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Chapter 2. Development of Middle Level Learners. This chapter will approach young adolescent development from five broad perspectives:. Physical Development. Influences every other type of development that middle level students experience. Mismatched parts No such thing as “typical”

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chapter 2

Chapter 2

Development of Middle Level Learners

physical development
Physical Development
  • Influences every other type of development that middle level students experience

Mismatched parts

  • No such thing as “typical”
  • Mister potato head


  • Hair growth
  • Pimples
  • Taller
  • Heavier
  • Sexual Maturity
  • Poor decisions
  • Pregnancy
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Timing
  • Ages 10-13
  • Early bloomers
  • Late bloomers
physical development issues
Physical Development Issues
  • Middle level students need information on physical development
  • Physical changes affect behavior
  • Rapid Growth requires increased nutrition
  • Children at this age should not be stereotyped according to physical changes
  • Many related arts curricular areas require physical development to master skills involved
  • Many girls will experience the first signs of a menstrual period during the school day
  • Middle level students are restless and uncomfortable much of the time
  • Sitting for long periods of time is likely to have negative effects on young bodies and on mental processing
  • Most very concerned about appearance and constantly looking in the mirror
  • Overactive glands may cause difficulties
intellectual development
Intellectual Development
  • Transitional state between child-like thinking and adult-like thinking
  • More from concrete thinking to abstract thinking


  • Movement from concrete (age 10-14) to abstract thinking (ages 11-17)
  • Is idiosyncratic-happens at different rates and stages for all of us.
intellectual development issues
Intellectual Development Issues
  • The attention span may not be as great as it was in late elementary school or will be in high school.
  • Middle level students often have very vivid imaginations which can be linked to concepts as abstract thinking develops.
  • Because intellectual development is so variable among middle school students, a group of 25 seventh graders may represent a whole spectrum of levels of development.
  • As the shift from concrete to abstract thinking is ongoing, we may lose opportunities to challenge middle level students
  • Physical development and intellectual development happen concurrently
  • A major shift in the intellectual development of middle level students is their newly acquired ability to think about their own thinking-metacognition.
  • Begin to understand what is meaningful and useful, with application to their lives.
emotional development
Emotional Development
  • Emotional intelligence determines about 80% of a person’s success on life (Goldman, 1995)
  • Much research has revealed that young adolescents tend to be easily offended, erratic, restless, and self-conscious.


  • Interrelated with both physical and intellectual development


  • Middle grade students worry about everything
emotional development issues
Emotional Development Issues
  • Because emotions occur suddenly and without warning, self-regulation is very difficult.
  • Emotional variability places young adolescents at high risk of making decisions that may have negative impact (Milgram, 1992)
  • There will be incidents and events that will trigger emotions to the point of disruption of the learning process.
social development
Social Development

It has been suggested that the paramount reason young adolescents come to school is not for the education we offer but because school is where the other kids are. In my years of being a teacher and researcher with ten to fourteen year-olds, I have come to recognize that both goals-companionship and learning-are powerful, complementary motivators.

(Stevenson, 1992)


Adult Relationships

  • Young adolescents find themselves caught between their desire to be safe and secure and their desire for freedom and independence.

Peer and Group Relationships

  • Where do I fit in?
  • Peer pressure
  • Who is my best friend?
social development issues
Social Development Issues
  • Young adolescents have a very strong need to be part of a social group.
  • There are young adolescents who feel like targets
  • Young adolescence is a prime time for shyness, given the self-consciousness of the age
  • Teachers’ social backgrounds may be different from their students’
character development
Character Development

Young Adolescents Character Traits

  • are concerned about fairness
  • ask unanswerable questions
  • need support, but seldom ask for it

School Programs

  • Trustworthiness
  • Respect for others
  • Responsibility
  • Fairness
  • Caring
  • Citizenship
necessary attributes for character growth
Necessary Attributes for Character Growth


  • Self-discovery
  • Self-management
  • Delayed Gratification
  • Courage
  • Honesty


  • Empathy
  • Altruism
  • Problem Solving
  • Tolerance
  • Social Deftness
character development issues
Character Development Issues
  • Some students grow up in homes with a very strict moral code while others live in homes where there are few moral guidelines or restrictions.

2. Students are continually faced with contradictions concerning character.

3. Middle grades students are especially vulnerable to falling into the “wrong crowd”.