Establishing the Educational Relevance of Spiritual Development Through Critical Historiography
Chapter Two: Caring as Advocacy in the Middle Grades
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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 developmentally 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 responsive. 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 developmental theory, much of the literature describes the characteristic developmental traits for the cognitive, social, emotional, psychological, 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 primacy of caring as a developmentally responsive practice with middle grades students, this absence of a central affective developmental domain is striking. From a critical constructivist perspective, the omission suggests the relationship between power and knowledge construction within the field...
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