Middle Years and Junior Secondary This course is a little bit anomalous – a course about middle years in a Graduate Diploma of Secondary Education program I have taught in a dedicated Middle Years program at UQ, but will focus on the Junior Secondary grades (7-10) in this course Middle Years is more typically defined as Years 6-9
Characteristics of Learners andTeachers One thing to remember throughout this course: „…middle schooling effectiveness is most influenced by teacher quality and instructional effectiveness, and to a much lesser degree by student compositional characteristics (such as learning difficulties and disruptive behaviours) and structural arrangements (such as dedicated middle schools).‟ (Pendergast and Bahr, pp. 14-15) While we will spend some time looking at students, teachers are the key – that‟s you!
Nothing New Under The Sun Ecclesiastes 1:9 King James Version (KJV) The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9 New International Version (NIV) What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. King Solomon, around 950 BC
Something New Under The SunEducation in the past Education now and in the Industrial age future Primarily knowledge workers Prepared students for in service-based economies industrial age Simple repetitive tasks employment automated (robots) Ability to synthesize Punctuality information, solve Obedience problems, think laterally, innovate Rote tasks Technology convergence, globalisation, environment
Middle Years Middle Years education is “an intentional approach to teaching and learning in the middle years that meets the unique developmental and educational imperatives of middle years students within the context of contemporary society” (MYSA, 2010)
The Research Base (in part) Australian research is based (in part) on the American experience (e.g., Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development) (Jackson & Davis, 2000) Major Australian Studies: From Alienation to Engagement (1996) Shaping Middle Schooling in Australia (1998) Middle Schooling in the Middle Years (2001) Beyond the Middle (2002) Lifelong learners in the Middle Years (2005)
Key Findings Many middle years students are not engaged in their learning because too often the tasks they are given lack challenge and intellectual demand There is a need to shift teachers‟ focus to higher order thinking and higher levels of expectation, while maintaining nurturing and supportive classrooms We will discuss the „productive pedagogies‟ framework later in the course, which tries to operationalise these themes
Adolescence „Adolescent‟ is sometimes used as a negative term, meaning „immature‟ – but it is appropriate for children and young people to be still in the process of becoming mature! Goal is to provide environments that help and support them as they become more mature and capable of independent living Moving from making choices for the students to helping them develop the ability to make good choices for themselves
Adolescence Phase one (1900s-1970s): Grand models such as G. Stanley Hall‟s (1904) phylogenetic view of adolescence as a developmental stage paralleling humanity‟s evolution from savage to civilised. Essentially a deficit model Phase two (1980s-1990s): Focus on adolescent growth and development linked to a focus on social influences and social problems (e.g. teenage pregnancy, drug- taking, anti-social behaviour). Recognises that not all aspects of adolescence can or should be framed in terms of deficit. Phase three (contemporary): Renewed focus on the middle years; linking scientific study of adolescence with policy development and practitioner and community concerns.
QSRLS Queensland School Reform Longitudinal Study: Classrooms provide supportive environments, but this is only one aspect of productive pedagogy Intellectual quality, connectedness, and recognition of difference are all rarer than desirable The best pedagogy was observed in trans-disciplinary classes where teachers‟ lacked disciplinary models of pedagogy School environment was a contributing factor, but pedagogy was the primary contributor to student performance
Some Characteristics and Challenges Highly peer oriented, closely linked to Heightened sensitivities family Rapid and erratic physical Egocentric change Increasing critical Years 5/6-8/9 learning often reasoning and application stops, slows down and sometimes goes of abstract thought backwards (QSRLS) processes Developing metacognition Highest incidence of student alienation, disengagement, disruptive Need support, guidance behaviour, boredom and independence High (?) incidence of clinical Questioning identity and depression, eating beliefs disorders, delinquency
Where To From Here? This has been a very brief overview, and we will unpack these issues in more detail in the coming weeks In case I haven‟t already hammered it enough, the key message to take away is this:Whatever the challenges, quality teachers make all the difference