Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Middle Phase pedagogy

After reading the first chapter of Middle Years Schooling (Knipe & Johnston, 2007), I decided to do a quick survey, which can be found here, to see how students really felt. The spreadsheet with the collated responses can be found here. This survey is in the process of being completed and will hopefully find its way to a large number of students so that a good picture of student preference can be compiled.
Knipe and Johnston (2007) state that taking student opinions into consideration can really make a difference to the engagement of the students with the course material. The MACER report (2003) also states that the course material needs to be relevant, challenging, have real world connectedness and take student backgrounds into consideration if it is to have any hope of engaging the students. How better than to find out student opinions than to ask them, hence the survey.
Here is a survey, made by, that can be completed by students periodically through the school year to obtain feedback from them on how they are perceiving the material. The survey questions can be altered to provide specific feedback as required. On the other hand, students do not want to be bombarded with surveys and questionnaires and as such this method should not be overused.
In the course readings for the week it was repeatedly stated by various authors that the middle years are the most challenging for students as they simultaneously bombarded with 'physical, emotional, intellectual and social factors' (See the future, MPL State School Action Plan, 2003) and as a result of this their needs are quite different to students in both lower and higher levels. This difference has not been catered for in the past and many students have become disengaged with learning, this is the reason Queensland needs to reform the middle years of schooling.
The best examples that I have seen so far in the middle years of schooling align with the challenge for teachers listed in the action plan, and it is having teachers who care about the students, and are passionate about their profession, teaching students in the middle years.
The Middle Schooling philosophy will improve behaviour management as when students are engaged, the time spent on behaviour management is reduced.
The curriculum will be tailored to suit individual students and their current levels of achievement in such a way as to maximise student learning outcomes with deep knowledge on topics rather than a surface knowledge covering an all encompassing curriculum.
Pedagogy will be based in the 21st century and embedded with ICT use technologies as 1) this is what the students know or need to know and 2) it will prepare students for a work life in the knowledge economy. School organisation will need to change to facilitate the changes required in the Middle Phase of schooling by allowing teachers more time to collaborate with other teachers, spend more meaningful time with the students, and plan relevant learning for the students based on their needs and interests.
The attitudes and perceptions of students should change when the changes to Middle School Years are made as more students are engaged with relevant, meaningful coursework that is preparing them for their future years.

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