To plan

The development of the prefrontal cortex is important not only for impulse control, but also for planning goal-directed behavior, applying rules and following instructions. The frontal cortex is not fully developed until a person is between the ages of twenty and twenty-five. The brain areas that are important for making good planning are therefore still developing in adolescence. Planning is quite a complicated matter. It relates to the process of arriving at a plan, to the plan itself and to the correct and timely implementation of the plan. Planning includes a prediction of the future, describes what it should look like and also influences it. An important facet is that priorities must be set and choices must be made by making decisions. It is then necessary to stick to those decisions. Making decisions is therefore an essential skill. Adolescents have an additional handicap here. Not only does their frontal cortex not yet work optimally, but they also lack past experiences that their emotional system can use to support rational decisions. It is not the case that these skills are immediately there when the prefrontal cortex is mature. The brain area must first be stimulated. An individual needs to be exposed to the right tasks and information at the right time. It is therefore important to give adolescents in secondary education the opportunity to develop these functions. There is little point in assessing them on these types of skills if their brains are not yet ready. In order to plan you need insight into, as an overview of the teaching material that you want to process systematically. Moreover, planning always involves a longer-term goal. These facets are also less developed in adolescents. The teacher will have to explicitly support them in planning the learning material. Firstly, by offering the teaching material in a structured manner and secondly, by demonstrating how to make a plan to process specific learning material.