Teaching Young Adolescents: A Guide to Methods and Resources for Middle School Teaching / Edition 5

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Everything future teachers of young adolescents need to know is here–covered thoroughly, and presented in a down-to-earth manner that emphasizes the practical as well as the theoretical.. These authors encourage future teachers to take an eclectic approach to teaching, one that actively engages the adolescent in his or her own learning and gives every student an equal chance to participate, learn, grow, and succeed. A wealth of examples and exercises model the book's tenets; while the authors' keen understanding of their subject keeps content to-the-point. Coverage includes the characteristics of young adolescents, planning for their instruction, implementing instruction, and assessing their learning. For professionals in the field of teaching.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780131996175
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 1/17/2007
  • Series: Pearson Custom Education Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 10.60 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Teaching Young Adolescents: Recognizing and Understanding the Challenge

Chapter 2 Professional Responsibilities of Teachers of Young Adolescents

Chapter 3 Thinking and Questioning: Skills for Meaningful Learning

Chapter 4 The Learning Environment: Planning and Managing the Classroom

Chapter 5 The Curriculum

Chapter 6 Preparing an Instructional Plan

Chapter 7 Assessing and Reporting Student Achievement

Chapter 8 Organizing and Guiding Student Learning: Alone and in Groups

Chapter 9 Additional Strategies and Strategy Integration

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Welcome to the fourth edition of Teaching Young Adolescents: A Guide to Methods and Resources. The primary purpose of this textbook is to provide a practical, concise, criterion-referenced, performance-based, mastery learning model for college and university students who are in a methods course or in the field component of teacher education, learning how to teach young adolescent students regardless of where or how those students are housed or of the cognomen of the school in which they are housed. The term young adolescents refers to children ranging in age from 9 to 14 who are in the traditional middle level grades of 5 through 8.

Others who will find the guide useful are experienced teachers who want to continue developing their teaching skills, and curriculum specialists and school administrators who want a current, practical, and concise text of methods, guidelines, and resources for teaching young adolescents.


Exemplary middle level programs are those that are rooted in celebrating and building upon the diverse characteristics and needs of young adolescents. To become and to remain exemplary, teachers in such programs must be in a continual mode of inquiry, reflection, and change. It is no different for us as the authors of this book. In a continuing effort to prepare a comprehensive and exemplary book that focuses on teaching young adolescents, we are in a continual mode of inquiry into the latest findings in research and practice, in constant reflection as we listen to and assess the comments from practitioners in the field and from users and reviewers of the book, and in steady change as weprepared each edition.

Changes for this fourth edition were substantial as we continue with our focus to respond to the challenge of providing a comprehensive and concise coverage of methods and resources for teaching young adolescents in the classroom, regardless of whether that classroom is housed, for example, in a middle school or in a K-8 elementary school. That focus resulted in this book's new title. Other changes include:

  • We revisited and rewrote the entire book to assure a strong and consistent focus and the most current research base possible on teaching the young adolescent learner.
  • Although separated in this book for reasons of organizational clarity, the component on planning the classroom learning environment is an integral and ongoing component of planning and implementing curriculum and instruction. The former section about establishing a supportive classroom learning environment, now titled "Planning the Classroom Learning Environment," has been moved from Part I to Part II where it is the first of three chapters about "Planning for Instruction," the title of Part II. The other two chapters in Part II are "Curriculum Planning" and "Preparing an Instructional Plan."
  • Part III underwent organizational and content changes and now includes four rather than the previous three chapters.
  • Despite the blue-ribbon commissions, authors, and politicians who vilify what they perceive as the failures of middle level school education in particular and public school education in general, thousands of committed teachers, administrators, parents, guardians, and community representatives struggle daily, year after year, to provide young adolescents with a quality education. So that readers can learn about or visit exemplary middle level programs, many are recognized and identified by name throughout this text.

Other changes made for this edition are mentioned in the paragraphs that follow.


In preparing this book, we saw our task not as making the teaching job easier for you—effective teaching is never easy—but as improving your teaching effectiveness and providing relevant guidelines and current resources. You may choose from these resources and build upon what works best for you. Nobody can tell you what will work with your students; you will know them best. We do share what we believe to be the best of middle level practice, the most useful of recent research findings, and the richest of experiences. Although both of us are former middle level classroom teachers who now work with other middle level teachers, preparing this new edition presented us with an opportunity to reflect, reexamine, and share our own beliefs about working with young adolescents in the classroom. The boldface italic statements present our beliefs and explain how they are embraced in this resource guide.

The best learning occurs when the learner actively participates in the process, which includes having ownership in both the process and the product of the learning. Consequently, this book is designed to engage you in hands-on and minds-on learning about effective teaching of young adolescents in the classroom. For example, rather than simply reading a chapter devoted to the important topic of cooperative learning, in each chapter you will become involved in cooperative and collaborative learning. In essence, via the exercises found in every chapter, you will practice cooperative learning, talk about it, practice it some more, and finally, through the process of doing it, learn a great deal about it. This book involves you in cooperative learning.

The best strategies for learning about teaching young adolescents in the classroom are those that model those very strategies. As you will learn, integrated learning is the cornerstone of the most effective teaching of young adolescents, and that is a premise upon which this resource guide is designed.

To be most effective today a teacher must use an eclectic style in teaching. Rather than focusing your attention on particular models of teaching, we emphasize the importance of an eclectic model—that is, one in which you select and integrate the best from various instructional approaches. For example, sometimes you will want to use a direct, expository approach, perhaps through a minilecture; more often you will want to use an indirect, social-interactive, or student-centered approach, perhaps through project based learning. This book not only provides guidelines to help you decide which approach to use at a particular time but also develops your skill in using specific approaches. Equally important, you will learn of the importance of being able to combine both direct and indirect approaches, of using what we refer to as multilevel instruction.

Learning should be active, pleasant, fun, meaningful, and productive. Our desire is to present this resource guide in an enthusiastic, positive, and cognitive-humanistic way, in part by providing rich experiences in social-interactive learning. How this is done is perhaps best exemplified by the active learning exercises found throughout the book and on the Companion Website. Exercises were developed to ensure that you become an active participant in learning the methods and procedures that are most appropriate in facilitating learning by active, responsive young adolescents.

Teaching skills can be learned. In medicine, certain knowledge and skills must be learned and developed before the student physician is licensed to practice with patients. In law, certain knowledge and skills must be learned and developed before the law student is licensed to practice with clients. So it is in teacher preparation: knowledge and skills must be learned and developed before the teacher candidate is licensed to practice the art and science of teaching young people. We would never allow an untrained person to treat our child's illness or to defend us in a legal case: the professional education of teachers is no less important! Receiving a professional education on how to teach young people is absolutely necessary, and certain aspects of that education must precede any interaction with students if teachers are to become truly competent professionals.


Competent teaching of young adolescents in the classroom is a kaleidoscopic, multifaceted, eclectic process. When preparing and writing a book for use in teacher preparation, by necessity one must separate that kaleidoscopic process into separate parts, which is not always possible to do in a way that makes the most sense to everyone using the book. This overview explains how we have done it.

We believe that there are developmental components involved in becoming a competent teacher. This book is organized around four developmental components: why—the rationale to support the components that follow; what—the content, processes, and skills you will be helping young adolescent students learn; how—how you will do it; and how well&3151;how well you are doing it. These are represented by the four parts of the book. Each part is introduced with the goals of the chapters that follow and with reflective thoughts relevant to topics addressed in its chapters.

Each chapter begins with a brief introduction to that chapter followed by its major learning targets or objectives.

Throughout, we provide information that is useful for the teacher as a decision maker. You will find exercises to practice handling concepts in ways that facilitate metacognitive thinking. All exercises require you to deal in some descriptive, analytical, or self-reflective manner with text concepts and actual practice. Most of the exercises here in the text and on the Companion Website are adaptable for cooperative/collaborative group processing.

Part I: Introduction to Middle Level Teaching and Learning

The three chapters of Part I reflect the why component, the reality and challenge of teaching young adolescents today.

Chapter 1 presents an overview of that reality and challenge. Chapter 2 focuses on the unique and varied characteristics and developmentally appropriate ways of working with young adolescents in the classroom. Regardless of their individual differences, every student must have an equal opportunity to participate and learn in the classroom. Beginning with the first chapter, this belief is reflected throughout this book—sometimes in a very direct fashion and other times indirectly. This attention and overall sensitivity to diversity is intended to model not only our belief but also how to be inclusive to people of diverse backgrounds in many ways.

Chapter 3 reflects the expectations, responsibilities, and behaviors that are characteristic of competent middle level teachers.

Part II: Planning for Instruction

Effective teaching is performance based and criterion referenced. This book is constructed in this manner. Because we believe that teaching, indeed living, must allow for serendipity, encourage the intuitive, and foster the most creative aspects of one's thinking, we cannot always be specific about what students will learn as a result of our instruction. Hence, the occasional ambiguity must be expected. The three chapters in Part II reflect the planning, or what, component.

To teach young adolescents most effectively, you must recognize, appreciate, and understand them and be able to establish and maintain a safe and supportive classroom learning environment. Guidelines for accomplishing that are presented in Chapter 4.

Chapter 5 provides a focus on the curriculum and the programs that make it up, and on the rationale for planning and selecting the content of the curriculum; provides information about the national, state, and 1ocal documents that include benchmarks for learning and that guide content selection; and describes preparing goals and learning targets and using them to plan for and assess learning.

Chapter 6 deserves your time and attention as you use this book to move toward becoming a competent teacher of young adolescents. It presents detailed information and step-by-step guidelines for integrating the students' learning, selecting developmentally appropriate learning activities, and preparing various types of instructional units with lessons.

Part III: Strategies, Aids, Media, and Resources for Effective Instruction

Although it is very difficult to predict what 9- to 14-yearolds of today will need to know to be productive citizens in the middle of this century, we believe they will always need to know how to learn, how to read, how to think productively, and how to communicate effectively and work together cooperatively. We believe that young adolescents need to acquire skills in how to gain knowledge and how to process information, and they need learning experiences that foster effective communication and productive, cooperative behaviors. We hope all children feel good about themselves, about others, and about their teachers, schools, and communities. We emphasize the importance of helping students develop those skills, feelings, and attitudes. Teachers of all grades and subjects share in the responsibility for teaching skills in reading, writing, thinking, working cooperatively, and communicating effectively. This responsibility is no less important for teachers of young adolescents and is reflected clearly throughout this resource guide.

The appropriate teaching methods for reaching these goals incorporate thoughtful planning, acceptance of the uniqueness of each individual, honesty, trust, sharing, risking, collaboration, communication, and cooperation. Furthermore, we believe that students learn these skills and values best from teachers who model the same. Our book continues to be faithful to that hope and to that end.

Part III, the how component, is presented in four chapters. Chapter 7 focuses your attention on one significantly important teaching and learning strategy—questioning.

Chapter 8 presents guidelines for grouping students; using project-centered teaching, assignments, and homework; ensuring classroom equity; and writing across the curriculum. To help you learn how you can practically and effectively individualize the learning for every student, we added an exercise that clearly leads you through the development of your first self-instructional module. Chapter 8 ends with a section you may find useful for years to come—a popular and updated annotated listing of 100 motivational strategies and ideas for lessons, interdisciplinary teaching, transcultural studies, and student projects, followed by an extended listing of Internet sites for teaching ideas. This resource guide is intended to be useful to you not only while you are in phases of teacher preparation but well into your first several years as a teacher.

Chapter 9 presents guidelines for using formal and informal teacher talk; demonstrations; direct teaching of thinking, discovery, and inquiry; and educational games. Throughout the book, but especially in Part III, and with a focus in Chapter 10, you will find an emphasis on the importance of students using visual and technological tools to access information and to make sense of it.

Part IV: Assessment and Continuing Professional Development

In two chapters, Part IV addresses the fourth component of teaching and learning—how well the students are learning and how well the teacher is teaching. Although separated in this book for reasons of organizational clarity, the assessment component of teaching and learning is an integral and ongoing component of the total curriculum.

Chapter 11 focuses attention on the assessment of what students know or think they know before, during, and following the instructional experience. To complete your instructional planning (Chapter 6), you will necessarily be referring to the content of Chapter 11. Chapter 11 also provides practical guidelines for parent/guardian and teacher collaboration and for grading and reporting student achievement.

Chapter 12, the final chapter, focuses on how well you are doing—the assessment of teaching effectiveness. In addition, it provides guidelines that you will find useful during your student teaching, and for finding a teaching position and for continued professional growth. These guidelines and this book will be useful for you as a reference for years beyond a methods course.


To achieve professional competency, you need guided learning, guided practice, productive feedback, encouragement, opportunity for intelligent reflection, and positive reinforcement. To provide you with the resources and encouragement to make you an effective and confident teacher, this book is organized with the following features.

  • A strong, current, and broad research base. This is evidenced by the footnotes throughout the text, which for this edition are arranged at the bottom of text pages for your immediate reference and clarification.
  • Advance organizers. The four parts, the goals and reflective thoughts at the beginning of each part, and the objectives found at the beginning of each chapter serve as advance organizers; that is, they establish a mind-set.
  • Exercises for active learning. Found throughout are exercises we believe are fundamental to your learning. All exercises require you to deal in some descriptive, analytical, or self-reflective manner with text concepts and actual practice. Each is designed to encourage continual assessment of and reflection on your progress in building your competencies and skills for teaching, and involve you in collaborative and cooperative learning. It is unlikely that all exercises in this book and those on the Companion Website could be (or should be) completed in a one-semester course. Since some exercises necessitate a school visit, review the exercises early so you can plan your visits and work schedule. In fact, because certain exercises build upon previous ones or suggest that help be obtained from teachers in the field, we advise that all exercises be reviewed at the outset of your course.
  • Perforated pages. Pages of the book are perforated for easy removal of the exercises. Exercises and some forms that are likely to be removed begin on separate pages so they can be removed without disturbing text.
  • Performance assessment. Assessment of your developing competencies is encouraged by three micro peer teaching exercises found in Chapters 7 (Exercise 7.7), 9 (Exercise 9.1), and 12 (Exercise 12.2).
  • Situational case studies, teaching vignettes, and questions for class discussion. For extended class discussions, situational case studies—some new to this edition—are presented in Chapter 4. Teaching vignettes are distributed throughout. Questions for Class Discussion appear at the end of each chapter.
  • Outstanding practices and exemplary programs. To let you gain further insight or to visit exemplary programs, schools recognized as having exemplary programs are identified throughout the text.
  • Internet resources. In relevant locations throughout the book, you will find current lists of Internet sites and Internet references that we can recommend.
  • Suggested readings. At the conclusion of each chapter are additional sources, both current and classic, to deepen and broaden your understanding of particular topics.
  • Glossary and index. The text concludes with a glossary of terms, a name index, and a subject index.


The Companion Website contains additional information for students and instructors to use in an on-line environment. For more information on what the Companion Website provides, please see the "Discover the Companion Website Accompanying This Book" section following the preface.

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