When we decided that we’d be giving our sixth-grade students control over their own learning this year, our colleagues told us we were crazy. Middle schoolers, they warned us, are unable to work at their own pace because they lack academic fundamentals, intrinsic motivation and basic time management skills. This is especially true for sixth graders, they said, who are managing a challenging transition to middle school and lack independence.
We’d heard these arguments before but we weren’t convinced. And over the past year, we’ve found just the opposite. It turns out young adolescents are extremely capable of engaging in self-paced, blended learning. In fact, the traditional way of teaching was what wasn’t working for us………………………..