Saturday, February 20, 2010

Since the 1960's?

Does the concept of a middle school parallel what advocates of student-centered learning are promoting? Manning, & Bucher explain "In developing the middle school, educators wanted to avoid the mistakes of the junior high school. They wanted the middle school to be a learner-centered school that would meet young adolescents' developmental needs" (2008, p. 6). This is an example of student centered-learning that has been staring us in the face since the 1960s when the middle school concept was developed (Manning, & Bucher, 2008).

Here are some characteristics of the middle school concept:
-Teachers organized as interdisciplinary teams
-Students grouped within heterogeneous learning communities
-Cooperative instructional planning
-Team-based learning
-Nurturing and caring environment
-One adult advisor/mentor for every 25 or fewer students

Maybe we can look to the middle school concept that began in the 1960s as one tool to help us improve our schools and our instruction.

Manning, M. Lee, & Bucher, Katherine T. (2008). Teaching in the middle school. Allyn & Bacon.


  1. Hmmm. My daughter's in middle school and I don't see that any of the list above applies.

  2. April,

    I would even admit that my middle school is not always meeting each of those characteristics. I feel these are characteristics we should look to as an example for our instruction.