The transition to middle school is a high-stakes shift for many young teens. It comes at a time when they’re experiencing brisk cognitive growth as neural pathways associated with social connections and identity kick into high gear, making them more sensitive to how others perceive them and how, in turn, they interact with their peers. Indeed, belonging to a peer group is a deep-seated need—comparable to the need for food, according to some studies—just as kids arrive at their new middle schools. When that transition isn’t sufficiently supported by thoughtfully developed and consistent strategies that address kids’ anxieties and ease their fears about fitting in, the research shows that kids suffer both socially and academically, and their risk of dropping out only a few years later, when they reach high school, increases dramatically.
The good news is that other research shows that the impact of the disruption can be alleviated.
Read the full article on Edutopia website here.
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