactions, particularly bullying, that impede the healthy development of young people. Schools can also ensure that young teens have access to student government, service clubs, or other leadership groups that allow them to develop their own projects and behavioral guidelines.

SEE: Difference Between Micro And Macro Teaching

Name The five Characteristics of Adolescents.

The 5 Characteristics of Adolescence are

  • Physical development
  • Intellectual Developmental characteristics
  • Moral Development
  • Psychological Development
  • Social-Emotional Development characteristics

Developmental Characteristics of Adolescence

The question about Which Mental Characteristic Develops Over The Course of Adolescence is below:

  • Experience onset of puberty, develop secondary sex characteristics
  • Grow rapidly, are often clumsy and uncoordinated
  • Become highly self-conscious, body image can affect body-image
  • Fluctuate between hyperactivity and lethargy
  • Need physical activities
What Are The Characteristics of Adolescence


Adolescence, the transition between childhood and adulthood, is a stressful period of life, characterized by noticeable physical, mental, emotional, social and behavioral changes.


Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. R. (Eds.). (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school (Expanded ed.). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Arnett, J. J. (2010). Adolescence and emerging adulthood: A cultural approach (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. (1975). The middle school we need. Washington, DC: Author.

Blakemore, S., & Choudhury, S. (2006). Development of the adolescent brain: Implications for executive function and social cognition. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47(3/4), 296-312.

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