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Middle Years Schooling

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Rebecca Rosolen

on 28 April 2015

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Transcript of Middle Years Schooling

Middle Years Schooling
Key Learning Issue...
Middle years students develop a distinct set of needs; some have the resilience to overcome personal concerns, others struggle.
By Rebecca Rosolen
Promoting Supportive Learning Environments...
Student going through the phase commonly known as adolescence are going through a period of life and learning similar to that of a roller coaster ride...
The ride is full of ups, downs and wicked twists
that never stop until they reach the end of the journey
So what does this mean for their education?
How can education best respond to their unique disposition and ensure that they get the best possible education throughout this time of development?...
What do you think about & remember of your time traveling through adolescence?
Middle Schooling
In Australia, young
adolescents can be
found in upper primary
school classrooms and
lower secondary years
Within these schools,
the 'middle years'
covers years 4 to 9.
(Carrington, 2006)
It is a time of identity v's role confusion that poses three big questions...
Who am I?
Am I normal?
What is my place in the world?
The term 'middle schooling' refers to formal education that is responsive and appropriate to the developmental needs of young adolescences. Within the school context, it is characterised by the philosophy, curriculum and pedagogy based on constructivism (Carrington, 2006; Chadbourne, 2001, p.2). This requires recognising and acknowledging how students best learn in order to be responsive to their needs and to be able educate them appropriately...
integrated curriculum
authentic & collaborative learning
organised & democratic classroom governance
safe & happy learning environment
(Pendergast & Bahr, 2010, p. xvii)
'Middle Years' applies to students going through adolescence, this is generally student between the ages of 10 - 15 years.
(Carrington, 2006)
In order to do all this, teachers need to help students progress through the task of adolescence by...
helping them form a secure and positive identity
helping them achieve independence
helping them find their place in the world
(Pendergast & Bahr, 2010)

Australian Education Union. (2001). What might the jury be considering? Middle schooling for the middle years. Retrieved from http://www.aeufederal.org.au/Publications/2001/Middleschooling.pdf
Carrington, V. (2006). Middle years provision in Australia. Rethinking the Middle Years: Early adolescents, schooling and digital culture. 87-105. Crows Nest: NSW ; Allen & Unwin.
Characteristics of Middle Years Students. (n.d.). Characteristics of middle years students. Retrieved from http://www.culpeperschools.org/ms/guidance/characteristics.pdf
Department of Education, Training and Employment. (n.d.). Education Queensland United in our pursuit of excellence. Parent and community engagement framework. Working together to maximise student learning. Retrieve from the Department of Education, Training and Employment website http://www.education.qld.gov.au/schools/parent-community-engagement-framework/resources/pdf/parent-community-engagement-framework.pdf
Ginsburg, M. (1991). Understanding Educational Reform in Global Context: Economy, Ideology, and the State. Retrieved from http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED341310
Henderson, n. & Milstein, M. M.. (2003). Resiliency in Schools: Making It Happen for Students and Educators. Thousand Oaks: California ; Corwin Press Inc.
Hightower, A. M., Delgado, R. C., Lloyd, S. C., Wittenstien, R., Sellers, K. & Swanson, C. B. (2011). Improving student learning by supporting quality teaching. Key issues, effective strategies. Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/medi/eperc_qualityteaching_12.11.pdf
Pendergast. D & Bahr. N. (2010). Teaching Middle Years. Rethinking curriculum, pedagogy and assessment. Crows Best: NSW ; Allen & Unwin.
Wentzel, K. R. (1997). Student motivation in middle school: The role of perceived pedagogical caring. Journal of Educational Psychology, 89 (3), 411-419. doi:10.1037/002-0663.89.3.411
pocketlodge (May 2nd, 2011, Why I flipped my classroom [YouTube Clip]. Retrieved from
The aim of middle schooling programs needs to ensure that it promotes excellence and equity; meaning that it ensures success for all students (Pendergast & Bahr, 2010, p. 37).
The aim of middle schooling programs needs to ensure that it promotes excellence and equity; meaning that it ensures success for all students (Pendergast & Bahr, 2010, p. 37).
Teachers need to select outcomes, develop appropriate curriculum on the outcomes, construct assessment that allows students to show what they have learnt and plan instruction to prepare students to do well on the assessment (Pendergast & Bahr, 2010, p. 37).
However, due to the adolescent brain going through a development changes causing a slump in cognitive thinking, some students struggle to analyse, process and understand information. It requires teachers to provide learning experiences that are student-centred, multidimensional, flexible and facilitative (Pendergast & Bahr, 2010, p. 37).
To promote excellence and equity within middle schooling programs, Pendergast & Bahr (2010, p. 37) emphasis the need for differentiated instruction.
Teachers promote the idea that education should help one make sense of the world; at the same time it should help students make sense of themselves as players in the world. Students are intellectually curious about the world and themselves, so learning needs to be relevant to their lives and their understanding (Characteristics of Middle Years Students, n.d.). A failure to provide real world curriculum results in student disengagement in the classroom. If the learning is not relevant to their lives, then they are not interested in learning. Disengagement creates
• Lack of academic knowledge
• Truancy as they don’t want to be at school because they are not interested in the learning
• Poor relationships formed throughout school with both the teacher and peers
• Failure of the learning environment to be supportive and inclusive

Within the middle schooling context, goals to overcome disengagement in students’ needs to considered
• Enrichment – effective curriculum, teaching and organisational practices
• Support – genuine partnerships and long-term support
Australian Education Union, 2001

It requires teachers to be dynamic and have a positive effect on student learning and development through a combination of content mastery, command of a broad set of pedagogical skills, and communications/interpersonal skills (Hightower, Delgado, Lloyd, Wittenstein, Sellers & Swanson, 2011, p. 5). They need to facilitate curriculum that supports the transition of young people to become ‘independent’ and autonomous’ learners (Pendergast & Bahr, 2005).
Middle schooling programs, policies and practices need to foster adolescents’ development and learning in a supportive and positive manner that motivate students and help them see the light at the end of the tunnel.
This means that middle schooling curriculum and pedagogy need to be developed in response to the specific needs of adolescents (Henderson & Milstein, 2003).
Meeting the needs of students...
Curriculum and pedagogy should not just focus on academic mastery and achievement for all students, but should provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their achievement through other means of expression.
Just like literacy, numeracy and science, achievements in art, drama, music, vocational education, leadership, social skills and so on, all need to be publicly recognised and valued (Ginsburg, 2013).

Students need curriculum that provides them with opportunities that allow them to explore themselves and the world in which they live, advance their learning through rigorous challenges to achieve meaningful outcomes which will encourage active citizenship. Learning needs to be inquiry-based and involve students participating in relevant real world learning together with the teacher. Through the acknowledgment that adolescent learning needs to relate to them and providing them with curriculum that allows them to explore themselves and the world around them, middle years teachers provide a school and classroom environment that is less alienating to their students.
The middle years teacher is an advocate for adolescences residing within their classrooms. Each child needs at least one adult that they can rely upon to help them navigate through adolescence. The teacher within the middle years classrooms promotes a culture of compassion, understanding and mutual respect which is established over time.
However, the key to successful middle years experiences for students lies in the strength of partnerships between the school, the classroom teacher and the parent/guardian. Parents/guardians share a reciprocal responsibility in being advocates for their children (Department of Education, Training and Employment, n/d., p. 2).
Building a positive communication between the school and the students’ homes is essential as effective partnerships between the school and home are a key part in supporting successful learning outcomes for students (Department of Education, Training and Employment, n/d., p. 2).
Research indicates that effective communication with parents/guardians has a positive effect on student achievement and therefore teachers should seek to strengthen parental/guardians engagement with student learning within the classroom context (Department of Education, Training and Employment, n/d., p. 2). Teacher need to build open and honest communication with both students and parents/guardians by creating opportunities for direct parent/guardians involvement. Through open communication it helps to bridge the gap between school and home as it reaffirms to students that both stakeholders share expectation, creating an environment that is cooperative and supportive.
Parents/guardians need to be active participants within the school and classroom context, and be involved in their children’s education throughout the middle years of schooling. Parents/guardians can support learning environments through:
• Career guidance
• Pastoral care programs
• Classroom support
• Sharing culture
• Being a positive role model
• Extracurricular support
• Or simply through parent-teacher conferences

Through parent/guardians playing active roles in their children’s education they acknowledge and demonstrate to students that education is important and has value.

With all this in mind... how can best practices be used to help students within middle years classrooms?
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