Developmental Overview

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All middle school students are at different developmental stages--some students have matured significantly, while others still have a long way to go. Hunt, Wiseman, and Bowden conclude that, in looking at attitudes and behaviors, some middle schoolers are “childlike,” while others are “deeply involved in the complex lifestyle characteristics of teenagers (1998, p. 57). They also establish that middle school students are in a time of “significant transition,” a time that some struggle with, while others thrive on this change. (Hunt, Wiseman, & Bowden, 1998, p. 60-61). The middle school age group is typically distinguished as children and teens ages 10 to 14. This age range was not distinguished until the 1980s (Hunt, Wiseman, & Bowden, 1998, p. 58), which coincides with further development in the middle school (in comparison to junior high school). These students are in a stage coined by Donald Eichhorn called “transesence” (Manning & Bucher, 2012, p. 5). In general, students in “transesence” share seven developmental tasks that were identified by Thornburg (Hunt, Wiseman, & Bowden, 1998, p. 58-59): They are becoming aware of physical changes rapidly taking place. They are able to organize thoughts with improved problem-solving. They are learning about new social and sexual roles. They are beginning to identify themselves with existing stereotypes. They are beginning to develop important friendships among peers. They are gaining a sense of individual independence. Their development of morals and values is maturing. Because of this complex range of developmental levels, middle school teachers must have an understanding of what middle level students are like, as well as how they can approach the challenge of teacher a whole ... ... middle of paper ... ...012). Teaching in the middle school (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. National Center for Health Statistics & National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (2000). 2 to 20 years: Boys stature weight-for-age percentiles [Graph]. Retrieved from National Center for Health Statistics & National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (2000). 2 to 20 years: Girls stature weight-for-age percentiles [Graph]. Retrieved from Shaffer, D. R. & Kipp, K. (2007). Developmental psychology: Childhood and adolescence (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth. Wolman, B.B. (1998). Adolescence: Biological and psychosocial perspectives. West Port, CT: Greenwood Press. Woolfolk, A. (2010). Educational psychology (11th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.
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