Monday, September 28, 2015

Middle School Philosophy

It has been a long while since I was in my fundamentals of Education classes. That being said my class on Middle School Philosophy solidified me wanting to be in the middle school environment. Something about it resonated well with my personal philosophy of being. Somewhat a stoic. I am of the opinion that we are basically the same people we were in middle school. Who we were to become took root there and we react and act basically the same as we did then.

I personally do not remember much of my time in school. I have blocked out large chucks and that is just a time I do not recall. Middle school is no exception to that. I shared a locker. I think with Ed. It was by the door. It was a orange red color. I was on the A team in sixth grade. Not very inventive team names back in 1979. I had Ms. Cole and Ms. Beasley, I remember them more because I would teach with them when I joined Sequoyah.

Some things that drew me to middle school. The team concept. A holistic approach to sharing students. Small groups moving together, forming bonds or at least cohesion. Open classrooms. Not classrooms without walls but fluid classes. The ability to gather in common areas in the building. Walls that moved. Class outside, just because on a nice day. No worry or focus on grades or testing. Everyone does what they can. No fear or punishment for failure. Helping to step and not getting knocked down, success. In college we learned the brain of people of middle school age is growing and developing in such a way that really nothing that is taught is retained. I would have to find the studies but that is they way it is. Everyone gets to participate. There is no exclusion. If you want to play basketball there is space on multiple teams. There is not any competition. Yes, still there was the last one picked, the only reason I was on the winning sixth grade basketball team. Middle school was an adventure. It departed from the junior high school model on many levels.

I think the middle school model lost favor for a while. People stopped seeing it as a viable method of teaching and organization. We moved away from many of the core values of the philosophy. At my school the common areas were filled in and walls put around them for classrooms. The movable walls were torn out and permanent walls put up. Competition seemed more important in cohesion then the growth of the individual.

With technology I am seeing a resurgence in the middle school philosophy. One on one learning with time devoted by the teacher. Small group work in interactive settings. Divergent work not particularly dictated by a chapter in a book or a set time. Freedom to learn and explore independently.

I am interested is hearing what you all think about the middle school philosophy and technology. How do you see the two coming together or diverging?

No comments: