Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll can be used in school psychology courses to teach adolescent development.

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Alice In Wonderland can be used to give interesting examples of many of the basic concepts of adolescent psychology” (Lough 305). The article titled Alice In Wonderland and Cognitive Development: Teaching with Examples, by G. J. Lough, describes, with examples, the many ways that the book Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll can be used in school psychology courses to teach adolescent development. Though Alice herself probably is not yet at the age considered adolescent, she goes through adventures that can be compared to what adolescents go through in real life.

     Lough first explains physical development and identity formation with the example of the Caterpillar and the mushrooms. The Caterpillar tells Alice how the mushrooms can control her size. This can be compared to mood swings in adolescents. At first, it is hard for Alice to regulate her size with the mushrooms, just as it is hard for adolescents to regulate their moods at times. “The feelings of being ‘10 miles high’ one day and ‘about 2 feet tall’ the next, are an uncomfortable, but normal, phenomena” (Lough 306) experienced by adolescents. The mushrooms can also represent the growth spurt, which may cause rapid change in size and weight. In adolescents, a drastic change in body image can lead to a drastic change in self-concept, which can lead to an identity crisis. For adolescents, everything is based on images, and image changes results in identity changes.

     A person’s mental abilities mature with each experience he or she has gone through. When adolescents are confronted by a battle of wits, they respond by thinking abstractly. These battles help the mind to sharpen its reasoning capabilities. Alice meets the Frog Footman when she knocks on the door of the Duchess’ house. He makes the statement that since he is on the same side of the door as she, there is no sense in her knocking for him to let her in (Carroll 57). Alice is seeking an immediate goal, to get out of this strange fantasy land, so the Frog Footman’s statement means nothing to her. She would rather achieve her goal than to stand around thinking about perfectly logical statements; she sees this as an obstacle to her goal. Adolescents who seek immediate goals often find obstacles in their path which some would otherwise say are helpful. Understanding the Frog Footman’s lesson requires reasoning that leads to maturation of her cognitive development. This is only Alice’s introductory lesson.

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     The Cheshire Cat, however, helps Alice realize she needs to develop logic skills. His case, according to Lough, is “an excellent teaching example for illustrating the difference between concrete and formal operational thought” (308). The cat argues that a dog is not mad, and that a dog growls when it is angry and wags its tail when it is pleased; then goes on to say that he growls when he is pleased and wags his tail when he’s angry, therefore making him mad (Carroll 63-64). Alice realizes that there is an error in this statement, but she cannot figure it ...

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