Middle School News

January 24, 2017

          Winter’s greetings from the Middle School!

This semester, as the students grow in their social awareness, we are enriching their education with a vital facet of language: debate. “Why is debate so important?” you may ask. For this age, debate is much more than just a new mental exercise. Debate provides adolescent youth with the confidence, sense of justice, and critical thinking skills that they will carry forth into society.

At age twelve, students enter into the third plane of development. Even loosely approaching this age, changes in interests, attitudes, and behavior may become quite apparent. And it is no wonder! The third plane of development brings with it as many physical and psychological transformations as infancy did.

Students approaching the third plane of development are not as eager to ask, “what…” as they are “why?” They become interested in “behind the scenes” knowledge, and may be curious about reasons more than simple facts. This heightens their awareness of social nuances, both in the public and private arena. Evidence of this awareness may come out as a change in extroversion/ introversion, social frustrations, or a greater need to please particular groups or people.

Debate can alleviate some of the stresses and tensions of adolescence. Students learn that they have a voice, and steadily get more confident in putting it “out there.” They also learn how to temper heated emotions when speaking. Factual, well organized ideas are positively reinforced in the debate forum.

Socially, debate teaches students how to listen, instead of just hear. Questions regarding social justice are addressed compassionately, and calmly. Opening the floor to this helps the students recognise themselves as part of society. All of this can strengthen the students’ sense of self through these complex years.

With respect and gratitude,
Miss Kat

“But, above all it is the education of adolescents that is important, because adolescence is the time when the child enters on the state of manhood and becomes a member of society.” (Maria Montessori, From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 60)

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