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Treat Them As Young Adolescents

If growth happens under the best conditions, are the conditions in our middle schools the best they can be for growth? Or do we mortgage adolescent growth in America for false equivalencies based on academic traditions, not research?

Rereading my notes from a presentation at the Pennsylvania Middle Level Educators (PAMLE) conference from June of 2017, the statements by Dave Brown caught my attention.

  • Adolescents are more stressed between twelve and fourteen, naturally, than they ever will be again.

  • The traditional 45-50 class period that meets every day is too narrow--too pressurized--for an adolescent to grow. School may seem fast and efficient, but at what expense?

  • We traditionally make decisions in middle school based on the needs of "the next grade level, content-area level, or getting ready for high school."

The more we can redirect our decisions and structures around where middle school kids are at twelve and thirteen, the better chance they have to growth and maintain growth beyond the next level.


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