Communication as Social Influence on Academic and Developmental Growth of Today's Adolescent: Growth of Adolescents

Communication as Social Influence on Academic and Developmental Growth of Today's Adolescent: Growth of Adolescents

Angelia Reid-Griffin (University of North Carolina, Wilmington, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2956-0.ch005


This chapter will show how growing social interactions among today's adolescents impact their academic performance and identity development. The author will explain these challenges using a historical reference to socio-ecological perspective and socio-constructivism influence in middle-level education. This chapter provides a review of research detailing the role of discourse and the practices of creating culturally and developmental relevant communications among adolescents and suggests how social opportunities geared specifically for this age level influences learner attitudes and career interests. Discussion on the social influences of the mentoring process and the way it is used to help improve academic performances in hopes that it enhances the development of adolescents in the digital age.
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Social Influences On The Growth Of Adolescents And Developmental Growth Of Today’S Adolescents

This chapter provides for readers an explanation on how the increasing societal interactions adolescents encounter (in school and their communities) impact academic performances and identity development. With the purpose of exploring the social interactions that are offered in middle-level education environments that can help students succeed academically and also develop positive identities of themselves. By pinpointing specific aspects in which past and present influences within systems that foster the emotional and educational well-being of adolescents.

Background information on social interactions and discourse will be explained as it shapes adolescent development and academic performance. These aspects of development and performance remain a struggle for middle-level education programs as they try to find balance in identity development and curriculum. Early adolescence is a pivotal period in students' lives, as it is the time in which they establish academic identities, as well as set the motion for a sequence of activities, related to social interactions, that continues to high school and beyond (Eccles, Lord, & Midgley, 1991; National Middle School Association, 2010; Umansky, 2016). The key concept addressed in this manuscript is a description of the social environment--the individuals and their roles within the middle-level education system. The ecological theory by Bronfenbrenner (1979) frames the manner in which society and social semiotics structure the social landscape of middle-level education. This manuscript supports how Vygotsky's (1978) social constructivism influences social interactions of adolescents regarding how learning groups are structured. Today the middle-level classroom and school environments are structured with goals that afford openness of diversity of knowledge to help improve students' learning and achievement (Linn & Burbules, 1995; Wenzel & Carano, 2015).

Not to be marginalized, there is still a lack of culturally and developmentally relevant discourse in middle-level settings (Busey & Russell, 2016; Chandler & McKnight, 2011; Ladson-Billings, 2003; Urrieta, 2005). This lack of conversation does not enhance the development identity of all adolescents. The dominant culture, typically White Americans, benefit from these opportunities, leaving minority students struggling to find their status and place in the learning environment. The increase of social opportunities outside of the traditional middle-level classroom and school environment, such as social media, camps, afterschool programs have led to active construction of student learning and the development of self-identity by all middle-level learners (Fraser, 1989; Linn & Burbules, 1995; Schoenfeld,1989). The rapid growth of mentoring opportunities has led to middle-level learners increased aspirations to be self-driven and find comfort in learning about themselves and others through new experiences. Adults serving in mentor roles, such as teachers, counselors, administrators, parents, community leaders, and experts in professional fields, are more aware, knowledgeable and responsive to differences among diverse students (Sullivan, 2018). By building mentoring relationships, these adult mentors can help identify and understand most of the challenges that children of this age encounter on a daily basis.

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