Learning to Manage Middle School - 16:1 - An Education Podcast Learning to Manage Middle School - 16:1 - An Education Podcast

Episode 80 - Stuck in the Middle

March 16, 2023

Educational Philosophy & Psychology

Learning to Manage Middle School

Middle school is a period of intense growth and change for students in K-12 schools in America. In this episode, Katie and Chelsea return to their developmental psychology 101 days to discuss the academic, social, and behavioral challenges and changes faced by middle schoolers and their families.

As 11-15 year olds develop their identities, uncover new insecurities and anxieties, and prepare for the increasing responsibilities of middle school academics, it’s important to keep a pulse on their mental health. Middle school is the world of emergent cliques and social hierarchies, and the pressure to fit in is keenly felt. Social media also plays a role in the social dynamics of middle school, and the cyberbulling epidemic doesn’t look to be abating any time soon. Despite these challenges, middle school is also a time of tremendous growth and discovery. Adolescents are developing critical thinking skills, empathy, and social awareness. Middle school is a chance for students to explore new interests, join clubs or sports teams, and form friendships that may end up lasting for decades.

If you’re a middle school teacher, we’d love to hear from you. Tell us about the challenges and rewards of making a difference in the lives of young students!

Sources & Links:

American Psychological Association – Middle school malaise

CDC – Young Teens (12-14 years of age)

A Comparison of Program Development at Elementary, Middle, and High Schools in the National Network of Partnership Schools Mavis G. Sanders and Beth S. Simon

Harvard Ed. Magazine – Do Middle Schools Make Sense? by Mary Tamer

How the Junior High School Came To Be

New York State School Boards Association – What the research says about K-8 schools vs. separate elementary and middle schools By Paul Heiser

Science Direct – How does grade configuration impact student achievement in elementary and middle school grades? by Kai Hong, Ron Zimmer, John Engberg

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