Affective Needs of Adolescents
Challenges for Males
The issue of image maintenance looms large for males. Image management issues may result in academic underachievement for males when their immediate adolescent culture does not place value on academic success (Hebert, 2001; Kerr & Cohn, 2001). When peer group status is more important than school achievement, males may opt to mask their true identities (Pollack, 2000). The topic of image lends itself to several types of strategies that could be implemented within a classroom, small group, or individual setting across curricular areas. Hebert (1995) recommends the use of biographies of men who faced similar challenges. Discussion of these biographies could provide insight and promote the use of appropriate coping mechanisms to diffuse the alternate message stemming from the peer group. Similarly, the use of fictional stories or films that involve characters with whom males can identify may facilitate discussion and provide ideas for behavior modification and self-acceptance.
Challenges for Females
Trends in research with females have revealed multiple contributing factors that affect the realization of their potential including: dilemmas surrounding their abilities and talents, personal decisions about family, ambivalence of parents and teachers toward reaching potential, and decisions about caring and duty (Reis, 2002). One aspect that teachers and parents can affect is their own personal ambivalence. Being aware of personal bias and contributing factors that may color their perceptions. Resist the urge to profile adolescents by gender.
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