This edition of Professional Military Education (PME) contains a wealth of knowledge and resources on the neuroscience of adolescent brains. This page on Adolescent Learning talks about the significant developmental changes that occur up until the age of 25. It identifies strategies on how to teach, discipline and communicate with adolescents and will also give you an insight into the inner working of your own brain.

First, read through the article about adolescent learning. Then, watch the short video about youth brain development, behaviour and learning. Lastly, listen to the short Cove Clip which contains the key points out of the full Cove Talk on Adolescent learning by LTCOL Brad Kilpatrick, CSC.


  1. What did you find interesting out of the reading and videos?
  1. Was there anything you found controversial in this reading? How did you feel learning about the adolescent brain? Compare your feelings with someone in a different age bracket to you.
  1. For anyone over 25, do you feel that the information is correct? Have you found that the way you react and respond to situations are different now compared to when you were an adolescent?
  1. Have you experienced amygdala hijack or observed someone else experience it in the past? How did you feel and react or what did you observe in someone else? How does this compare when you/they ‘cooled off’?
  1. Do you think this study gives adolescents an excuse to behave poorly?
  1. How do you think we can avoid adolescents using this as an excuse in the future?
  1. Do you think Army has dealt with training and commanding adolescents well in the past? What can we improve on?
  1. Noting that the majority of Army’s people undergoing ab initio training are in the adolescent age bracket, do you think there are any key ways we need to change the way we teach them?
  1. Are there any lessons you have learnt about yourself during this PME?
  1. Is there anything you have learnt about teaching or dealing with adolescents from this PME? Are there any strategies you may try to use in the future to better communicate messages or better instruct?


Listen to the full Cove Talk on Adolescent learning by LTCOL Brad Kilpatrick, CSC. This provides considerable detail into how the human brain operates and how the function of the adolescent brain is different to that of an adult.


Complete the ‘Understanding Our Younger Workforce’ ADELE online course contained in the article. This will give you a good understanding on how to work most effectively with adolescents. This is a great course for those working in training establishments and anyone in a leadership position.


If you enjoyed this activity, why not try the other PMEs available on The Cove?

Want more material for your junior officers? Find it here. This article collates articles from across The Cove designed for junior officers and Troop/Platoon Commanders.


If you have suggestions for improvements – additional readings or reference material, alternative discussion points, new delivery methods – or just wish to provide feedback, please contact The Cove Team via


Here are the Facilitator's Notes (PDF) for this PME.