10 July 2008 09:38 AM

Middle Schoolers Continued...

by Dr. Rick
Middle schoolers may do their homework while mom or dad is supervising, but they won’t turn it in the next day. Check your kid’s backpack periodically. You’ll be amazed at what’s in there. They may read the assignments, do the projects, even learn the material, but dang if they’ll participate in class or let others know they’ve learned the material, let alone enjoyed it.

It’s not difficult to argue that we live in a time when intelligence and learning are not especially valued. No such movie as Smart and Smarter, is there? Some of our top politicians, looking for preadolescent votes presumably, actually brag about their mediocre grades in school or “lost youth,” as if that’s a badge of honor.

Put these students with the secret motivations together, these “gifted” kids who like to learn, and watch what happens. Magic. They feed off each other, challenge each other, stretch each other. They don’t have to spend energy putting on an act of eye-rolling ennui.

And if they’re with a teacher who knows how to handle their inquisitiveness, who isn’t intimidated by students who may be quicker than she is, the magic becomes a miracle. And don’t think the other kids won’t notice. It’s not too much to hope that it eventually becomes acceptable, if not actually “cool,” to be in the smart group. If we know anything about adolescents, it’s that they want to “belong.”

Tomorrow, I’ll wrap up my thoughts on middle schoolers…




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