Rite Journey Conference 2015 – Deepening the Journey, Session 1


A quick preface on The Rite Journey and the conference. At St Andrew’s college we run “The Rite Journey” with our year 10 students. It is a year long programme which looks at the journey into adulthood. It includes looking into family history, life stories, relationships with others, our place in the world, is there something more, and developing skills like grit, resilience, communication and ability to take on challenges. This year I was priviledged to attend the conference in Sydney and participate in this opportunity. The next few posts will document the sessions I went to and my thoughts.




Sesssion 1: What’s going on inside a teenager’s brain? – “Graeme Gallasch”

Key messages

Theme -this is great time-adolescence

  • Brainstorm-Siegel
  • Brain Rules
  • The teenage brain- Frances E??

Sarah Jane Blakemore neuroscientist – Ted talks Sarah Jane Blakemore – Teenage Brain


A time to cultivate-not just survive

Neurological changes

Parts of the brain

  • Brainstem (palm)- basic function FIGHT, FLEE, FREEZE, FAINT
  • No VS yes (try to say yes more than no – it feels better J)
  • Limbic Area (thumb tucked under fingers). Creating emotions, motivation, evaluates, memory, attachment = be seen, be safe, be Soothed = security.
  • Cortex (fingers)


Remodelling of the brain happens in two ways –pruning (refining the connections that are all over the place). Myelination (Speeding up and strengthening the pathways)

Siegel- adolescence is both a challenge and a gift.


Negative Positive
Emotional Spark
Social Engagement peer influence

(Eg with Alan Alda-adolesent and peer influence)

friendship collaboration
Novelty impulsivity


hyper- rational thinking

(Dopamine surges influence this.

prep for leaving home, encourages learning


Creative Exploration crisis of identity

reject parent valves

solve big problems.

Think outside of the box.- Extraordinary teens.

What are they capable of.  Movie. “I am Mulala”

Key message for me was to take the positive aspects of teenage brain development and not focussing so much on the negative J


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