Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy ETDs

Publication Date



The prospects for the future of the junior high or middle school movement are only as bright as the outlook for securing sufficient qualified and willing teachers. The need is clear. The junior highs and middle schools of our nation need more and better teachers—teachers by choice and by education prepared to work with pre-and young adolescents. The recruitment and preparation of such teachers is seriously hindered by 60 years of neglect, suppression and degradation forced upon the junior high and its teachers. The actual discriminatory practices of salary differences, qualification or ability differences, which forced the junior high to assume an inferior position in the past have all but disappeared. What remains are the attitudes of teachers and prospective teachers toward this level of teaching. Unit these attitudes are specified and understood, the solution will continue to elude educators. Once an understanding of the exact nature and importance of these attitudes is achieved, the real work of re-building the junior high-middle school image can begin.

A survey of the attitudes of prospective and experienced secondary teachers toward many aspects of the junior high school was made at the University of New Mexico in August, 1968. The subjects, 172 undergraduate and graduate secondary education students, completed a six-page questionnaire which provided both factual and attitudinal information.

The study correlated responses on such variables as (1) Choice of age grade level teaching, (2) The respondent’s level of experience, (3) Reasons for entering teaching, (4) Level of student teaching experience, (5) Completion of a course on the junior high, (6) Teaching experience at the junior high level, (7) Sex of the respondent, (8) Attitude toward teacher preparation and certification at the junior high level, (9) Preference for junior high Vs. middle school plan. The results of the survey led to the following conclusions and recommendations.

  1. That all secondary education students be required to student teach at both junior and senior high levels.
  2. That junior high-middle school teachers be consulted on the curriculum advisable for teachers at that level.
  3. That preparation and certification for junior high-middle school teachers be changed simultaneously with a separate and special course of studies required.
  4. That a middle school plan involving grades 6-8 replace the traditional junior high plan of grades 7-9 as soon as possible.
  5. That all secondary education students be required to take a course on the history, philosophy and purpose of the junior high-middle school, and another on curriculum development and teaching methods for this level.

The people whose attitudes toward the junior high school were most positive possessed the attributes or experiences suggested.

Document Type




Degree Name

Secondary Education

Level of Degree


Department Name

Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy

First Committee Member (Chair)

Alvin W. Howard

Second Committee Member


Third Committee Member

Ted Christiansen

Fourth Committee Member

John Allen Rider