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The middle schooler's odyssey into critical thinking and self-development

1 December 1993


This qualitative study involved a five week observation of an eighth grade humanities class at a small private school in Portland, Oregon. Initially, I looked at the school's philosophy regarding education in the Middle School. The handbook claims that the Middle School faculty recognizes the myriad requirements of today's world. In addition, the curriculum and all areas of the program at GGA foster growth and rely on the student's inherent curiosity in encouraging them to learn about learning. The humanities class was a thematic based course which explored aspects of both Government and Language Arts. I investigated how the interdisciplinary humanities curriculum fostered student individuality, student development, and broadened understanding of significant intellectual ideas and social concepts. The research indicates that successful middle school programs maintain a distinct balance between developmen~al and academic activities. Research also points to the necessity of curricular integration in order to enhance students' inquisitive natures and challenge them to ask questions and synthesize information. Middle school programs should identify and teach to the distinct characteristics of the young adolescent. The end result will be the emergence of a life-long learner. The analysis explored the degree to which the Middle School program at Green Gable Academy adhered to research indications that middle school programs are crucial to the overall development of the early adolescent. The research and analysis illustrates that Green Gable Academy supports the developmental needs of the young adolescent and successfully caters curriculum and other academic activities to the needs of the middle years learner.


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