3 Skills Every Middle School Boy Needs | Jerome Hunter | TED - Deepstash
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The Challenges and Changes of Middle School

The Challenges and Changes of Middle School

Middle school is a time of significant biological, neurological, and emotional changes.

Many people have a visceral reaction when they hear the term middle school.

It's a period when adolescents undergo changes that impact their identity formation.

While some kids may ignore deodorant and overuse Axe body spray, others may want to be treated like adults but still play with action figures.

A middle school teacher, however, discovered that some of his male students were acting kind of strange, which led him to investigate further.

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Redefining Masculinity: Middle School Boys Lead the Way

Redefining Masculinity: Middle School Boys Lead the Way

He noticed a pattern with his boys that involved going down sketchy YouTube rabbit holes or indulging in meme culture.

He became a mentor for an afterschool program called My Brother's Keeper, and in this space, he asked his male students an age-old question: "Does absolute power corrupt absolutely?" The conversation led to an "aha!" moment for both the teacher and the students.

He realized that middle school boys are impressionable and full of potential, and they could lead us to a more just and equitable society by redefining masculinity.

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The Three C's: Critical Skills to Redefine Masculinity

The Three C's: Critical Skills to Redefine Masculinity

The teacher reflected on the idea of masculinity and whether rejecting the gender binary and affirming people of all genders affected it.

He identified three critical skills that middle schoolers can practice to redefine masculinity:

  • Confidence
  • Communication
  • Community

These three C's became the pillars of his school, which demonstrated that middle schoolers could redefine masculinity.

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Confidence: The First Step to Redefining Masculinity

Confidence: The First Step to Redefining Masculinity

Adolescents are exploring their identities and are more open to abstract thinking. Having healthy and balanced confidence allows boys to feel good about who they are rather than feeling uncomfortable for trying to be someone they're not.

The teacher's school moves away from either-or thinking and guides boys to a more holistic version of masculinity that includes both-and.

This approach allows boys to understand that there's an entire spectrum of how they can express themselves and that they can value the complexity of their identity and stand firm in it with confidence.

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Communication: Key to Countering Toxic Masculinity

Communication: Key to Countering Toxic Masculinity

The second critical skill is communication.

Communication is key to countering toxic masculinity.

Boys need to learn how to communicate their emotions and needs effectively.

They need to learn how to listen actively and to empathize with others. When boys learn to communicate effectively, they can build deeper and more meaningful relationships with others.

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216 reads

Community: Building a Support System for Redefining Masculinity

Community: Building a Support System for Redefining Masculinity

Boys need to learn how to build and sustain healthy relationships. They need to learn how to collaborate and work in teams.

When boys learn to work in communities, they can develop leadership skills, empathy, and a sense of responsibility.

They can also learn how to challenge toxic masculinity and promote healthy and equitable relationships.

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The Importance of Middle School in Redefining Masculinity

The Importance of Middle School in Redefining Masculinity

Middle school is a time like no other.

It's a time when adolescents undergo significant biological, neurological, and emotional changes that impact their identity formation.

It's also a time when they can learn critical skills that can help them redefine masculinity.

By teaching confidence, communication, and community, middle schoolers can build healthy and equitable relationships, challenge toxic masculinity, and lead us to a more just and equitable society.

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CURATED BY

growthsarts

Public Speaking, Coaching, Counseling, Mindfulness & Autogenic Training, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Computer Engineering, Osteopathy, Traditional Chinese & Ayurvedic Medicine, Asian Languages and culture, Music & Art Therapy, Nada Yoga, Spiritualism

CURATOR'S NOTE

Middle school is a time like no other, as significant biological and emotional changes coincide with profound personal growth, says educator Jerome Hunter. The middle school for boys that he founded centers on a program that helps redefine masculinity through what he calls the three "Cs" -- confidence, communication and community. He shares the growth he's seen when boys are encouraged to explore their own empathy -- and how it could lead to a more just world.

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