In every nation adolescents form a significant part of the population and this cohort of young people can become either a gift or a burden to their countries depending on the capacity of educationalist to convert them into potential human beings. There has been a significant discussion in recent years regarding our educational system and its inefficiency in addressing the adolescent education (William G. Brozo, Charles H. Hargis, 2003). In many circumstances even the teachers feel it difficult to motivate the students in middle and high schools especially those who remained alliterate during their lower grades.
Adolescents who are alliterates have negative view of reading and take it as a process of getting the word right rather than an act of understanding the material. Most alliterate middle school students tend to passively find answers rather than actively make sense of information. They do not hear a voice of the page and instead of trying to grasp the content; they keep on trying to grasp words. As they keep trying, they are fed with more of the same and no opportunity is given to them to understand the concept and ideas of the subject they read. “Reading proficiency has historically been valued as the fundamental enabling competency in public education in the minds of parents, educators, and the general public” (Dr. Willard R. Daggett, Dr. Ted S. Hasselbring, 2007). Most educational systems fail in this contest and deprive their students an opportunity to understand different things.
Developing Inquiry based Understanding and metacognitive approach:
One of the important concerns is the modern day education, is the need to develop knowledge with understanding. The problem with current education is that it is good in conceptual thing but not with factual understanding. The adolescents are taught more concepts and very little time is left for their understanding. The 21st century requires more factual thinking to survive than the conceptual. The learning with understanding is very much essential in developing the factual thinking skills.
In this contest the teaching methods need to be changed to encourage the students to understand the content areas rather than just reading and reproducing them in the exams. The teaching environment must also supportive in this. The factual understanding must be taught in whatever new concepts the students learn. Also some assignments in finding the factual truth behind the various technical content areas may be given to the students. This creates a kind of inquisitiveness to understand the fact behind whatever concept they learn in the future.
The students must also be encouraged to pose any inquiry into the concepts they learn in the classrooms. All the students come to the classrooms with their existing notions about a concept. When this is not engaged by their teachers they develop inquisitiveness to understand them and start posing questions. The teachers must start taking pain to clear them. This not only increases their understanding but also will encourage them to involve in enquiry and start to question some misconceptions. A large number of best learning outcome of students are those motivated by their own investigations. This provides them an invaluable opportunity in understanding the facts behind any question.
Further the students must be encouraged to develop a metacognitive approach. The students in adolescent start to understand the world and they must be taught to take care of their studies. Some teachers do this by saying,” You are the owners and operators of your own brain, but it came without an instruction book. We need to learn how we learn”(Suzanne Donovan, John Bransford,2005)
Emotional and Social Issues
The next major hurdle an adolescent faces is his/her emotional issue. The feeling of adolescents with difficulty in interacting have dealt with in their school experiences such as failure, inadequacy and frustration often do not go away as they continue in life. Add to these, the anxiety and even panic that transition from school to postsecondary life may produce, and the affect can show up as different forms of behavior, ranging from aggression to avoidance or withdrawal. These behaviors can escalate to the point of requiring professional assistance. Such assistance is common and can be most helpful not only to the adolescent but to family members as well in dealing with the situation. When one member of a family is hurting, everyone feels the pain. And sometimes it is hard to find their own solutions when they are emotionally involved in the situation.
Finding the right counseling situation is the key to successful assistance. It is need of the hour to find someone with whom he feels comfortable and can talk it through. Remember that he/she is not going to tell the psychologist anything that he/she hasn’t heard before, and, by oath, they cannot reveal what you discuss to anyone. Resources, such as family, friends, church, and school and/or their family doctor can help in finding a counseling situation that fits your family’s needs. Assistance with social adjustment is also available through such counseling.
Demands of Academic Literacy
Reading is not a simple process as perceived by educationalist. It is quite complex. It is not just decoding the words and making meaning of those words. It should go beyond to understand the real meaning or the idea the text tries to deliver. In some contest they need to understand the inner meaning of the texts they study and should make an enquiry into it. In a Similar way they need to read the literacies and try to make sense for themselves in reading and the reading must not be just for the purpose of examination. It must go beyond the exams and it must be for their life. “The privileging of one form of literacy (academic literacy) over multiple other forms (e.g., computer, visual, graphic, and scientific literacies) has been criticized for ignoring the fact that different texts and social contexts (reading for whom, with what purpose) require different reading skills” (Alvermann, Donna E,2002)
For reading ay literacy, the students need sufficient background knowledge. This background knowledge is provided by their schools. For effective understanding of any concept the students need an effective instruction from their teachers. Effective instruction helps students to understand the contents in their subject areas and helps them to apply in their life. An effective literacy instruction should address the demands of the students in various subject areas and must fuel their inquisitiveness and develop students’ abilities to comprehend and think critically various literacies in school curriculum. There is need to make the necessary changes in the school curriculum, the literacies must be such that it develops inquisitiveness in students mind and help in their overall understanding. The understanding of the various literacies also varies with the way in which they interact in their classes. In many cases the students just don’t blindly accept the concepts taught in their classrooms. In those class rooms the teachers themselves emphasis on completing the syllabus and teach facts and related concepts as a meager means to prepare them for their exams and discourage discussions. Even if allowed these discussions were mostly only with the teachers. When students believed a topic was meaningless or a task unchallenging and they sometimes feel shy to discuss with their teachers regarding this, Even though they did not comply with the teacher’s instructions. Rather they will feel it easier to talk with their friends in class rooms. The teachers must encourage this to certain extent as it helps these students understanding. It is better to learn as groups with proper understanding than each one working independently without clearing his misconception. But the teacher must look to that, that it does not goes out of the control and the discussions start disturbing the class.
Simply put, basic level literacy is insufficient in today’s world where both reading and writing tasks required of adolescents are continuing to increase in complexity and difficulty. Adolescent must be properly guided to understand the various literacies and must be encouraged to get to complex literacies. Literacy and reading, though related, are neither synonymous nor unambiguous terms. Typically reading is subsumed by literacy, with the latter term used to refer to reading, writing, and other modes of symbolic communication that are often valued differently by people living in different social and economic structures and holding different political views.
The situation grows considerably tenser, however, when the general public becomes convinced that a literacy crisis exists or is imminent. Worried that educators are not holding up their end of the bargain, parents and policy makers are understandably quick to respond. The search for better or best educational policy for adults often lacks ground. Unfortunately, what starts as a search for new methods plunges the adolescents into irretrievable holes. This is primarily due to the notion by educationalists that one type of policy will fit all type of students they are in paradox that educational system is the best considering only the students who have higher grades. Moreover, they fail to sense that such approaches fail to take into account the multiple literacies young people living in the 21 st century already possess or are in need of developing. They must start feel the need of the hour as the proper assessment of the adolescents with different levels of understanding. They must start framing the syllabuses and other educational policies considering this. They must also start thinking about the present needs of the century before addressing these issues. Unless the educationalist start doing this , the adolescents now in their schools will be deprived of their opportunity to understand various literacies, despite the fact that they have the necessary brain to do that.