“No other age level is of more importance to the future of individuals, and, literally, to that of society, than adolescents; because these are the years when youngsters crystallize their beliefs about themselves and firm up their self concepts, their philosophies of life and their values – the things that are the ultimate determinants of their behaviors. “ -“Understanding and Appreciating the Wonder Years”, John H. Lounsbury
The ages between 10 to 15 years experience the most rapid and the most number of personal changes compared to any other age in life. This age group is a period of tremendous variability among youth of the same gender and chronological age. The rates of growth is different in all areas of development that is why it is always a challenge not only for our youth but also for their parents and teachers to ensure the healthy development of the child as a whole.
Middle School classes (Grades 6 – 8) are located in their own building, which is also where many of their subjects are taught. Subject specialists teach these grades, so it is not uncommon for students to have a different teacher for each subject.
Many students join Brent at different stages of their schooling. Our assessment and reporting practices take these situations into account when admitting students. In general, the curricula proceed from Grade 5 with continued emphasis on discovery, investigation and skills-based courses
All Middle School students study the following:
The curriculum is increasingly Literature based, with an emphasis on effective reading of different genres (short story, novel and poetry). The goal of the Middle School program is to lay a sound foundation of literature appreciation and language application in preparation for the International Baccalaureate Program.
In addition, writing skills are an increasingly important component of all courses, and students will be heavily involved in research, writing, and correct formatting to avoid committing plagiarism. Performance is important in developing a student’s confidence and rhetoric skills. Presentation of creative and analytical work are regular features of these classes.
Following the work covered in Grade 5, these Middle School years continue to develop an integrated approach covering topics including number, shape, space and measure, algebra, and data handling. Emphasis is made on mastering basics, using and applying mathematics, communicating mathematically, and reasoning. The approach to all topics is investigative, encouraging students to seek solutions using a range of strategies, rather than a single formulative approach.
All Grades are taught through a unit-based approach that encourages classes to focus their attention on a “Big Idea”, and then use different vehicles to transfer key concepts, skills, and information.
- Grade 6 pays particular attention to the history and geography of Latin America and Africa in the first and second semesters respectively.
- Grade 7 introduces students to archaeology, the study of early man, and the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, and India.
- Grade 8 looks closely at other empires of the ancient world more particularly Greece and Rome. In addition, the students will study the Middle Ages, the early modern times, and the Renaissance.
The students of Middle School are taught Science as an integral course, the aim of which is to provide students with a sound understanding of the concepts, principles, and applications of Science in the modem world. Aspects of the chemical, earth, life, and physical sciences are all covered and emphasis is placed on learning through experimental and investigative methods.
Modern Languages (Filipino and Mandarin)
These are introductory courses intended for students who are non-native speakers of the language or who have little or no prior knowledge of the target language. Students in Grade 7 are introduced to Filipino or Mandarin basic grammar and literature. They are given activities that help develop the four macro skills of writing, speaking, listening, and reading. This is intensified in Filipino classes when they reach Gr. 8. In this grade, they are introduced to literary writing and literary analysis. These subjects may be continued through to the International Baccalaureate Program in Grades 11 and 12.
- Grade 6 focuses on the early foundations of Judaism, particularly on its Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the establishment of its own undivided Kingdom and the early part of its division; on the Israelites firm faith in God despite all the persecutions and destructions they had experienced; and finally, on Stephen and Paul’s conversion and ministry.
- Grade 7 focuses on the Beatitudes (Matthew 5-7) emphasizing that Jesus’ teachings are sources of Christian principles of moral and ethical conduct. It also deals with the influences of Christian traditions and history in the western culture, particularly in the arts and in philosophy.
- Grade 8 focuses on World Religions: still continuing with Judeo-Christian tradition, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Sikhism. It includes questions on God, the religions’ foundations, basic teachings and beliefs, worship, pilgrimages, scriptures, holidays and feasts, etc.
Physical Education and Health
In P.E., individual and team sports and skills are taught to encourage a lifelong enjoyment of physical activities. Soccer, badminton, volleyball and basketball are examples of these. Regular fitness testing allows students to check their individual progress through the year.
- Grade 6 focuses on Productive Eating Habits and Nutrition and in the second semester, Diseases.
- Grade 7 Grade examines Basic Resuscitation and First Aid during the first semester, and in the second semester, Human Reproduction and Substance Abuse.
- Grade 8 Grade learns about Developing Skills for Healthful Sexual Behavior and overall Physical Fitness & Wellness in the first semester and in the second semester, Understanding the Use, Misuse, and Abuse of Chemicals.
Information and Computer Technology
In order to stay up to date with fast-evolving technology, the computer labs are now equipped with Apple iMacs. The apple platform is favored by many educational institutions and creative film makers world-wide for its ease of use and powerful multimedia capacities. The latest software such as Adobe Creative Suite comes installed in every iMac and is used to help students to stay competitive in our increasingly computerized world. ICT studies undertaken at each grade level increase in complexity.
Art is essentially project-based at these levels and encompasses the basic elements and principles of drawing, painting, composition, sketching, studio experimentation, multimedia projects, art ,and art history appreciation. Students experience three dimensional work and are taught the processes used in graphic design, ranging from product design to building design and advertising. All projects are intended to encourage individual expression and thought.
Students continue from Grade 5 to learning the basics of several instruments, focusing on concepts such as rhythm and melody, texture, harmony, form and expressive elements such as timbre, dynamics, and tempo. Of interest is the formation of a chamber orchestra that has a number of performance opportunities throughout the school year. Support is given to the members of this orchestra by engaging the services of applied music teachers.
English Language Support (ESL)
The ESL program continues in Grades 6 – 8 with students mainstreamed into full classes progressively depending on their increasing proficiency levels. Assessments are modified to allow for longer reading and response times, while the assessment language is often modified.
Social Studies has an ESL equivalent course, allowing students to focus attention on core skills and procedures, rather than detailed content. Students are given ample opportunity to exhibit their progress through regular assessments and through the Support Program.
The expectation for each student is that they will exit the ESL program within two-three years.
Homeroom / Advisory Care Class
All Middle School students are placed into Homeroom/Advisory care classes. All advisory classes meet for 10 to 20 minutes each morning and 30 minutes every Friday for Enrichment Time. Each Homeroom/Advisory class consists of approximately 17 to 25 students with 2 Homeroom/Advisory teachers.
The Homeroom period is an essential time for students and teachers to be together. During this time, teachers serve as mentors and have the opportunity to get to know their students outside of assessed, academic areas. The Homeroom/Advisory care teacher also serves as the immediate point of contact for general communication between home and school.
During the Friday Enrichment Time, students are taught research/writing/study and math and reading skills. It is also used as pastoral time. It further allows for incidental teaching of highly important issues like bullying, peer pressure, community service projects, and others that do not always fit neatly into other curricular areas.