A few years ago I arrived at a satisfying (to me at least) solution. I assign some readings, but then each student is responsible for finding, summarizing, and sharing a recent empirical paper. They summarize this paper in a standardized google doc format, and everyone reads the summaries before class. I like this format because: (1) it increases the breadth of knowledge that we all experience before and during class, with (this semester) 9 recent empirical papers represented; (2) each student can connect the week’s readings to their area of interest (e.g., puberty and peer relationships; identity and peer relationships; transition to adulthood and peer relationships); (3) it increases ownership in the course content for each student, because every week, each student has some relevant expertise that no one else has. It also improves our ability to talk about measurement given the range of measures represented across readings. You can find my current syllabus for this course here.
By the end of the semester, I’m exposed to a lot of new and exciting research across the field of adolescent development. To give you a taste, I’ve decided that each week I will (try to) write briefly about the articles we discussed that led to the most engaged discussion. Last week’s topic was puberty:
1. Stein & Resier (1994). It’s now 20 years old, and there are clear methodological limitations, but I still love assigning this paper. Puberty is one of the few areas where we know more about girls than boys, and the societal sense of when a boy truly reaches puberty, and what markers he may experience is always murky. Talking about first ejaculation seems so much harder for adolescents, parents (and researchers) than talking about menstruation, and this paper always engenders interesting discussion.
2. Jacobsen, Oda, Knutsen, & Fraser (2009). Our class this semester includes students from HDFS, sociology, and nursing. This paper on associations between early menarche, heart disease, and mortality led to discussion about biology as destiny and the age old biology/context tug-of-war.
3. Ellis, Shirtcliff, Boyce, Deardorff, & Essex (2011). Again, the disciplinary diversity of the students in the class this semester created some engaged discussion around biology and context and their interplay.
“The post This week in Adolescent Development: Puberty first appeared on Eva Lefkowitz’s blog on January 29, 2014.”