National Middle School Association. 4151 Executive Parkway Suite 300, Westerville, OH 43081. Tel: 800-528-6672; Tel: 800-528-6672; Fax: 614-895-4750; e-mail: email@example.com; Web site: http://www.nmsa.org/Publications/MiddleSchoolJournal/tabid/435/Default.aspx
Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Teachers in middle level schools face overwhelming demands and challenges in their classrooms. They are expected to know content and pedagogy, develop engaging lessons that meet the needs of diverse learners, and use a variety of instructional strategies that will boost student achievement while they simultaneously develop positive relationships with, on average, 125 students each day who are experiencing the personal, social, and cognitive challenges and opportunities of early adolescence. Teaching is complex and cannot be reduced to discrete tasks that can be mastered one at a time. Teachers must "win their students' hearts while getting inside their students' heads." This perspective is supported by research suggesting that teachers who develop such relationships experience fewer classroom behavior problems and better academic performance. How can teachers engage students through enhanced personal interactions while simultaneously managing classroom climate and instruction? This article suggests specific strategies that integrate knowledge and skills from education, counseling, and psychotherapy to help teachers develop a strong management system based on the development of personal relationships with students. These techniques are specifically adapted for use by teachers and more clearly delineate the nature of developing relationships and deepening them for the purpose of making education more effective.