SECOND GENERATION MIDDLESCHOOLING: WHERE TO NOW? Dr Catherine Hart Luther College, Croydon
OVERVIEW OF PRESENTATION• The research study – the evolution of middle schooling at Luther College• The Middle Schooling Movement in Australia: An overview• First generation middle schooling• Towards second generation middle schooling – opportunities and challenges• Where to from here?
Premise of studyFirst generation middle schooling isunfinished and exhaustedSecond generation of middle schoolingemergingFocus on transformative pedagogies topromote lifelong learning needed
Research AimsExploration of polemics of middle schooling atLuther College with specific focus on: Examining the principles and practices underlying the establishment of middle schooling at Luther College Exploring the current principles and practices of middle schooling at Luther College Identifying the opportunities and challenges of second generation middle schooling at Luther College
The Research StudySmall-scale pilot study: single case studysite – two „snapshots‟Data collection: Literature review,document analysis, key informantinterview, participant observationTime frame: March-September 2011
The Middle YearsDefining the „Middle Years‟Distinct learning needsConcept of risk – deficit model?
Middle SchoolingMiddle schooling does not have onegeneric meaning, in the Australian contextit is generally taken to mean a progressiveapproach to curriculum, pedagogy andassessment (and sometimesorganisational) practices that areresponsive to the developmental needs ofyoung learners in their social context
The Middle Schooling Movement in AustraliaFirst Generation Middle Schooling characterised by:• A range of specific middle years projects across Australia• The inclusion of middle years schooling in broad national educational initiatives• The production of middle schooling ideas and resources by a range of formal agencies• Research on middle schooling by Australian academics• The rise of middle schooling professional associations• The introduction of middle schooling units and programs in pre-service and postgraduate teacher education courses• The recognition of middle schooling in the policies and activities of a diverse range of school education agencies• The increasing adoption of middle schooling in educational institutions across the spectrum in most Australian States.
Beyond the MiddleFirst generation middle schooling was unfinishedbecause it had not secured systemic approachesor high intellectual demand. It also found that themovement was exhausted as it was a decadeold and had not kept apace with the rapidchanges in students‟ livesBeyond the middle: A report about literacy and numeracy development of target groupstudents in the middle years of schooling (Luke, Elkins, Weir, Land, Carrington, Dole,Pendergast, Kapitzke, van Kraayenoord, Moni, McIntosh, Mayer, Bahr, Hunter,Chadbourne, Bean, Alverman, & Stevens; 2003)
Luther CollegeEstablished in 1964 by the LutheranChurch of Australia as a Year 7-12Co-educational Boarding schoolLuther College offers a program of “Christianeducation which serves students, parents, thechurch, the community and strives for excellencein the development and creative use by allstudents of their God-given talents”
Snapshot 1: 1997-2001Victorian context1997: Middle School Planning Group [MSPG]established and Terms of Reference for middleschooling at Luther identified: 1. Improving school family relationships, teaching and learning and student involvement for the middle years 2. Improving its transition program and the education offering for the middle years
Snapshot 1 cont.1998: Luther College Middle School Report(Independent Education Consultant) endorsedsuggestions of the MSPGMiddle School Unit established – years 7-9,staged implementation (1999-2001), Head ofMiddle School, Year 7 Transition Coordinator,Year 8 and 9 Coordination subsumed into otherroles, introduction of Focus Teachers in Year 7
Characteristics of First Generation middle schooling at LutherLEADERSHIPI just read the literature and immersed myself in it … Nowas I read the literature and got on top of the area I startedto draw some broad directions around things that weneeded to do… a lot of the literature just spoke to meabout good principles of learning … I also was and dobelieve that Middle Schooling if it is done well, is theanswer to a whole lot of the other chestnuts of schoolinglike boys education and a whole lot of things that provideliteracy across the curriculum.
Characteristics of First Generation middle schooling at LutherLEADERSHIP cont.it takes a lot of patience and it takes minute chippingaway and persistence and a determination that you aregoing to get there but you will have a hundred differentways of getting there and so the change process ismessy and tricky and you will have lots of fights andtussles along the way with people who think they knowbetter or believe there are other realities that need to bedealt with.
Characteristics of First Generation middle schooling at LutherLEADERSHIP cont.a metaphor that works for me was this tumbleweed that Istarted rolling and what I had to do all the time was pullthe other bits of the weed in as it kept rolling and makesure that when I made a strategic decision, the whole ballkept moving and that all the parts of the ball sat inrelation to one another
Characteristics of First Generation middle schooling at LutherTEACHER TEAMING• The role of the Focus teacher• Primary teachers within a perceived secondary school setting – the prevalence of „two-tiered‟ thinking
Characteristics of First Generation middle schooling at LutherINTEGRATED CURRICULUMI started with nothing, I had to bring people around tounderstand what integration was because none of thesethings were in place in the school. What I did know wasthat I had some good teachers in the school and I had tore-culture them and get them to understand thefoundations. I did an enormous amount of PD[professional development]. Everyone who was a Focusteacher in those days went to a lot of PD andconferences, to begin to talk the language, you had tohave a common language.
Characteristics of First Generation middle schooling at LutherLEGITIMISING MIDDLE SCHOOLING• The Middle School• Varied teaching and learning strategies
Snapshot 2: 2010-2011Luther College today: 1200 students, 160 staff,no boarders, significant demand (significantincrease in Luther education across Australia –85 schools, over 35,000 students), laptop school,arrival of new Principal April 2010, a new 5 yearstrategic planA decade later the social milieu is quite differentI arrive at Luther College as a Year 7 Focusteacher and Senior English teacher in July 2010
Middle Schooling at Luther College todaySignificant „wins‟Significant challenges – significant growth ofschool population, change fatigue, staff attrition,interrupted learning continuum, competingcurricular demands, erosion of Focus teacherrole….First generation middle schooling still evident?
Moves towards whole school pedagogical renewal• Leadership restructure to allow greater focus on pedagogy• Time for depth of learning• Professional learning communities• Research and evidenced based practice
Where to now?• Re-visioning of a shared philosophy of Middle School• Forecasting rather than backcasting• Learning spaces• ICT• Blurring Curriculum boundaries• Signature pedagogies?