Education innovator, Dr. David Gleason, believes that stress and pressure caused by increased academic demands are the cause of many problematic conditions among teenagers. There is no doubt that sometimes pressure is necessary to achieve optimal performance, however what if teenagers have not yet developed their coping skills?

Dr. David Gleason who is also the Consulting Psychologist of Concord Academy, is a keynote speaker at the Asia-Pacific International Schools Conference (AISC) in Hong Kong on 14th and 15th December 2017.

He has just published a book “At What Cost? Defending Adolescent Development in Fiercely Competitive Schools”. He explained the mismatch between adolescents’ developmental readiness and the combined academic and social pressures imposed on them too early in their lives.

What are the Consequences of Continued Academic and Social Pressure?

“Poignantly, it is this increase of stress and pressure that has led to their conditions of anxiety, depression, and a host of behavioral manifestations of those conditions including chronic sleep deprivation, substance abuse, eating disorders, cutting and self-injury, and all too frequently, suicide.”

“Strikingly, I read an article in USA Today this morning [15 July 2017] entitled ‘America sees alarming spike in middle school suicide rate.’ The article describes how the suicide rate among 10 to 14-year-olds has doubled between the years 2007 and 2014, and for the first time, has surpassed the death rate in that same age group caused by automobile accidents.”

What Are the Main Reasons Leading to These Conditions?

“There is so much pressure on young people that they can become overwhelmed because they haven not yet developed the coping skills adults rely on.” the USA Today article states.

Dr. Gleason is fully behind of this explanation, “it is this mismatch between young adolescents’ developmental readiness and the adult-imposed expectations and demands that adolescents face long before they are even capable of understanding and managing these combined and overwhelming pressures.”

Overwhelmed Teenagers vs. Perfect Achievement

Students experience a kind of academic pressure as a matter of routine.

Dr. Gleason remembered one of his clients an Asian student. “This student works and works all the time, because in her mind, she could never work enough. She stated ‘I’m afraid to stop working…it’s just who we are. It’s what I’ve been told so much…for so long. Constant working…for perfect achievement is engrained in me.’

“The many Asian-Pacific students whom I have encountered in schools around the world exhibit a very similar work ethic, one that seems inappropriately focused on ‘perfect achievement.’ Because of that intense focus, it lacks both balance and a healthy respect for the developing child or adolescent who is expected to perform at such exaggerated levels.”

Defending Adolescent Development in Fiercely Competitive Schools

“As a psychologist who has studied child and adolescent development for over thirty years, I have been amazed by what I have learned in the last five years. For all our students, finding the right balance between an appropriate level of academic rigor and educating them in healthy, safe and balanced ways has crucial lifelong implications.”

Dr. David Gleason is looking forward to his forthcoming appearance at the Asia-Pacific International Schools Conference (AISC). “I remain curious and eager to work with educators in this area of the world to explore these issues together.” He will deliver a keynote speech of “At What Cost? Defending Adolescent Development in Fiercely Competitive Schools” to over 500 delegates from the international schools across Asia.

About AISC

Date: 14th-15th December 2017

Venue: Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre

Super Save Rate: Sign up before 27 Oct 2017 from