While we think that we've known this all along, it's nice to see some recent science in support of a demanding, varied, and disciplined school environment for benefiting middle school-age boys . While we have our faults, we are trying very hard to deliver to our boys much of what this positive article says about teaching these students.
"When a country’s adolescents trail much of the world on measures of school achievement but are among the world leaders in violence, unwanted pregnancy, STDs, abortion, binge drinking, marijuana use, obesity, and unhappiness, it is time to admit that something is wrong with the way that country is raising its young people.
That country is the United States."
Ouch! Well, we're not going to stand for it here. First, however, more pithy quotes:
"Prefrontal development is stimulated by novelty and challenge, it is essential to expose students to demanding courses that push them intellectually."
"The brain region most important for self-control (prefrontal cortex), which is the foundation for critical 'noncognitive skills,' such as perseverance, determination, and the delay of gratification - a combination that some experts refer to as 'grit.' Studies have found that grit is more predictive of success in school and work than any other attribute, including intelligence or talent. If schools were to include activities that encourage prefrontal development, students would have additional strengths beyond those conveyed through conventional academic instruction.
These quotations come from New Foundations of Adolescent Learning, an education industry article adapted from Laurence Steinberg, professor of psychology at Temple University and author of Age of Opportunity: Lessons From the New Science of Adolescence (2014).