Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education (MAE)



First Advisor

Susan O'Connor

Second Advisor

Ann Marie Yacobucci


This study attempts to shed a light on the perspectives of middle school students on their middle school experience. This qualitative study was conducted with 18 middle school students located in the small, rural town in the northern part of the mid-west. Data showed that students want choices and options in their learning. Furthermore, they want to work with their peers in an active, comfortable, fun space. What this space looks like may differ for each student, which is why trust and an open line of communication between the student and teacher is key. They want to know that their input matters. Middle school is a time when students are venturing away from the security of elementary and into the independence of a high school setting. When so much is happening socially, emotionally, and physically that is beyond their control, giving them some power over their education can improve their self- worth and overall educational experience exponentially. Teachers need to be flexible and open to teaching to multiple abilities and maturities. This can prove difficult, which why allowing the student to have a say and take on the part of the learner and teacher can benefit both parties. Trust develops as students recognize they are being seen, they are being heard, and their needs are being met. This self- advocacy is a stepping-stone towards preparing them for responsibilities in their future-high school, college, and beyond.


SC 11.MAE.2017.Bjorklund.ME