On the Shoulders of Giants: Learning from the Legacy of Middle Level Education- Content and discussion Guide

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Information about On the Shoulders of Giants: Learning from the Legacy of Middle Level...

Published on March 15, 2014

Author: ncmsa

Source: slideshare.net


In the 1960’s, visionary leaders dreamed of schools that would provide a challenging academic program PLUS a developmentally responsive environment for young adolescents. Decades later, middle level schools and educators have an opportunity to stand on the shoulders of the courageous giants who paved the way for “the middle school movement.” In this session, participants will view contemporary videos of interviews with these visionary leaders, including their musings about the heritage of middle level education and their sage advice for its future.

A Partial Content and Discussion Guide for the Middle Level Legacy Video Series YouTube Video Link: http://www.amle.org/legacy Introduction to the Legacy Project 1. When is the Middle School Movement said to have begun? 2. Who is credited as the father of the Middle School Movement? 3. Where was the initial speech proposing a new school in the middle delivered? 4. What factors in the context of the 1960s contributed to the successful beginning of the middle school movement? Why was the environment right for change? Why did the message of the middle school movement resonate with educators in the 1960s? 5. How does the context of the 1960s compare to the context of today? 6. Joan Lipsitz says that in the 1960s early adolescence was a non-field. How has this changed and why is that significant? 7. In 1970, Charles Silberman characterized the American Junior high school as a “wasteland.” (Crisis in the Classroom. New York: Random House.) Have American middle schools overcome this characterization? Explain. 8. How do we change the perspective of educators and the public to overcome deficit thinking about middle level students? 9. How did desegregation affect the prevalence of middle schools? 10. How would you characterize the belief system of the middle school movement? 11. In what ways was the Core Curriculum of the 1960s different from the Common Core Standards of the 2010s? 12. How did middle school movement develop its collective identity? How is it developing its collective identity today? 13. What have been some significant publications advancing the ideals of education for young adolescents? The Middle School We Need (1975, ASCD working group), This We Believe (1982, 1995, 2003, 2010, NMSA), An Agenda for Excellence at the Middle Level (1985, NASSP); Turning Points: Preparing American Youth for the 21st Century (1989, 2000, Carnegie Corporation of New York) 14. What can we learn from the past of middle level education to inform its future? Ideology and Identity of Middle School Education (Nancy Doda and Joan Lipsitz featured) 1. Name the five individuals generally credited to be the founders of the middle school movement. 2. In what ways is the middle school movement a social movement? 3. How would you articulate the belief system of the middle school movement? 4. What is James Beane’s caution about elevating puberty to the level of an ideology?

5. What is progressive education? Is the middle school movement a progressive education movement? 6. How do we balance the busy “work” of education and the deliberate attention to our beliefs? 7. What is the danger in letting the public draw its own conclusions about the middle school? How can we influence the public perception of middle level schooling? 8. What does Joan Lipsitz offer as an approach to expanding our “reach” in middle level education? What mistake was made, in her view, and how might we correct that misstep today. Through 5:59 Components of the Middle School Philosophy (Nancy Doda, Joan Lipsitz, Gordon Vars, and Chris Stevenson featured) 1. What is the difference between interdisciplinary and integrated curriculum? 2. Why is specialized middle level teacher preparation and professional development important to the success of middle level schools and students? 3. Why was teaming initially appealing to middle level teachers and schools? How has teaming been successful? How and why has teaming fallen short in its implementation? 4. How has incremental implementation of middle level components affected its success? Through 6:02 Unique Needs of Young Adolescents 1. On what substantive point do most prominent middle level founders and leaders agree? 2. What is the title of Joan Lipsitz’s landmark publication? 3. According to Joan Lipsitz, what was a non-field prior to the mid-1970’s? 4. What has been the relationship between community demographics and implementation of the middle school movement? What about in my community? 5. What, according to Nancy Doda, are some of the greatest needs of our most vulnerable students? 6. What does Nancy Doda call for an incredible interruption? What does she mean? 7. In what ways is your middle school a “place of affiliation” for young adolescents and their families in your community? Through 7:20

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