Adolescence &
Social Skills in Middle School

A discussion about middle school wouldn't be complete without addressing the topic of adolescence. During the middle school years students enter this phase of life at different times. A gigantic spectrum of emotional and physical maturity levels among individual students emerges during these years. This dramatically impacts student learning in the classroom and interactions with peers throughout the campus.

References to adolescence are essential parts of many of our social skills lessons. A pervasive feeling of acceptance needs to be included in all the instruction. The "brainstorm" exercise that begins most of the teachings sets the tone of openness to ideas and defines a non-judgmental atmosphere in which it is safe to make mistakes.

Adolescence presents many challenges for teachers, parents and the students themselves. The knowledge learned from lessons in social skills contributes to the students' self-esteem and abilities to maneuver through the gamete of situations they encounter.

Further discussion about adolescence and the part it plays in the acquisition of social skills occurs in our lesson on "Changes in Adolescence," centered around the short story "A Backwards Boy" in the 6th grade literature anthology. Readers may access this information from the upcoming directory.