11 July 2008 09:29 AM

Middle Schoolers Continued...

by Dr. Rick
Someone once told me that the human brain grows faster in preadolescence – middle school – than at any other time, except for infancy. These kids’ brains are synapsing all over the place, forming new and avid interests quickly. That’s why they’re deeply interested in Harry Potter one week and guitar playing the next. Their minds are changing as fast as their bodies are. They’re actually supposed to be like that!

So if we know all this – that preadolescence is an ugly duckling time, that lots of kids like learning in middle school, that their brains are soaking up everything at a pace much faster than our poor adult brains can manage, that they do well when they’re challenged by kids with similar interests and abilities, that they require services appropriate to their needs – why don’t we do what we should for these kids?

Why don’t we spend the time and money on classes, teachers, materials, experiences, books, services and technology for them? Why don’t we train teachers in the best strategies and latest, most practical research in how to teach them? Why don’t we make these kids – without the embarrassment of fanfare and spotlights – the kind of role models we want other kids to emulate? Why don’t we work to spread the “potential of smart” to all kids?

Why don’t we hear politicians advocating for these kids with the same fervor they use for catching each other in “misstatements” that get played and replayed with annoying and rage-inducing repetition? Are you listening, Senators Clinton, Obama, and McCain?

Some educators say – I’ve heard them – that these kids will take care of themselves, that there are more pressing, at least more visible, problems to tackle. I’m not convinced. Neither are these kids.





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