Middle school can be rough. It’s a weird, in-between, awkward time for most pre-teens, and it also lays the framework for how well a student will progress academically in high school. Educators have given the early and upper grades increased attention, but not much is known about how to motivate students in the unique set of circumstances that is middle school. Education Week reporter Kathleen Kennedy Manzo takes an in-depth look at that particular issue in this article. Here’s an excerpt:
More than a decade after a prominent group of middle-grades reformers set out to infuse higher academic standards into what critics deemed the touchy-feely world of middle schools, many teachers are still grappling with ways to motivate students to excel intellectually while helping them adapt to the dramatic physical and emotional changes that come with puberty. That mix of rigor, relevance, and responsiveness, experts say, is crucial for guiding students, particularly those most at risk of dropping out, on the path to high school graduation and later success. Too many schools serving 6th through 9th graders, however, have yet to find the right prescription for keeping those youngsters engaged at a time when their growing curiosity, independence, and need for the acceptance of their peers may lead them to act out or zone out in school.
The article is all about motivating students, even when they don’t want to be motivated. Check it out.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Motivation Matters blog.