Middle School

"Of lofty ambitions, of sun kissed dreams and of profound emotions nestling in a heart that is tangling, unsettling and upsetting and ruled by a head cluttered, bemused and puzzled, is the adolescent,” is the oft heard quote on teenagers. Rightly said, due to the immense physical, emotional and psychological changes children between 11-16 years go through, meshed with the expanding knowledge and increased cognitive capacities, adolescents do in fact go through an overwhelming phase of transition! And hence, schooling at this stage must be carefully planned and handled so as not to topple the already fragile and tender stage they are in.

  1. Teacher training: Students are now more focussed cognitively- i.e., they have improved attention, better memory, greater language development and processing, capable of abstract thinking and even metacognition. Thus, there is deeper and faster grasping and application of knowledge. Hence, with greater autonomy in psychological abilities, children are given assignments and projects with much lesser guidelines with more thrust on research. This further helps them sharpen their time management skills, presentation as well as organisation skills. More number of subjects, be it in the sphere of social sciences, sciences or even arts, are introduced in extended depth. Teachers therefore are trained on delivering specific subject matter and appropriate teaching methodologies and assessments. Constant training on concurrent research of a particular subject is also given apart from regular in house training and professional workshops
  2. Technology: Largely, technology is used to assist students’ work, i.e., the use of laptop, desktop and internet is limited to presentations rather than using them to ‘understand’ and ‘interpret’ concepts as is the case in the primary and pre-primary. In tune with the changing times, we do recognize that students are already well familiar with the use of technology and the internet, hence, ICT becomes a huge reference and research base for their projects and school/ class work. Due to the ease with which technology functions, children are also able to manage their time better, creating more space and scope for learning. Further, with teacher guidance, they are also able to extend their learning virtually in the absence of adequate practical/ hands on learning. We also introduce the idea of ‘student- interfacing’ in that, children across the nation and the world are able to interact with each other, helping them build, reorient and reorganize their ideas and perceptions, aiding them in global exposure.
  3. Global Exposure: As in the primary, students are shown documentaries/ films, they discuss articles, current affairs of the world and the nation. They are encouraged to debate, share their ideas on various topics such as cultural differences, religious similarities, United Nations, laws of the universe and many such intriguing and essential subjects, all of which reiterate that we, as people, need to ‘share the planet’ and its resources to be able to live in peace. However, since they are cognitively more receptive and mature, visits to village schools and organizing community tree planting sessions amongst other activities are scheduled so that they can apply the knowledge they gain through hands on work.
  4. Life Skills: While continuing with group work in both academic and non academic activities, we focus more on building their independence, responsibility and confidence. This is because, due to the sudden physiological and psychological changes and reorientation in them, we need to ensure that they are not still cocooned or rushed suddenly into being young adults. Children at this stage of life are not fully aware of the very many mental and physical changes that occur in them and hence very often they are caught in a state of confusion socially and emotionally. Thus, as teachers building life skills in middle school is focussed on accepting, celebrating and improving ‘self’ to equip them to deal with themselves as they advance into adolescence. The students will complete a ‘personal project’, to give a firsthand experience in developing research skills.
  5. Spirituality: Due to growing awareness and acquiring more information, children at this stage have many, sometimes unanswerable questions on God, morality, spirituality, subjectivity and much more. Here our task as teachers is defined- familiarize them with the difference between God and Spirituality. This may require discussing various religions, and their similarities, rather than differences as well as the need for community service. We also need to acknowledge the fact that we as adults will not have answers to many of their puzzling queries, but the emphasis must remain on ‘human goodness’ and its link with development of ‘self’ that is more important.
  6. Community service: Key to developing spirituality is community service. As they grow, they need to nurture and foster in themselves human values and civic responsibility which again help in building the ‘self.’ It is also essential to introduce to them the heightened need for ‘volunteering’ themselves for a social need/ activity. Participating in marathons, attaching oneself to charitable organizations, visit to a hospital or even being with the blind will help them move closer to reality and recognize the human chasm that exists in all walks of life and which needs to be bridged.