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University of St. Francis logo · College of Education · Regional Educational Academy for Leadership

Psychology and Development of the Middle School Child
EEND and MEDU-630

  • Template 2015
  • Section TMPL
  • 3 Credits
  • 07/22/2015 to 07/22/2115
  • Modified 07/20/2020

Mission Statement

As a Catholic university rooted in the liberal arts, we are a welcoming community of learners challenged by Franciscan values and charism, engaged in a continuous pursuit of knowledge, faith, wisdom, and justice, and ever mindful of a tradition that emphasizes reverence for creation, compassion and peacemaking. We strive for academic excellence in all programs, preparing women and men to contribute to the world through service and leadership. 


Provides a strong foundation of the cognitive, physical, identity, and social and emotional development of adolescents; explores the roles of family and culture, the media, and schools in adolescent development.  Candidates will apply major theories and research findings to understand how teachers collaborate with school professionals to support healthy adolescent development and student success.


College of Education Mission

The mission of the College of Education is to prepare competent and caring educators who understand students, serve the community and develop professionally to become ethical decision-makers and leaders.

Understanding Students

The primary goal of the course is for candidates to construct a deep understanding of early adolescents across various domains of development. Candidates will examine general tendencies as well as individual differences.

Serving the Community

Candidates will discuss desirable professional attributes and how communities can be more responsive to the developmental needs of adolescents. Candidates will also explore the need for advocacy for this group of children. Discussions will examine the role of teaching and learning related to developing values, citizenship and the common good.

Finding Our Professional Selves

Candidates will develop an explicit and comprehensive theory of early adolescent development, based on existing theories and research, which will serve as a framework for their classroom instruction and educational decision making. Candidates with demonstrate the ability to interact with colleagues in a professional manner through exchanging (both listening and sharing) ideas, thoughts, experiences, and opinions.


Access to standards referenced in this section can be found HERE

By the conclusion of the course, each participant will be able to do the following:

  1. Candidates will be able to discuss the stages of physical, intellectual, identity, and social-emotional development characteristic of young adolescents. (IPTS-2)
  2. Candidates will apply knowledge of developmental theory to educational decision making and classroom practice. (IPTS-2)
  3. Candidates will be able to summarize the educational implications of developmental trends and individual differences (including cultural, socioeconomic, and linguistic) in early adolescence. (IPTS-3)
  4. Candidates will demonstrate an understanding of the various contexts that influence adolescent development, including school, peers, and family/culture, and the ability to apply such understanding to create responsive learning environments. (IPTS-5)
  5. Candidates will be able to summarize the particular influences of the media in adolescent development and to apply the principles of media literacy education to their practice. (IPTS-6)
  6. Candidates will demonstrate a commitment to foster positive relationships with parents/guardians to support student learning and well-being. (IPTS-9)
  7. Candidates will demonstrate insight regarding the advisory role of the middle grade teacher in assessing, coordinating, and referring students to health and social services. (IPTS-9)
  8. Candidates will demonstrate the ability to reflect on learning experiences in order to enhance their learning and professional growth. (IPTS-10)
  9. Candidates will be able to employ various research methods and data collection procedures appropriate to the study of early adolescents. (IPTS-11)
  10. Candidates will begin to cultivate an attitude of professionalism by exhibiting the following behaviors: integrity, leadership, self-motivation, responsibility, professional curiosity, organizational skills, and poise. (IPTS-11)
  11. Candidates will demonstrate proficiency in oral and written communication skills appropriate to the profession. (IPTS-11)


RQD-Strahan, D., L'Esperance, M., & Van Hoose, J. (2009). Promoting harmony:  Young adolescent development & classroom practices (3rd ed.). Westerville: OH: National Middle School Association. ISBN: 978-1-56090-230-0

RQD-Payne, R. K. (2013). Achievement for all:  Keys to educating middle grades students in poverty.  Westerville, OH: National Middle School Association.  ISBN 978-1-56090-255-3


Online Discussions and Assignments

Candidates will be assigned discussion topics and assignments to complete each week/module. The discussions/assignments relate to text readings and topics pertaining to adolescent growth and development (developmental domains).

  • Outcomes 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,10,11
  • Standards IPTS 2,3,5,6,9,10,11

Adolescent Essay Assignment

Candidates will follow a guided format to revisit and explain their personal adolescent experience in an effort to better connect and understand the experiences of adolescent students. Discussions with other candidates will allow for comparisons as well as conclusions about various developmental experiences.

  • Outcomes 1,3,4,11
  • Standards IPTS 2,3,5,11

 Adolescent Choice Activity

Educators can learn more about their adolescent learners by seeking information beyond the classroom walls.  The Adolescent Choice Activity requires candidates to complete an activity that will provide an avenue to gain new knowledge about adolescent learnerslearning from parent/caregivers or learning from observation of adolescent behaviors/interactions.

  • Outcomes 1,2,3,4,6.9,10,11
  • Standards IPTS 2,3,5,9,11

Individual Adolescent Case Study Project

Candidates will complete a case study of a middle school student (ages 10-14). Candidates holding a secondary endorsement may elect to recruit a high school student (ages 10-17) as a participant. Upon completion of an interview and activity, candidates will integrate content from class discussions and the text, discussing relevant theories and information, and create a summary of conclusions and classroom/educator recommendations to assist in promoting growth and development in the various developmental domains.

  • Outcomes 1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9,10,11
  • Standards IPTS 2,3,5,9,10,11

Course Policies

Policies for the College of Education at University of St. Francis

CLICK HERE (requires active student account) for policies, including but not limited to:

  • Method of Instruction
  • Expectations of Candidates
  • Online Courses
  • Attendance Policies for Site-Based and Online Courses
  • Minimum Standards for Writing
  • Computer and Digital Information Literacy Skills

Course Evaluations | Surveys

Information gathered through course evaluations and surveys is an important part of maintaining quality and continuous improvement in courses, and it is the University’s expectation that students will thoughtfully participate in this evaluation process.

Institutional Policies

Students should use the USF portal as the first resource for guidance and support on items such as student complaints, safety, security and transportation questions, contact information for various USF departments, student support services such as counseling and academic resources. Information on these resources can be found in the For Students section of the USF portal.

A complete listing of university policies and procedures can be found in the University of St. Francis Catalog and Student Handbooks. 

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity requires that all academic work be wholly the product of an identified individual or individuals. Collaboration is only acceptable when it is explicitly acknowledged. Ethical conduct is the obligation of every member of the University community, and breaches of academic integrity constitute serious offenses. Since a lack of integrity hinders the student’s academic development, it cannot be tolerated under any circumstances. Violations include but are not limited to: cheating, fabrication, facilitating academic dishonesty, plagiarism, and denying others access to information or material. See the University of St. Francis Catalog for further clarification and information on grievance procedures.

Services and Accommodations for Students with Disabilities (ADA)

The University strives to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA). A student who requires special accommodations or arrangements due to a disability should contact the Office of Disability Services. This contact preferably should occur no later than the first week of classes. Early contact before the semester starts is encouraged to allow sufficient time to provide accommodations. Extra time is needed for some types of accommodations such as sign language interpreters or special text formatting. Should a need arrive after the start of a semester; the student is encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services as soon as possible. Note that accommodations are not retroactive. Each case will be reviewed on an individual basis to determine reasonable and appropriate accommodations.

USF is committed to ensuring the full participation of all students in its programs, regardless of the course format. If you have a documented disability and need a reasonable accommodation to participate in a course, complete course requirements, or benefit from the University’s programs or services, please contact the Office of Disability Services at 815-740-3631 or [email protected] . The Office of Disability Services is in the Academic Resource Center (ARC) and is located on the second floor of the LaVerne and Dorothy Brown Library in room L214. Consultations are welcome, please contact the Office of Disability Services for an appointment.

Technology Support

  1. The Department of Academic Technology (DAT) administers the learning management system Canvas. If you are experiencing any difficulty using Canvas or need technical assistance, you have several options to receive support, including:
  1. 24x7 Live Canvas Support. If you experience technical difficulties or have a question about Canvas, you can receive support 24 hours a day 7 days a week through the Canvas help menu. From the help menu, select Chat with Canvas Support for a “live” text-based click-to-chat session,
  2. select Report a Problem to send an email support request, or speak to someone directly by using the toll-free number listed under the Canvas Support Hotline.

NOTE: Responses to Canvas’ email-based Report a Problem request system will go to your USF email account, NOT your personal email.

2. Online Self-Service Help Resources. A student user guide and other resources for solving issues related to Canvas can be found at LearnItNow

3. Telephone Support from DAT. You can also phone the Department of Academic Technology for personal help at (815) 740-5080 or (866) 337-1497 (toll-free) between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Central Standard Time, Monday through Friday.

For any technical support issues that are not related to Canvas, please contact the USF Technology Support Center (TSC). You can reach them via:

Notice of Copyright

This course may contain copyrighted materials that are intended to support the learning experiences of students currently enrolled in the course. No student may retain or further disseminate any copyrighted materials, in their entirety or any portion thereof, under penalty of law.

Academic Support Services

The Academic Resource Center (ARC) located in Room L214 in the Library (815-740-5060) offers various types of academic services.  Online and distance learning students can contact ARC for appropriate resources.  ARC serves students who need tutoring in many areas of study including writing and math.  Library services include a number of online services and full text databases.  Call the Library at 815-740-5041 for additional information.  If you need academic-related resources or assistance, please contact the Academic Resource Center.

Additional Items

Course References

Alvermann, D.E. & Hagood, M.C. (2000). Critical media literacy: Research, theory, and practice in “New Times.” Journal of Educational Research, 93, 193-205.

Bandura, A. (2002). Selective moral disengagement in the exercise of moral agency. Journal of Moral Education, 31, 101-119.

Berndt, T.J. (1999). Friends’ influence on students’ adjustment to school. Educational Psychologist, 34, 15-28.

Brooks-Gunn, J. (1989). Pubertal processes and the early adolescent transition. In W. Damon (Ed.). Child development today and tomorrow. San Francisco, CA, US: Jossey-Bass.

Carnegie Corporation (1996). Great transitions: preparing adolescents for a new century. New York: Carnegie Corporation.

Cohen, J. (1999). Educating minds and hearts: Social and emotional learning and the passage into adolescence. New York: Teachers College Press.

Crawford, G.B. (2007). Brain-based teaching with adolescent learning in mind (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Erikson, E.H. (1968). Identity: Youth and crisis. New York: W.W. Norton.

Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. New York: Basic Books.

Gardner, H. (1993). Multiple intelligences: The theory in practice. New York: Basic Books.

Gilligan, C. (1993). In a different voice: Psychological theory and women’s development.

Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Hill, J.P. (1995). Understanding early adolescents: A framework. Minneapolis, MN: Search Institute.

Howard, G.R. (1999). We can’t teach what we don’t know: White teachers, multiracial schools. New York: Teachers College Press.

Jensen, E. (1998). Teaching with the brain in mind. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

McCombs, B. (1998). How students learn. New York: APA.

National Middle School Association (1995). This we believe: Developmentally responsive middle schools. Columbus, OH: NMSA.

Northey, S.S. (2005). Handbook on differentiated instruction for middle and high schools. Poughkeepsie, NY: Eye on Education.

Piaget, J. (1970). Genetic epistemology. New York: Columbia University Press.

Sternberg, R. (1985). Beyond IQ: A triarchic theory of human intelligence. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Vygotsky, L.S. (1986). Thought and language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

White-McNulty, L. (2006). Formatting your paper using APA Style (5th ed.). Joliet, IL: Author.

Wiggins, G.P. (1998). Educative assessment. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.