School-Based Interventions to Improve Developmental Trajectories in Very Young Adolescents

Colloquium | October 15 | 12-1:30 p.m. | 1102 Berkeley Way West

 Erin Murphy Graham, Graduate School of Education; Megan Cherewick, Institute of Human Development; Lucia Magis Weinberg, Institute of Human Development

 Ron Dahl, Institute of Human Development

 Institute of Human Development

Background: In recognition of our broader multi-disciplinary community in BWW (Psychology, Education, Public Health, IHD and IPSR) some of the slots in the 2018-2019 IHD/Developmental Psychology Colloquium will be used for a series of cross-cutting interdisciplinary panel discussions. These panels serve two goals. First, to bring together several disciplinary perspectives to promote a more integrative understanding of developmental science. Second, to examine how a trans-disciplinary approach can be applied to create positive impact—to improve the lives of children and youth in real world settings.

Our first panel in this series will focus on very young adolescents. The onset of adolescence initiates a period of rapid physical growth, maturational changes, social learning, adaptation, and formational neurobiological development [Dahl et al. Nature 2018]. During this time of dynamic change young lives can pivot rapidly—in negative and positive directions. From a developmental science perspective, there is growing interest in understanding how to target this time of pivotal change as a window of opportunity—to promote positive developmental trajectories of health, education, social, and economic success.

This panel will describe three different approaches to designing interventions to leverage this developmental window for positive change. Each project utilizes a school-based intervention in a low-to-middle income country (Tanzania, Peru, and Honduras respective) and seeks to improve developmental trajectories spanning multiple outcomes (health, social development, and well being). Each project is also quite distinct in specific goals, approach, methods, disciplinary teams, and cultural contexts. By comparing and contrasting these projects we seek to promote a multi-disciplinary discussion and help to integrate understanding of the relevant developmental science and the challenges and opportunities in applying the science in specific settings.

Discover Learning, presented by Dr. Megan Cherewick (IHD), is a BMGF funded study designed for very young adolescents (10 to 11 years old) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Discover Learning is a 12-session, after school intervention led by young adult facilitators. Discover Learning includes team building and collaborative mixed-gender group work, laptop-based learning activities, opportunities to discover the value of learning in shaping one's future, and time for reflection. The long-term goal of Discover Learning is to better understand how scientific insights about early adolescence and puberty can enhance the impact of scalable interventions to improve social relationships, gender equity and health outcomes.

Transitions, presented by Dr. Lucía Magis-Weinberg (IHD), is a project in partnership with Innova Schools in Perú, which seeks to empower tutors and support students in the transition between primary and middle school. By adding developmental science principles into the design of their Advisory curricula, we seek to more effectively scaffold healthy habits in relation to technology use, sleep and wellbeing.
Ending child marriage through holistic secondary education, presented by Dr. Erin Murphy-Graham (Graduate School of Education), is a Design-Based Research study being conducted in tandem with Asociación Bayán in Honduras. It is exploring how holistic secondary education can play a role in changing the cultural beliefs and practices in rural Honduran communities where child marriage and early pregnancy are prevalent.

Ron Dahl will introduce and moderate the session and discussion.

Please join us as we explore innovative approaches to trans-disciplinary developmental science to improve the lives of youth.