Day and Jawad use “The Teenage Mind” in support of teaching Clarity4Action’s VIDA method, which helps students identify their values, get acquainted with their “internal operating system,” learn a six-step process for decision making, and develop essential life skills related to taking effective action, like time management and communication. Familiarizing students with their internal operating system includes learning about cognitive biases and gets them to recognize how they can use their brains to be in a better decision fit state. Before they teach a lesson about cognitive biases, however, Day and Jawad simply ask students to discuss how they relate to the big decision the main character faces about her post-secondary plans. Then, after they give a crash course in cognitive biases, they replay the video and ask students to identify how cognitive biases distort the ways Margo and her friends and family think about her future. Realizing how cognitive biases are “hidden” in both the video and our everyday reflections makes an impression on the students. Day said, “They start to have conversations about ‘What am I missing?,’ ‘What am I not even aware of in conversations?,’ ‘What are the assumptions I’m making with my peers, my family, even with the media?’” Students are also encouraged to recognize the cognitive biases that most often distort their own thinking and come up with “antidotes” to resist them.
Day and Jawad noted that decision fitness and emotional regulation concepts seem to really click with students when they can apply them to their current hobbies and interests. “It’s so great to slow down, to meet students where they are, to give them an experience that can deal with the whole person,” Day said. “Project-based learning is something we’re really passionate about,” Jawad said, so guiding the small group of film students to create “The Teenage Mind” to help many more students learn about better decision making was an experience well-aligned with the ways Clarity4Action wants to teach. “The students are never going to forget it,” Jawad added. “They actually have learning evidence—the film that they created.”
Clarity4Action is a nonprofit that works with parents, schools, and students to help people navigate life successfully through an activated decision method and meaningful learning experience. Connect with Amy Day and Kristen Jawad to discuss courses for teens, their Decision Parenting course, or to organize a training for your group.