Establishing the Educational Relevance of Spiritual Development Through Critical Historiography
Chapter Two: Caring as Advocacy inthe Middle Grades
Chapter Two Caring as Advocacy in the Middle Grades IN the field of middle grades education, pedagogical emphasis has been on designing and implementing practices referred to as de- velopmentally appropriate for students between the ages of 10 and 15 years (e.g., Alexander, Williams, Compton, Hines, & Prescott, 1968). This emphasis is known as the middle grades concept. Among other recommendations, caring relationships that provide support and foster belonging are valued as developmentally re- sponsive. In the most prestigious literature on the middle grades reform efforts, caring is linked with the terminology of advocacy, as in, middle grades teachers advocate for their young adolescent students through a culture of caring (NMSA, 2010). In aligning specific practices with early adolescent develop- mental theory, much of the literature describes the characteristic developmental traits for the cognitive, social, emotional, psycho- logical, physical, and moral domains (e.g., Caskey & Anfara, 2007; Roeser, Eccles, & Sameroff, 2000; Van Hoose, Strahan, & L’Esperance, 2001). In the middle grades literature, the spiritual domain of human development is not referenced. An implication of this absence is that middle grades teachers and administrators are less prepared than they could be to holistically respond to the needs, interests, and abilities of young adolescents. Given the pri- macy of caring as a developmentally responsive practice with middle grades students, this absence of a central affective devel- opmental domain is striking. From a critical constructivist perspective, the omission suggests the relationship between power and knowledge construction within the field of middle grades edu- cation. Making the...
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