Thursday, March 18, 2010

Soon there will be a drug for that

Today I was helping my son with his health homework. His teacher wants the students to bring in articles having to do with health topics and then to write short summaries of the articles. Since I'm always reading about health topcis, I sort of enjoy the fact-finding part of the assignment, I just have to remember not to get too controversial. I don't want to end up being hauled into health class to explain my radical ideas about doctors, drugs and food.

Today's assignment was fairly easy. My son and I went searching on line and found this no-brainer [pun intended] which I thought would make an excellent topic for a junior high school health class.

Apparently researchers have finally discovered what parents have known for centuries. Teenagers are dumb. {Or more accurately, they don't have the same capacity to learn that younger children do.}

Something happens when children hit their teenage years, {let's call it 'puberty'} that seriously impacts their ability to learn.

Well. Duh.

What do we do? We shove a driver's license in their hands and try to teach them to operate 2,000-pound vehicles on overcrowded roads at a time in their lives when they'd be hard pressed to find the cheese at the end of a wooden maze. So who's really dumber, I ask you?

I digress. The real issue with the article isn't the big surprise that the distractions of puberty make learning more difficult during the teen years but the closing sentence:

...and scientists could develop drugs to manipulate how easily kids learn.

That's the ticket right there. The take home message of this study isn't something sensible, like let's redesign the type of things we teach adolscents and play to their strengths or accept that they can't learn too much between the ages of 13 and 19 and concentrate on reinforcing things they learned before that. No. The take home message is: let's make some new drugs! Then being adolescent can be classed as a disease that requires treatment. I'm sure the pharmacutical companies are already salivating over how much money they can make on 'the learning pill.'

1 comment:

  1. If they make it work for adults I might be interested...