Academic journal article Middle School Journal

A View from the Middle

Academic journal article Middle School Journal

A View from the Middle

Article excerpt

Resolve to Learn in 2010

In October I attended the annual Middle Level Education Summit at Georgia College and State University. John Lounsbury presided over the closing session and introduced the featured speaker, Elizabeth Koller, executive director of Perspectives on Growth and Development. Ms. Koller's session, titled "The Science of Brain Chemistry and Youth Behavior," explained how the levels of five key brain chemicals, or neurotransmitters, influence certain human behaviors. As Dr. Lounsbury delivered the introduction, he told the audience that he had first heard Ms. Koller speak at a Georgia Middle School Association conference, and he described how he had been intrigued by the "cutting edge" ideas she had shared during her session. Dr. Lounsbury was visibly excited about what he had learned from Ms. Koller and what she was about to teach all of us, and as he spoke, I thought to myself, "This man never stops learning." Indeed, after 50-plus years as a scholar in the field of middle grades education, John Lounsbury continues to be the quintessential example of a lifelong learner.

We all have much to learn about our profession-about the subject matter we teach and the ways we teach it, about the students and families we serve and the communities they call home, about the political and cultural conditions that influence our work. Each school year, teachers implement new and improved instructional strategies, researchers offer fresh insights into teaching and learning, and school administrators find better ways to restructure schools and use data. Those who actively work to promote excellent education for young adolescents are members of a worldwide middle grades movement that undergoes continuous renewal and is built on a base of knowledge and expertise that grows every school day. This knowledge base encompasses developmental and cognitive psychology, school leadership, curriculum and instruction, educational philosophy, and many other disciplines and areas of inquiry.

All educators have a professional duty to be current and knowledgeable in their fields. Too often, professional "learning" is relegated to one-day teacher in-service programs or district-wide staff development activities. …

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