Word of Life for Middle School

A good teacher follows the pedagogical principle of “meeting the students where they are” while also calling them higher. This principle has guided the Word of Life writing team’s approach to the development of each grade of the curriculum.   

Both science and experience confirm that as young people mature, they can handle more complex topics and engage with the material in different ways than they did previously.   

With respect for this pedagogical principle, components within the Word of Life series are intentionally grade-specific, based on the maturity of the student and, in turn, the impact that such components will have on the student. Elementary school students benefit from more activities and supplemental resources in their engagement of the material. Older students, however, benefit more from reading and self-directed study in their engagement of the material. 

Below are examples which further demonstrate the Word of Life approach to this pedagogical principle. 

Lectio Divina  

Students in younger grades are introduced to Lectio Divina through supplemental videos and receive continued exposure as they mature. These videos draw the students in and help them understand this sacred form of prayer at a level appropriate for their age. Once in middle school, the student can now engage with Sacred Scripture directly to pray in the form of Lectio Divina rather than just learn about it. This aligns with a shift in approach in the student manual as well, in which lessons are less teacher-led, and more student-led. This approach supports the Word of Life Golden Thread of building disciples of Christ—disciples with the skills to practice these prayers independently. In full progression as a child moves through Word of Life from a younger age and matures into 6th grade, they will be learning to pray Lectio Divina in developmentally appropriate ways.  

Sacred Art  

Students in younger grades are provided with interactive activities to explore Sacred Art. As the student matures, exposure is appropriately shifted to one of direct encounter: Sacred Art Reflections are incorporated directly into the student text, with reflection questions for the student to consider.   

There will be a learning curve for our 6th graders/middle schoolers who are jumping into Word of Life for the first time this year, but with intention from the instructor, these practices can be learned as part of the overall experience of the curriculum.

For more curriculum training, visit our workshop recordings.