The North Carolina Middle School Journal publishes manuscripts on all topics related to the education of young adolescent learners. We consider manuscripts of all types, including: research-based instructional techniques for middle level classrooms; viewpoints, analyses, and criticism of current middle level issues; ideas and techniques for strengthening middle level education; reviews of books, videos, or software pertinent to middle level education; research findings, interpretations, or theories related to middle level education in NC; articles that describe strategies for recruiting or training future middle level teachers. Please consider submitting your work for inclusion in the next issue.
Meantime, with this "back to school" issue of NCMSJ we offer you three distinct pieces. Let me share with you a snapshot of each and some of what the reviewers had to say. Then, allow me to invite you to read for yourself, and to contact the authors should you want to continue a conversation with them-their email addresses are included at the end of their piece.
The topic of school culture is discussed in schools often, especially as teams write their improvement plans or discusses mission and vision, though less often is the idea of the hidden curriculum. From the desk of the principal, Philip Brown presents his thinking in, "Intertwining School Culture and Hidden Curriculum: A Positive Influence on Young Adolescents." Brown highlights the connection between the two, defining each from several perspectives. He concludes with concrete recommendations for middle grades educators. Brown's work is significant because a positive school culture is often what determines a great school from one in which students just exist.
In "Preparing Pre-service Teachers with Effective Classroom Language Skills:
Examining the Utility of Code-Switching for Enhancing Lesson Delivery," Hunter, Watson, Adams, Robinson, and McKee offer a concise summary of issues related to language and dialect. Their work is consistent with current literature in its focus on English language diversities and intersects this topic with pre-service teacher training. Hunter and her colleagues offer this piece specifically to pre-service teachers. They consistently advocate that "educators value young adolescents and are prepared to teach them" (Association for Middle Level Education, 2010, p. 15).
Johnson, Dodor, and Ball conducted their research study in a middle school using a control and an experimental group. They offer specific support for collaboration within Common Core State Standards frameworks. In addressing the standards, they emphasize the need to know what is truly happening with the implementation of new methods of teaching and learning. Entitled, "Integrating Math Common Core Standards into the Family and Consumer Sciences Curriculum" Johnson and her colleagues provide justification for the use of standards and the collaboration of colleagues in meeting the standards. Their findings are very practical in that they confirm that collaborative projects increase understanding and are worth the time and effort.
I hope you enjoy this fall edition of the North Carolina Middle School Journal.
Kathleen Roney, Editor
Professor, Watson College of Education
University of North Carolina Wilmington