Behavior of Junior High Students in the Classroom

Junior high students can present with a unique set of challenges. It takes a patient and dedicated teacher to persevere in middle school environment. Students at this age present with both childlike and adolescent behavior. This can make daily social interactions highly emotional. Peer pressure, bullying, and deviant behavior all begin to make an appearance in this age group. Significant developmental stages happen during these years, as well. It is important to recognize group and individual behavior patterns in junior high school, so that educators can better meet the needs of the students.

Variations in Age and Development

One unique complication of junior high student groups is the large variation of developmental milestones. This middle ground between elementary school and high school is a time of great change for children. Children also reach developmental milestones at different ages, making these classrooms a mix of pre-adolescent and adolescent students. This can result in a wide range of behavioral and physical features, making it difficult for everyone to get along.

Some students may have begun puberty during their last months in elementary school and enter middle school with a more advanced outlook on life. Late bloomers may still retain many childlike qualities. This can be a major source of separation concerning the group dynamic. They are simply in different stages of development and may not have much in common. The changes you see in middle school students from sixth to eighth grade are much larger than those of high school students from freshman to senior.


Interests may also change quite a bit during these three years, as students begin to explore classes that interest them instead of relying on their parents to make decisions for them. It is important to maintain a varied selection of elective classes for students to choose from. This allows them to understand what they enjoy and what their talents are. During these years students may begin to flourish in art, performing, or engineering. Teachers may notice that some students have natural gifts and talents in certain subjects. Achievements in favorite classes can help children form their identity and increase self-esteem.

Group Activities 

Many kids begin sports, band, and theatre during these years. This supplies them with new skills, and can help with finding where they fit in. Group activities often result in close friendships and teach children to work towards common goals. The responsibility to a sports team, or other group, teaches them to be reliable and to consider the needs of others. Many clubs form during the middle school years, offering a wide range of activities for different interests. Cheerleading, chess club, and robotics are a few popular choices. Band, orchestra, and sports help prepare students for high school activities. These groups often meet outside of school hours, giving junior high students more social interaction.


Some students may experience a drop in their grade point average during this time period. Hormone changes and growth can make students more prone exhaustion and forgetful behavior. The larger workload of more advanced classes may also contribute to a grade drop while students learn to manage their time better. Teachers and parents should also keep a close eye on grade changes, as severe changes can indicate things like depression and social complications. Some students may simply need some tutoring while getting used to more difficult courses. An increase in school activities, such as clubs and sports, may also take time away from studying. Students with dropping grades should be assessed promptly to determine source and course of action.


Many children go through some changes in their friend choices. Some may retain friends from elementary and continue to enjoy the company, while others make major changes to their personal social groups. This happen as adolescents being to experiment with who they are. They may not have clear idea of their identity yet. This is likely to be much better developed by the end of eight grade. The three years in middle school may be spent trying out a variety of classes and clubs until they better understand themselves. Questionable friend choices may happen during this time. Parents should be aware of all new peers and activities.

Junior high students may exhibit many behavioral changes over the years. These are a normal result of physical and mental changes that occur during these formative years. As they search for their identity, many different friendships and activities may be tried out, as well. Some students begin middle school at a later stage of development than others. The first year is the most challenging for many students. This is when many physical changes begin. Academics can also become overwhelming. Challenges with inappropriate behavior in the classroom may occur, as well.

Proper attention and supervision can help students to successfully complete their junior high education.

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