The Global Concept of the Middle School (Junior High) – مفهوم المدرسة المتوسطة في التربية عالميا

The Global Concept of the Middle School (Junior High)

 مفهوم المدرسة المتوسطة عالميا

Hasan A. Yahya, Ph.Ds, Former Professor of Education and Sociology

image011The concept of Middle School (or Junior High or intermediate school)  dates back to 1909, with the founding of Indianola Junior High School in Columbus, Ohio. The  Middle school serves as a bridge connects  a period of  the Elementary (Primary) school and secondary school  education. The terms can be used in different ways in different countries.

For example,  the concept was introduced to certain age, not young and not old, it is between two personality stages of  life, namely Adolescence.  It was introduced to deal with the physical and emotional changes and developments in this period.

Junior high schools were schools in the United States that contained seventh through ninth grades. The junior high schools in the United States were mostly replaced with the middle school concept with sixth through eighth grades. The ninth grade was moved to high schools.

In Asia,  Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Mainland China, apply the concept  to include 7 to 9 years old in Korea, Japan and Mainland China . however,  it consists the three years of the 9-year compulsory education. In Taiwan they called it Junior High and those who passed the 12  to 15 years.

In many Arab countries, they distinguish between elementary schools (6 years) and the secondary school (in Jordan t was 5 years until 1963, then became 6 years) . At the end of the ninth grade, it was decided to give a test to enter the high school (called secondary school) , like China which gives exam to college-bound students  to enter High School  to give the opportunity to those who wish to continue training in technical schools called vocational schools,  like commerce, carpentry, or  agriculture.

In Jordan, a case study, and other Arab countries followed the British educational systems, two division were also distinguished two types of graduates, scientific or literal. The first may continue natural sciences, the second may continue art and humanities studies. In Jordan, however, the level distinguish between the two divisions after the 10th grade was 65/100.

In the west, or the more advanced, the Middle school system was applied in United Kingdom, New Zealand, and the United States. In the United Kingdom, the system was introduced selectively  in the 1960s and 1970s,  The notion of the Middle school was proposed by Plowden Report of 1967 which proposed a change to a three-tier model including First Schools for children aged between 5 and 8, Middle Schools for 8-12 year-olds, and then Upper or High Schools for 12-16 year-olds. Different authorities applied the system. Some authorities introduced Middle Schools for ideological reasons, in line with the report, while others did so for more pragmatic reasons relating to the raising of the compulsory  age to 16. Inspite of the difference between authorities,  three models were used: The Middle school from 8-12 as suggested by the report.  9-13 years , and 10-13 years of age. In addition, combined schools were also found to provide 5-12 age range as a combined  elementary and secondary  stages.

In early 1980s a National Curriculum was introduced, by not followed by all schools. Middle and combined schools  remain in practice. But the new curriculum differentiates  Key Stages at age 11, which encouraged the majority of Local  Education Authorities to apply two tiers system of Primary and Secondary Schools.

In New Zealand Middle schools were known as Intermediate schools, consists of 7 years  called Form 1 and  8 years as Form 2.

In North America (the United States and Canada, Middle School  refers to a distinct form of school organization rather than a general term for the middle level of education.  In fact the  middle school concept contrasted to Junior High concept is a relatively new model for the middle-level grades introduced by as the National Middle School Association. (NMSA). Some areas still use both systems. But in general they are specifically deal with adolescence age between elementary and secondary stages . It became a new major  in Universities graduate students to specialize in educational system called Middle School Administration. (1)

Michigan State University was and still a leading Candle  in this regard, the College of education graduates became members in MAMSE,  founded in 1973. In these days, it claims  30,000 plus  members representing central office personnel, professors, principals, teachers, college students, parents, community  leaders, and educational consultants across the United States, Canada, and  46 other countries. An equivalent organization called “The National Middle Schools’ Forum, (NMSF)” operates in the UK .

Importance of the concept:  Noting that many Middle Schools do not pay sufficient attention to the emotional, physical, and social development of their students, Professors Georgiady and  Louis  G. Romano at Michigan State University as a reflection to a report called” Turning Points: Preparing American Youth for the 21st Century”  authored a  book titled: “Focus on: Successful Characteristics of a Middle School.” (1992)  They published a report presented  a program dealing with these characteristics as recognized by scholars in the Middle School movement..

In the abstract  they described Identifiers such as: Developmentally Appropriate Programs: Middle School Students: and Program Characteristics.

Each characteristic is accompanied  by an explanation of  “what and why.” And a further elaboration on application in learning and teaching covers seventeen areas like: teaming; self-contained classrooms;  guidance service; creative, exploratory and  enrichment experiences; independent studies; community relations and personalized student evaluation; socio-clutural experiences and auxiliary staffing; multi –material approaches; flexible schedules and physical and intramural  activities. (2) (913 words)


1)      The writer graduated from Michigan State University with a Ph.D in Educational Administration . Professor Louis Romano was the Head Advisor of his Dissertation Committee in 1988. The writer also was a member in the Michigan Association of Middle School Educators (MAMSE).

2)      Georgiady,  Nicholas P. and  Romano, Louis  G. Focus on: Successful Characteristics of a Middle School.” (1992)

About Arab American Encyclopedia-USA - Hasan Yahya

HASAN YAHYA was born at a small village called Majdal-YaFa (Majdal Sadiq) in Mandate Palestine (1944). He migrated as a refugee to Mes-ha, a village east of Kufr Qasim, west of Nablus (in the West Bank), then moved with his family to Zarka, 25 km north of Amman – Jordan. He finished the high school at Zarka Secondary School, 1963. He was appointed as a teacher in the same year. Studied Law first at Damascus University, then B.A from Lebanon University in Arabic literature and Eastern Cultures (1975). He moved to Kuwait. Where he got married in 1967. He was working at Kuwait Television, taught at bilingual School, and Kuwait University. In 1982, Hasan left to the United States to continue his education at Michigan State University. He got the Master Degree in 1983, the Ph.D degree in 1988 in Education (Psychology of Administration ). In 1991, He obtained his post degree in Social research, the result was a second Ph.D degree in Comparative sociology-Social Psychology. He was the only Arab student who enrolled ever to pursue two simultaneous Ph.D programs from Michigan State University and fulfill their requirements perfectly. Professor Yahya employment history began as a supervisor of a joint project to rehabilitate Youth (inmates out of prison) by Michigan State University and Intermediate School Districts. Worked also as a Teacher Assistant and lecturer in the same university. He was offered a position at Lansing Community College as well as Jackson Community College where he was assistant professor, then associate professor, then full professor (1991-2006). He taught Sociology, psychology, education, criminology and research methods. He supervised 19 Master and Ph.D candidates on various personal, economic psychological and social development topics. Professor Yahya published Hundreds (1000 Plus on this site) of articles and research reports in local, regional, and international journals. His interest covers local, regional and global conflicts. He also authored, translated, edited and published over 280 plus books in several languages, in almost all fields especial education, sociology and psychology. These books can be found on Amazon and Kindle. He also, was a visiting professor at Eastern Michigan University to give Research Methods and Conflict Management courses. Prof. Yahya accepted an offer to join Zayed University Faculty Team in 1998, then he served as the Head of Education and Psychology Department at Ajman University of Science and Technology 2001-04. Dr. Yahya established several institutes in Diaspora, the Arab American Encyclopedia, Ihyaa al Turath al Arabi Project, (Revival of Arab Heritage in Diaspora.Recently he was nominated for honorary committee member for the Union of Arab and Muslim Writers in America. He was affiliated with sociological associations and was a member of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS) at USA. Social Activities and Community Participation: Dr. Yahya was a national figure on Diversity and Islamic Issues in the United States, with special attention to Race Relations and Psychology of Assimilation (generations 1,2 &3). He was invited as a public speaker to many TV shows and interviews in many countries. His philosophy includes enhancing knowledge to appreciate the others, and to compromise with others in order to live peacefully with others. This philosophy was the backgrounds of his theory, called “ Theory C. of Conflict Management”. And developed later to a Science of Cultural Normalization under the title: “Crescentology. The results of such theory will lead to world peace depends on a global Knowledge, Understanding, appreciation, and Compromising (KUAC)” Recently Prof. Yahya started "Publish your book FREE Project", to serve young Arab Writers. Dr. Yahya accepted the offer to be the chief editor of the International Humanities Studies Journal -I-H-S-Jerusalem, since July 2014. (Revised Sept. 2014) ولد الدكتور حسن عبدالقادر يحيى في مجدل يابا من أعمال يافا – فلسطين عام 1944. تلقى علومه الابتدائية في مدرسة بديا الأميرية في الضفة الغربية أيام احتوائها ضمن المملكة الأدردنية الهاشمية وتخرج في جامعة بيروت حاملاً الإجازة في اللغة العربية وآدابها، ودبلوم التأهيل التربوي من كلية القديس يوسف بلبنان، ودبلوم الدراسات العليا (الماجستير) ودكتوراة في الإدارة التربوية من جامعة ولاية ميشيغان بالولايات المتحدة عام 1988، وشهادة الدكتوراه في علم الاجتماع المقارن من الجامعة نفسها عام 1991. عمل في التدريس والصحافة الأدبية. أديب وشاعر وقاص ، ,كما عمل في تلفزيون الكويت الرسمي كمعد ومنسق برامج ثم اتجه إلى الكتابة والتأليف في علوم كثيرة تخص علمي النفس والاجتماع والتنمية البشرية ، والتغير الاجتماعي والسكان وألف ونشر العديد من المقالات (1000 +) والكتب باللغتين العربية والإنجليزية (أكثر من 330 كتابا) ، منها ست مجموعات قصصية وست كتب للأطفال ، وأربع دواوين شعرية باللغتين أيضا. وعدد من كتب التراث في الشعر والأدب والأخلاق الإسلامية والتربية والأديان . وهو الآن أستاذ متقاعد في جامعة ولاية ميشيغان. . وكان عضوا سابقا في جمعية العلماء المسلمين في أمريكا . وجمعية علماء الاجتماع الأمريكية - ميشيغان، وهو مؤسس الموسوعة العربية الأمريكية في الولايات المتحدة ضمن مشروع إحياء التراث العربي في بلاد المهجرز كما تم ترشيحه مؤخرا ليكون عضو مجلس التحرير لمجلة الدراسات الإنسانية العالمية. وقد قبل أن يتسلم رئاسة تحريرها اعتبارا من نهاية يونيو 2014 His email: Thank you!
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