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The middle school transition and student self-esteem

1 December 1992


Self-esteem is understood to be an integral part of self-perception. Adolescence is recognized as a time of growth and change of an individual's self-perception and self-esteem. This qualitative study is based on the observations of one teacher's classes in a Northwest intermediate school. It attempts to study the effects of adolescence on self-esteem within the student's natural social and cultural context. Some of the changes of adolescence are considered, including the timing of the transition· to junior high school. This is more fully discussed in light of recent research promoting the middle school 6-7-8 grade plan in Oregon, as opposed to the junior high school 7-8-9 grade arrangement. Simmons and Blyth's arena of comfort theory is cited to interpret the individual's adaptation to the experience of adolescence. Interactions between the teacher and students, and family dysfunction are cited as other variables affecting adolescent selfe-steem.


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