In Leslie Sabbagh's revealing article on brain development in adolescents, "The Teen Brain, Hard at Work," psychologist Robert Epstein's passionate objection to data suggesting differences in teenage and adult brains seems puzzling and misplaced. I have worked for the past 15 years with children who come from im¿migrant homes with tightly knit family units, where social interaction is closely monitored and limited, as well as with children from more open-ended family structures, where preteens and teens are allowed greater auto¿nomy in regard to peer relations.
The stress that both groups of students experience in highly pressurized academic environments appears to be the same. Research such as that featured in the article suggests that itis vital to "de-stress" learning environments for all school-age children while they are developing greater "endogenous control." Educators might also be more empathetic toward students if they knew that their students' brain capacities are still in significant transition.
This article was originally published with the title Letters.