There is a world of difference between seeing the promise in young adolescents and seeing them as problematic. Seeing the “promise” is at the center of What Every Middle School Teacher Should Know. From start to finish young adolescents are treated with dignity and respect, and their education is more an adventure worth having than a trial to be endured. - James A. Beane
Author of Democratic Schools, Second Edition
The first edition of What Every Middle School Teacher Should Know helped tens of thousands of preservice and inservice educators find new, energizing ways to think about their practice. Now Dave Brown and Trudy Knowles present a second edition with 40 percent new material that includes the latest research about middle schoolers' development, deep explorations of why true middle school structures strongly support young adolescents' learning, and ways to combine these findings to optimize students' in-school experiences.
What Every Middle School Teacher Should Know is a clear and comprehensive description of truly responsive middle school instruction. With the same teacher-friendly voice as in their first edition, Brown and Knowles provide what educators need to know to teach with skill and compassion, including information on:
the physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and identity-based development of students between the ages of 10 - 15
ways to design curriculum with students to engage them in thinking deeply about their learning and their world
explicit methods for creating the learning experiences and classroom environments that help young adolescents learn best
ideas for using assessment, including self-assessment, to encourage learning rather than merely measure it
the implications of high-stakes testing on curriculum and instruction
significant, recent research that supports the vital middle-level practices of advisory programs, teaming, flexible scheduling, exploratory experiences, looping, and student-led conferences.
Ever practical, Brown and Knowles once again present powerful a resource for middle-level teachers that is grounded in the voices of students as well as in current research. They also offer in-depth commentary from teachers whose classrooms exemplify the integrated, progressive, mindful approach that What Every Middle School Teacher Should Know advocates.
Adolescence is a time of exciting, challenging adjustments for students, and it can be just as exciting for their teachers. With What Every Middle School Teacher Should Know any teacher can meet curricular demands while creating meaningful learning experiences that place students at the center of their own learning.
"Teaching middle schoolers is not an easy trip, but the ride is exhilarating," attest Trudy Knowles and Dave Brown as they begin their introductory book on teaching young adolescents. Associate professors, at Westfield State College (MA) and West Chester University (PA) respectively, they recognize a mandate in the Carnegie Council's Turning Points (1989) which focused on responding to the developmental needs of young adolescents. What Every Middle School Teacher Should Know includes a survey of middle school education, and discusses collaboration, curriculum, active learning, structures, and advocacy—all addressing the multi-faceted development of the student. Quotations and poems interspersed in the text reveal poignant student and teacher viewpoints. One student assures us that "middle school is very complicated." Another likens school groups to cows herded about. A teacher says, "Planning with students is the most challenging and most exciting thing I do." We are reminded that attentive teachers can learn a lot from their young students, whose often-shifting perceptions can determine their reality. Like J.A. Beane in A Middle School Curriculum: From Rhetoric to Reality (1993), the authors would design curriculum around the lives of their students, who are "simultaneously at-risk and gifted." Student-generated questions and concerns would become the curriculum. Even in the majority of cases where specific mandates are in place, Knowles and Brown believe that student interests can be integrated into traditional topics. Educators are urged to "establish teams, collaborate with students on curriculum and instruction, institute flexible schedules, and, in effect, createsuccessful middle schools." End-of-chapter references and an index complete this appeal to teachers to be agents of change. This volume will be an asset in a professional collection. It will inspire and/or frustrate teachers already in the trenches and undoubtedly spark animated discussion about middle school education and student involvement in curriculum. KLIATT Codes: Adult 2000, Heinemann, 176p. illus. bibliogs. index. 24cm. 00-039657., $16.00. adult Reviewer: Maureen K. Griffin; Teacher & Libn., Williams M.S., Chelsea, MA Social , July 2001 (Vol. 35, No. 4)
A former teacher and coach at the middle and high school levels, Dave Brown is coathor of What Every Middle School Teacher Should Know, Second Edition (Heinemann, 2007) and the author of Becoming a Successful Urban Teacher (Heinemann, 2002). He is a former middle school teacher with years of experience teaching and coaching sixth through eighth graders. He regularly conducts research with middle-level teachers and young adolescents as a professor at West Chester University of Pennsylvania and provides in-service sessions nationally on young-adolescent development, appropriate middle-level design, and culturally responsive teaching.
Trudy Knowles is the coauthor of What Every Middle School Teacher Should Know, Second Edition (Heinemann, 2007) and the author of The Kids Behind the Label: An Inside Look at ADHD for Classroom Teachers (Heinemann, 2006). She is a professor in the education department at Westfield State College in Westfield, Massachusetts and provides workshops throughout the country on ways to help all students become successful in school. Her research and writing focus on democratic teaching and ways to give students a voice in their own learning.