Training of trainers – NFL and interactive methods in Youth work – ACHIEVE

Lesson 17 – Developmental Stages of Youth – text

text lesson

Characteristics of Youth by Age

Characteristics of 12-14 year old:


  • Exhibit a wide range of sexual maturity and growth patterns between genders within gender groups.
  • Experience rapid changes in physical appearance.


  • Are interested in activities involving the opposite sex; learning to live with opposite sex.
  • Are looking more to peers than parents. Seek peer recognition.
  • Seek acceptance and trust.
  • Tend to reject ready-made solutions from adults in favor of their own.
  • Question authority and family values.


  • Compare themselves to others.
  • Are concerned about physical development and emerging sexuality.
  • Are concerned about social graces, grooming and being liked by friends.
  • Abandon view of parents as all powerful.
  • Strive for independence, yet want and need parents help.
  • Need information for making decisions.
  • Seek privacy from parents/adults.
  • Want to be part of something important.


  • Find justice and equality to be important issues.
  • Think abstractly and hypothetically.
  • Are developing skills in the use of logic. Can understand cause and effect.
  • Can solve problems that have more than one variable.
  • Can imagine consequences.
  • Are ready for in-depth, long-term experiences.
  • Challenge assumptions.
  • Want to explore the world beyond their own community.
  • Are curious about the environment.

Youth ages 12 to 14 would thrive in curriculum activities that focus on developing attitudes about the natural world. Looking at community environmental issues and defining their feelings about those issues through research and investigation provides youth to challenge assumptions and redefine their beliefs based on real life experiences.

Characteristics of 15-18 year old:


  • Are concerned about body image.
  • Exhibit smaller range in size and maturity among peers.


  • Make commitments.
  • Can commit to follow through with service.
  • See adults as fallible.
  • Desire respect.
  • Are apt to reject goals set by others.
  • Want adult leadership roles.


  • Desire respect.
  • Are beginning to accept and enjoy their own uniqueness, but still seek status and approval of peer group.
  • Look for confidence of others in their decisions.
  • Develop their own set of values and beliefs
  • Take on multiple roles.
  • Gain autonomy.
  • Are introspective.
  • Take fewer risks.
  • Can initiate and carry out their own tasks without the supervision of others.
  • Search for career possibilities.
  • Desire a role in determining what happens in their world.


  • Are mastering abstract thinking. Can imagine impact of present behavior on the future.
  • Can consider many perspectives and a given issue.
  • Develop theories to explain how things happen.
  • Create new possibilities from information.

Fifteen to 18 year old are ready for authentic experiences in the environment that foster commitment and skill development to protect and improve the environment. Service learning, teaching others and authentic leadership roles around the environment provide 15 to 18 year olds with opportunities to impact their world and challenge others to do the same.

The selection of age appropriate activities for young people will provide them with a positive learning environment that will support their interests and provide a solid foundation for further investigation and research.

Groff, J. Training Trainers to Teach. Raleigh, North Carolina: North Carolina State University.


Acknowledgement of above article is made on an “await claim” basis. The copyright holder has not been traced. Any information enabling us to contact the copyright holder would be appreciated.


The training program “Training of Trainers” is an educational product that is currently missing in the partner countries – Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania. Due to the early stage of development of the youth sector and youth work in these countries the educational materials aimed at non-formal learning are still limited and insufficient. The lack of adequate educational framework for training of youth workers in the field of formal education leads to inefficient use of the capacity of professionals.

This course fills a gap in the youth sector, namely the need of methodologies for the preparation of trainers, who are able to train youth workers. This course will set the basis for the preparation of teams of trainers of youth workers. The course will serve the goal of development of youth work in the participating countries and other interested parties. A large number of youth workers can be trained according to the methodology at national and international level to use and promote non-formal learning as a tool to enhance the realization of young people in the labor market and increase their social cohesion.

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