There are several facets of understanding that must develop for the successful junior high student. First, they must develop metacognitive skills that assist in understanding themselves as learners. Looking at the strengths and weaknesses of one’s learning style, selecting, mastering and consistently implementing learning strategies (i.e., memory devices, personal volition, and content comprehension strategies), and developing independent organization and study skills are critical for both for motivation to do the work of learning and for continued success in learning.
Second, the junior high student must determine personal identity in the midst of community. Learning to be community-minded, to problem-solve, and to appropriately lead or follow within the safety of a positive classroom climate is an emphasis of the spiritual growth portion of the junior high program. To support this development, students spend time in Bible Study, class meetings, chapel reflections and House activities. Learning to talk about a biblical worldview and live consistently showing Christlikeness is the challenge presented and discussed during these critical years.
Third, recognizing that the developmental changes of early adolescence leaves many gray areas, the young adolescent must learn to think critically, determining when false arguments are present; listen carefully to another’s opinion; challenge another’s thoughts without offending; and present one’s own thoughts, whether orally or written, in ways that indicate clarity, organization and respect for proper format. The goal of this cognitive development is to promote unity of thought without demanding uniformity of thinking.