Linking Current Brain Research and Best Practices at Journeys Middle School
Throughout the semester, middle school students have been engaging in leadership activities to explore various aspects of human behavior and group dynamics. As a unified middle school, students explored the concepts of locus of control, perception and attitudes, tragedy of the commons, and the nuances between teasing and bullying. As a teacher, I was consistently intrigued by varying viewpoints from students and the lens through which they see the world. The creative problem-solving generated from exploring “tragedy of the commons” or grappling with the issues surrounding cognitive dissonance, provide a framework for understanding questions about adolescent human behavior.
Simultaneously, the middle school team has been able to incorporate current brain research acknowledging the benefits of creating opportunities in a school day for single-sex groupings in a school setting (Educational Leadership, 2004). During this 5th block elective period, middle school girls have explored issues surrounding group dynamics, the roles individuals play in a group setting, and the evolution of a group. Likewise, middle school boys are engaged in an all-male PE class utilizing physical activity as a medium for growth, communication, and social development. These intentional groupings create an opportunity for unique learning that is relevant and engaging for both boys and girls.
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