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Additional Praise for Understanding Youth

"Drawing on the work of eminent psychological researchers and theorists, Nakkula and Toshalis’s compelling analysis of contemporary adolescence pushes us to revisit our foundational assumptions regarding the trajectory of development, moving us beyond seeing adolescence development as only “about them” to an appreciation of the reciprocally transformative nature of relationships between teenagers and adults in the United States. With careful attention to diverse educational contexts, the authors combine engaging case narratives with thought-provoking analyses to create a fresh and nuanced picture of what's
going on in the lives of adolescents and what educators can do to promote healthy development in their everyday interactions."
--Janie Victoria Ward, Associate Professor, Simmons College, and Author, The Skin We're In: Teaching our Children to be Emotionally Strong, Socially Smart and Spiritually Connected

“This is an important and very timely book. The “business” of education is built upon the development of relationships. Understanding how best to build relationships with students is essential work for teachers. Nakkula and Toshalis have provided a framework for understanding and working with adolescents. While they have created a theoretical construct that is both illuminating and understandable, they have also provided a practical, hands-on model for teachers, counselors, parents and administrators to help students.”
--David Cash, Superintendent, Claremont Unified School District, CA

"What a gift to read Understanding Youth: Adolescent Development for Educators. Even after almost 20 years in the counseling field, it challenged me to think anew. It will be a practical read for both experienced and novice faculty. It provides realistic approaches to working with students that encourages them to engage in school and build solid “scaffolding” for success. The anecdotes are evidence that there are many ways to reach a student. They remind readers to individualize their work with each student and to creatively reach out for resources beyond the school walls."
--Maureen McGoldrick, Student Support Coordinator, Edwards Middle School, Boston, MA

"Understanding Youth: Adolescent Development for Educators is unquestionably for educators. Nakkula and Toshalis succeed in surveying the wide realm of adolescent development research and breaking it down into clear and coherent pieces for educators to use in their own work in schools. As a new teacher I especially appreciate the clarity with which the authors outline the research and its implications for my teaching. This work does not endorse one dazzling “silver bullet” solution to the challenges faced by our youth, but it does highlight the fact that “our work in schools is identity work” and that we as educators play a critical yet underestimated role in identity formation. The use of specific scenarios and analogies intertwined with discussion of the research really helped me absorb the information and apply it to my own day-to-day teaching. In the stories of Janine, Antwon, Lorena and the other students I saw my own students, and with each decision or step taken by Ms. Peterson, Mr. Harrison and Miss Lang I couldn’t help but think of what my own actions would have been and whether or not they would have appropriately addressed the situation. Immense work has been done in studying adolescent development, and this book helps bridge the gap between that work and the real-life daily interactions of educators and adolescents.”
--Manuel Rustin, Social Science Teacher, John F. Kennedy High School, Sacramento, CA

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