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Teachers Answer: Are Middle and High Schoolers That Different?

Teachers Answer: Are Middle School and High School Students Really That Different?

Are middle school students and high school students all that different?

Ariel Sacks, teacher, spearheaded a discussion with middle school and high school teachers all across the nation asking them to answer this question on her blog on the Center for Teaching Quality website. Sacks will be transitioning from a middle school teacher to an 8th grade and 9th grade English teacher. 

"I know that one year makes a big difference in the life of an adolescent," she wrires. "I also know the context of high school will influence my students’ expectations and experience in a way that will be new for me. In order to learn more, I called on my colleagues--new and old, virtual and face-to-face--who have experience teaching at both levels to share their observations. The result is a fascinating collection of insights that paints a valuable portrait of two faces of adolescence and what it’s like to teach them."

One teacher, Nancy Flanagan from Michigan, said that at their core, middle and high school kids are much the same. 

“I think there's less difference than you might expect--especially if you targeted your instruction in middle school toward the idea that 7th and 8th graders were young adults, capable of (even relishing) intellectual challenges," she said. "I see [middle school] and [high school] as two ends of a spectrum of kids pushing at boundaries, wanting very much to be considered unique, independent human beings.”

Some teachers, however, believe that there are some key differences between high school and middle school students. Bill Ivey, teacher in Massachusetts, believes that middle school students tend to be more anchored to their childhood, while high school students see their childhoods more of a thing of a past, and think more about their adulthoods.

"Middle school kids are developmentally all over the place, whereas by senior year high school kids find things tend to have more or less leveled back out again," he said. "Middle school kids tend to live more in the moment and wear their hearts more on their sleeves, but high school kids have the maturity to respond more fully and deeply to people who take the time to see through to who they are.”

Read the full story.

Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor

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