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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Cheryl Faye Gordon
B EDUC 480
Bothell Campus

Life and Learning in the Middle School

Introduces three components of preparation to teach in a middle school: adolescent development, the structure of the middle school, and developmentally appropriate curriculum and instruction (designed specifically for middle schoolers). Recommend for students who are preparing to teach in a middle school or junior high.

Class description

This class will focus on the impact of relationships within the middle school context on adolescent learning. We will begin by thinking about adolescents as individuals and then move on to discuss the important relationships they develop in school. These include peer, teacher, and parent interactions. The quarter will culminate with a discussion of how middle schools meet the developmental needs of students and what we need do to ensure that every adolescent receives a high-quality education.

Student learning goals

1) Identify and articulate our own assumptions about adolescent learning and middle school teaching practice.

2) Understand how relationships among students, school staff, and family members interact and influence current middle school teaching practice.

3) Understand research on adolescent development.

4) Understand the reasoning behind past and current middle school reform efforts.

General method of instruction

This class will consist primarily of group discussions and activities. Mini-lectures will be provided to clarify course content. We will use the course readings to explore early adolescent development. The purpose of this exploration is to make more visible the relationship between the specific needs of young adolescents and middle school teaching practice.

Recommended preparation

Students will be expected to engage in a knowledgeable, respectful, and productive dialog with colleagues about early adolescent learning and middle school educational practice.

Class assignments and grading

There are three course assignments: 1) a short, 2-3 page response to how the readings from the previous week(s) help you think critically about the readings and class discussions; 2) a group project, which will involve a group presentation and paper; and 3) an interview with an early adolescent. The goal of the assignments is to help us engage in a knowledgeable and productive dialogue about early adolescent learning and middle school educational practice.

Grades are evenly divided by class participation and each of the three assignments. There will be a rubric for each assignment, which clearly outlines what is expected.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Cheryl Faye Gordon
Date: 02/20/2013