Youth Lens in the Classroom

Brittany Wood


“Adolescence is a cultural construct, meaning that rather than understanding this period of life as a universal experience, it is instead ‘socially achieved and produced through a range of social, cultural, political, economic, and ideological factors.” - Bruce

Youth Lens

“A youth lens encourages readers to disrupt categorical assumptions of what it means to be a teenager, a particularly important activity for high school students, who are often a subject of authors and other content-creators who aim for a teenage audience in novels, films, advertising… specifically, we wanted the students to question how writers represent people their age.” – Heron-Hruby, Trent, Haas, and Allen

Art by Melissa Danitz

The youth lens project provides a way for young people to express what they know about isolation and stigma through words and pictures.

Young Adult Dystopian Texts

"Writer's Block"

Nicole Steinberg

Youth Lens as a Critical Approach

“Youth are already cosmopolitan intellectuals engaged in contemporary cultural and political debates and realities with their friends and families.” – DeJaynes and Curmi

1.) What does the label of adolescence assume and do?

2.) How is adolescence depicted in this text? Does this depiction feel true to you?

3.) Is “adolescence” a fiction for youth of color? Do youth of color get to be teenagers?

How can we engage our students with adolescent literature using a Youth Lens of analysis?