|Inside the Teen Mind
Teenagers. They can be irrational, dramatic and can scream for no apparent reason. They want to feel independent but need love and care at the same time.
Studies show that after infancy, the brain’s most dramatic growth spurt occurs in adolescence. Beside physical changes there are also many emotional changes experienced. They will begin to be directed into making decisions like an adult however in the heat of the moment, their judgement can easily be clouded.
“This duality of adolescent competence can be very confusing for parents," Dr Johnson said. “This means that sometimes teens do things, like punch a wall or drive too fast when, if asked, they clearly know better.”
As teens become better at thinking abstractly, their social anxiety increases and theoretical reasoning makes it possible to consider themselves from the eyes of another. Teens may use this new skill to reflect about what others are thinking of them. In particular, approval from peers has been proven to be rewarding to the teen brain.
A common obstacle teenagers may face is depression, and this will lead to self-consciousness, loneliness and, in extreme cases, suicidal thoughts. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of wanting trust and responsibility.
Music has actually been proven to be a type of therapy or self-comforting art. Music can express and reflect emotional feelings in ways other things can’t. The singer Corinne Bailey Rae, for example, wrote an entire album dedicated to her husband, after his death. Generally, musicians will express their pain and anger through their music and teenagers can easily relate to this.
Along with Music, Dance and Drama are also good ways to channel your pain and energy into. Instead of putting your anger into hurting yourself you could put your anger into helping yourself, because Dance is a healthy way to use your energy. Dance is a good way to express your emotions and it needs lots of focus and commitment. If you commit yourself to things such as, performing it distracts you from your worries of everyday life.
We interviewed a few teachers at St. Marylebone as they were experienced with helping teenagers. One teacher explained teenagers thought that self harm was a way to express their anger and finally feel that they were in control of their actions, body and what goes on in their lives. This is also the same for people with anorexia or other forms of eating disorders. He stated that approximately 1 in 6 people are diagnosed with mental illnesses during their lives. “Girls are more likely than boys to get affected and feel more self conscious about social issues and social standings.” This could be a reason why students feel pressured to smoke, take drugs, and alcohol.
We interviewed the Head of Year 7 of St Marylebone who told us how depression could come from an early age such as at the beginning of Year 7 as a result of starting secondary school along with puberty.
Overall, teenagers have open and vulnerable minds hence they can be influenced by different forms of media and art. There will also be many obstacles that teenagers will have to face - some easier than others - which will impact upon their life as adults.
By Mai, Tamara, Umi, Ornela & Billie
|Does music effect children's behaviour?
Music has become an important factor in daily life. For example when you’re walking on the streets the majority of people do have headphones in their ears. We wondered if this global habit has an effect on our daily lives.
Before researching the article, we listened to the music happily without thinking about the meaning in the lyrics. Most teenagers from our research listened to the beat of the song rather than the lyrics. Our interviewees did say that Drake in particular is quite offensive and rude in his songs when you listen carefully.
Portrayal of women is a concern but there are others such as drugs, alcohol and sexual activity. An unidentified parent did say ‘Since you hear these songs on the radio, it does not bother me that my child does listen to it. Since parental guidance is on songs there is a boundary’. The problem these days is if parental guidance is not a boundary due to Youtube and other music and download sites.
There is a culture of explicit lyrics because as you are able to say what you want to, teenagers can swear and it is because popular artists may feel that using these words may reach their target audience better.
There are songs that do treat women in a positive light but these songs tend to be about mothers and females who take care of them but they also have to realise these women are part of the female gender and when they diminish the female gender, it does include the females they care for.
Many of the teenagers we interviewed seemed to think that they weren’t personally affected by the music lyrics but other teens their age are affected. Maybe this is because many young people don’t realise the change in their behaviour. One seventeen year old girl said: “I don’t think I am affected but I know people who are”. A 17-year-old boy said ‘’ I mostly listen to electronic music which doesn’t have many lyrics in it’’. Other 17- year- old boys said that they listen to a range of genres. The artists they named were Kendrick Lamar and Eminem. They thought that the majority of people their age copy the artist’s style but not really their behaviour in music lyrics. He also said “If I ever have children I wouldn’t stop them from listening to the kind of music that they like, but if it affects them too much or it changes their behaviour completely then I would try and do something about it.” From what this teenager said, it makes us think that they are a lot more concerned than you assume.
We do not think things will change. These artists are very powerful. For example Jay-z says a lot of offensive things but he is close to President Obama. We feel they are too powerful to stop and confront because people will always listen to their music.
Urban and hip hop are concerns but metal and rock & roll is another big concern. Rock & Roll and metal do talk about use of drugs and alcohol and since these artists are some teenagers’ role models, they will copy their role models’ actions.
Radio channels, television channels and record labels do have responsibility to make sure explicit lyrics are edited out but you can listen to these songs on Youtube with the inappropriate language.
There have been many previous articles written on this subject outlining the severity of the effects music has on children. It has been proven that music that glorifies violence does increase violent activity in children. It also speaks about stereotypes, such as the idea of women being sex objects rather than people, which could change the way women are treated within society. Current music could greatly change society for our generation and generations to come.
We do think the artists’ attitude is immature. It might be because of the industry they are in but most adults their age have grown up and take responsibility for their actions. Artists are always getting into confrontations and arguments. We do think this issue should be addressed and artists should clean up their act.
By Diellza, Gabriella, Isabel, Jovana, Marta, Riyana
|Is the UK praising children too much
Only a short while ago, corporal punishment was not uncommon in UK schools; nowadays, however, students’ work can be found smothered in bright-coloured stickers reading ‘Well done!’ or ‘Good job!’. But is more praise better? And how badly is it damaging our children?
Compared to the rest of the world, the UK gives children a great deal of praise. This is mainly “empty praise” and is considered to be damaging to a child’s future performance by many. With children being in charge of the UK’s future, this may impact on how the UK will come to be in many years time...
Empty praise, which is given a lot, involves praising a child’s intelligence rather than their effort. They usually end up more stressed about performing just as well as they did previously; therefore, they worry about the results of the next piece of work rather than learning new things. However, children who are praised for effort are often eager to improve and learn more by doing another task to the best of their ability.
Empty praise’s damaging effect can clearly be seen in the following experiment. Dweck and Mueller, two psychologists from Columbia University, asked 128 students aged 10 and 11 to solve a series of maths problems. When they had done this, half of the children were told “You did really well – you’re so clever”, while the other half were told “You did really well – you must have tried really hard”. Then, all of the children received a harder set of questions. The “clever” half did not do as well as the others. When asked about their results, many of them even lied, claiming to have a higher grade than they actually received.
Stephen Grosz, a famous psychiatrist and a father, stated in his recent book "Empty praise is as bad as thoughtless criticism - it expresses indifference to the child’s feelings and thoughts. Admiring our children may temporarily lift our sense of self-esteem but it isn’t doing much for a child’s sense of self."
Despite this, studies show that not giving praise at all can be more damaging than giving empty praise. This shows that praise is still required to motivate a child, as long as it is given in the right way; although children need praise to be more motivated in completing their work, the amount of praise given needs to be meaningful and specific. We asked the Head of Inclusion at our school what she thought about this particular subject, and she told us how praise can also have a positive effect on children:
"Often praiseworthy events go unnoticed… In my experience, genuine praise has a very positive effect, especially when it comes from an unexpected source… Most children perform worse without praise unless they have such a negative view of themselves that they feel unworthy of it. In my experience, well- behaved and able children can feel that only the badly behaved get attention albeit negative!"
Although it is imperative that praise given to a child is constructive and helpful, too much praise can be damaging no matter what form it comes in. Children can become overly confident or unmotivated.
We interviewed an ICT teacher at our school and her view was:
"Praise needs to be given based on the child and how and what they achieve. Giving too much praise can disillusion the child into believing they are excellent at everything and can hinder the child from pushing themselves further. However, too little praise can de-motivate the child and make them feel that they are not capable of achieving further."
In some other countries limited praise is given and this can lower a child’s self-esteem; however, this may also motivate children since they will thrive and try harder the next time to get better results and be praised to a greater extent.
Praise can be both damaging and beneficial, no matter what form it comes in. Constructive, empty, too much or too little, it all comes down to the individual. The most important thing is that children learn to base their self-worth on their own opinion of themselves, not that of the people around them. It is in this way that we can teach the next generation to strive for achievement and to always look for ways to improve what they have done. It is in this way that we can hope to improve the future for the people of tomorrow.
By Alisa, Esther, Noura and Kira
Should Religious Studies Be Compulsory?
Some say Religious Studies should be compulsory but others say it’s a waste of time. We went around the school to find out other people’s opinions!
We think that RS is important for teenagers in daily life, so that when they are older, they know about different cultures and religious tolerance. If we don’t learn about RS in later life, our generation will have no clue about why some people celebrate one religious holiday and another person a different occasion. An RS teacher’s opinion on the subject was: "RS provides students with essential skills like debating. It encourages children to form their own ideas but in the context of understanding that people may differ in quite extreme ways. This is essential for children living in 21st century Britain. It also helps students empathise with the different cultures in the UK."
It is important for children to learn about culture and traditions so that when they are put in a situation with all different people from all walks of life they can communicate and be able to talk with people. All cultures and traditions are different and can teach you life lessons.
It’s important for children to learn when they’re young about religious tolerance, so you know what the people around you believe in. Also you might want to tell a joke about a religion but you don’t know that it could be offensive because you haven’t learnt the religion, so you could be offending other people.
Another aspect that is taught in RS is debating. This is not only useful in RS but also in many other subjects such as English. Debating teaches students to structure their opinions in a way that can be clearly understood. It also teaches children that it is fine to disagree with people’s opinions and that everyone has the right to their own thoughts. This can help young people when they eventually go to work.
In religious stories children can have fun learning about them and also learn morals that they can use in later life. For example the Good Samaritan teaches that no matter what is going on in your life you should always help people. No matter whom it is you should always help people.
In conclusion we think that schools should add RS to their school curriculum. However students should have a choice whether to study it at GCSE or not.
By Riyana, Gabriella, Marta, Djellza, Isabel and Jovana
Will Apple Stay as Top Brand?
We interviewed students at St. Marylebone School for their opinion on Apple and Samsung products. One of our questions was “do we pay too much for technology?”
Kira aged 13, who owns an iPhone said:
“I think you get what you pay for and with Apple it’s a really big brand so really you are paying for the logo. But there are a lot of benefits that do come with paying for that kind of technology.”
We interviewed a businessman on his opinion on Apple Products compared to Samsung Products:
“In my opinion, Apple products are much better quality than Samsung, and things load faster on Apple and there is better WiFi connection. I have an iPhone myself and it works very well and is quick. My wife has a Samsung she finds that her internet is very slow and the quality is not that great. I also have an iPad that I use for work and it is really useful for my job. I think that Apple products are very good for businesses because they are quick and handy for anything you need to use it for.”
We have done a survey to understand how many Apple products people have in their houses and it is shown that we all have at least one Apple product in our household .This could possibly show that Apple is the top brand it’s so popular among us.
On the other hand, fewer people have Samsung or Android products than have Apple products.
Apple currently is the most valuable brand because it has a clear business strategy and it’s carrying out that strategy extremely well.
Emily, Louise, Karina, Saffron and Marni.
Red Nose Day
Red Nose Day has been around since 1988; it has helped to change many people’s lives in Africa and here in the UK. But we asked people around school why we have a red nose and only a handful of people knew. So how much do we really know about it?
The first Red Nose Day, which was started by Lenny Henry, was in February, but after the second event they were annually held in March. This show includes many celebrities that encourage people to donate. They were funny but also were shocking like Jessie J shaving her hair off, this year. They are extremely popular and they’re sold for only £1 which goes towards helping people in the UK or Africa, who may have difficulty finding a sustainable food source, have mental disabilities or have lost a loved one. Many more people have benefited from Comic Relief.
In our school we dedicated a day to raising money for Comic Relief were some students and teachers came into school in red and we all bought cakes and red noses to help other people who are less fortunate than us. Some people told us that they knew all most nothing about red nose day they just liked fooling around for a good cause and helping other people.
Comic Relief has been raising money for 25 years and has benefited lots of people like Joy from Uganda. Here is her story: Ten year old Joy’s life wasn’t easy. Every day she would watch the other children making their way to school. But poor Joy couldn’t join them for her father could not find work to help feed the family let alone pay for her education. Every day her dad would desperately try to find work to care for his wife and children while Joy had to crawl around on her hands and knees to try and find vegetables to eat or sell. With not much success for both of them they would return home empty handed. Fortunately for Joy and her father, Comic Relief stepped in and gave her father a small loan to start growing his own tomatoes and onions. After a long time of watching the other children go to school Joy could finally join them.
By Deb, Pearl, Eliza and Kawthar
BAE Systems School Roadshow interview with Jem Stansfeild
Jem Stansfeild, a leading scientist and presenter on ‘Bang Goes the Theory’ recently spoke to representatives of St Marylebone C. of. E School about the upcoming BAE Systems School Roadshow.
The Show, Jem says, was inspired by research showing that a worrying number of adults were not comfortable with numbers and ‘relying on a calculator rather than themselves’. The idea of the roadshow is to teach people about maths and to get people to like maths more because ‘you are a bit lost at sea’ if you are not comfortable with maths. Jem says that science and maths are ‘the backbone of all the work I have done so far.’ He also added, ‘So much of what’s around us is underpinned by science and maths and if you don’t understand that then the world is a bit difficult to figure out and that’s not a great place to be in’.
When Stansfeild was asked what he would do to engage secondary school children if he was to hold his own maths and science roadshow he said ‘I would bring in a bunch of the stuff that I have built, and I’d show little video clips of how it worked in real life and also have stuff that you guys can use. I’d show that by understanding science, you can go anywhere with it, you can invent your own stuff and by understanding the maths, it’s like the maths is the biggest tool in your tool box’.
The next question we asked was if he knew what activities would be taking place this year in the Big Bang Science fair. Sadly Stansfeild informed us that the BAE would not be attending. However, he still was able to tell us what events were going to take place, as he said, “From my recollection of the science fairs there’s going to be the IFBA system maths show and then there will be a whole load of other stuff. I think there will be the four by four competition where you make little miniature four by four vehicles and you kind of drive them around “, which sounds very exciting.
After, we asked Stansfeild what the most exciting experiment he had performed in ‘Bang goes the Theory.’ He gave us a list of his most fun experiment (“I built my own jetpack and flew it over a lake, and I’ve never had more fun in doing anything. It was just amazing. “), most scary (“I built something to become the first person to go all the way round on a swing“), and most weird (“It was when I made a coffee powered car, and it was powered by used coffee grounds, and we drove it from Brighton to Manchester “). He also told us that he was working on how to create an explosion from bananas, but hadn’t completely mastered it yet.
Lastly, we asked him about his interestingly varied career and how he became a shepherd and what made him change jobs. He told us, “I was living in Australia at the time, and I had been building stuff for the Pharmaceutical Industry, and there was a job that came up in the papers, saying ‘man wanted’. Oh no actually; ‘person wanted for isolated outback work.’ Must be a good motorbike rider and must be good with animals. And I wondered what job that is, so I phoned up and they said it was to round up sheep in the desert, and I thought: I would love to do that. And so I got the job, and not because I was brilliant with sheep or motorbikes, but because I could fix the farm equipment, so they gave me the job and I loved it and stayed for months and months. And I guess changing jobs, is that I like to learn things and every time you do a different job, you learn a different walk of life. And that’s been really important to me.”
As you can see, Jem Stansfeild outlines the importance of Maths and Science in understanding the world around us, consequently ourselves. It is very important for us to teach the next generation these subjects so that they can learn about the world around them and make their own choices so that we can all shape a better future. Science and Maths is the key to solving humanity’s endless quest of understanding life, the universe and everything we have yet to discover.
Written by Ornela & Kira