Leveraging High Impact Pedagogies

This real world learning curriculum, delivered through career clusters, was selected for two important reasons: to meet the unique needs of young adolescents, and to motivate underachieving students.

Young adolescents have unique social, emotional, physical, developmental, and intellectual needs. In order to meet those needs, the National Middle School Association (2003) recommends a “curriculum that is relevant, challenging, integrative, and exploratory,” and that “students and teachers [are] engaged in active learning.” Turning Points 2000 (Jackson & Davis, 2000) recommends, “Teach a curriculum grounded in rigorous, public academic standards for what students should know and be able to do, relevant to the concerns of adolescents and based on how students learn (emphasis added).”

The curriculum meets these standards by connecting high-quality, standards-based content with an exploratory curriculum grounded in the lives and interests of the students, emphasizing hands-on active learning. Further, quality direct instruction is not sufficient to help some students learn. These students need other approaches for motivation and success . Muir (2001, 2005) suggests that there are nine essential elements for motivating students:
  • positive relationships;
  • feedback and helping students succeed;
  • hands-on, active work;
  • variety and attention to learning styles;
  • tying learning into interests and making it interesting;
  • avoiding bribery rewards;
  • giving students voice and choice;
  • making connections and higher order thinking; and
  • putting learning into context and making real world connections

Jackson, A. W., & Davis, G. A. (2000). Turning points 2000: Educating adolescents in the 21st century. New York: Teachers College Press.

Muir, M. (2001). What engages underachieving middle school students in learning? Middle School Journal, 33(2), pp. 37-43.

Muir, M. (2005) Motivating underachievers. In Anfara, V. (Ed.). (2005). The Encyclopedia of Middle Grades Education. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.

National Middle School Association. (2003). This we believe: Successful schools for young adolescents. Westerville, OH: Author

The Schools We Need Project

Because some students need more than direct instruction.

The Schools We Need Project is a joint project of the Maine Center for Meaningful Engaged Learning at the University of Maine at Farmington
and ResulTech Educational Services