ERIC Number: ED192443
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Developmental Characteristics of Middle Schoolers and Middle School Organization.
Thornburg, Hershel D.
The extent to which the middle school becomes a true educational alternative is directly related to the ability of middle school educators and researchers to identify and investigate the developmental needs and learning capacities of students. Three important developmental characteristics of early adolescents are a high need for peer friendships, a rising awareness of increased physical changes, and a strong concern with how they match up to common behavioral or physical stereotypes. The middle school student also has several important learner characteristics: the ability to organize knowledge and concepts into problem-solving strategies, interest in planning his or her own learning experiences, and a value system that is shifting from the influence of elders to the influence of peers. The teacher must be aware of the developmental and learning characteristics of the middle schooler and design learning experiences functional to the learner. Teachers must not attempt to compete with students' friends or with powerful influences such as the media. Learning must include the preadolescents' need for social contact. Teachers must present educationally and environmentally relevant issues. The challenge to American educators is forcefully presented by the early adolescent. (Author/JM)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Boston, MA, April 7-11, 1980).