Cultural Connect

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Middle School Students Caught in the Middle

It’s amazing how easy it is to forget about the middle school years. Do you remember your crazy middle school years? Middle school students are often caught in the middle while we focus on preparing high school students for college. There needs to be national attention focused on the middle school years to prepare them for the career challenges that face this country. I have noticed that even those who write books focus their efforts on elementary and high school students and leave middle school students out. If you ever attend a national book fair there are limited creative efforts to excite middle school students to read. Any parent who is raising a middle school student can tell you that they are in a different transition in their lives. Communicating with middle school students can be challenging if you are unwilling to admit that you are not perfect. Middle school students need parents and teachers who will let them know that they care.

There should be a national effort to help middle school students to explore all types of careers. The rapid changes technology careers that are happening around the world are still far away from the minds of middle school students in this country. Now is the time to make them a part of the green revolution in solar and wind energy. It would be great to see how these students could envision their future with solar powered cars and wind technology that reduces the cost of energy in each home. Some of the most innovative students are wasting away in middle school because they continue to be taught by traditional methods. Maybe every middle school class should be full of green experiments that allow the students to find themselves and to make a mark on society using their creative ideas.

So who should care about middle school students? Everyone should care including parents, corporations, our government, teachers and counselors. We all have an investment in making middle school more interesting. Students should have laptop computers and graphing calculators as a standard resource for learning. We need to demonstrate how we value the learning capacity of every student by giving them innovative projects. Why not let the middle school students create a city wide effort to save their city money. You would then witness how much creativity an influence they can have when they think about the future of their own city. We need to spend more time helping middle school students to believe that they are part of the solution.

There are thousands of middle schools teachers who need help too. The complexity of the 21st century middle school student can be challenging. Students who would rather text message than talk to each other makes for a different world. Middle school students
are multi-tasking just like high school students. They are talking on their cell phone, sending messages on their computer, talking to their friends and doing homework at the same time. It has made middle school an interesting place to try to keep students focused on learning. Middle school students have become accustomed to a fast paced day. It’s time to fill their lives with experiences that makes middle school a place to run too not from. Let’s take the middle school years as a tremendous opportunity to help students to encounter a whole new journey to their future.

For twenty-six years, Dr. Jones has delivered presentations on numerous topics including how to study, leadership, effective communication, and innovative management practices. His URL is

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