Introduction to Middle Years
The Middle Years of Schooling are seen as a discrete phase of learning, catering to the needs of students in their early adolescence, implemented within Years 5-8 at Our Lady of the Southern Cross College. The needs of students are central to the development of the teaching and learning opportunities.
Curriculum development in the Middle Years is founded in relationships and engagement. Teachers in the Middle Years should continually ask themselves “How will I engage the learners I work with each day in learning?” Building and sustaining relationships with the learners in the classroom will then allow teachers to better meet the needs of learners.
Outlined below are the values underpinning Middle Schooling Practices as set out in ‘Shaping Middle Schooling in Australia: Report of the National Middle Schooling Project’ (1)
Middle Schooling should be founded on a commitment to advance the learning capacity of all students and the achievement of outcomes that are meaningful and beneficial to the students. At the same time, there is a need to provide opportunities, skills and understandings that encourage active and responsible citizenship.
The following are essential components of middle schooling:
- Learner-centred – coherent curriculum is focused on the identified needs, interests and concerns of students and emphasizes self-directed and co-constructed learning
- Collaboratively-organised – teams of teachers who know and understand their students will employ powerful pedagogical strategies to challenge and extend students within a supportive environment.
- Outcome-based – progress and achievement are recorded continuously in relation to explicit statements of what each student is expected to know and be able to do.
- Flexibly-constructed – arrangements are responsive to local needs and circumstances, and reflect creative uses of time, space and other resources.
- Ethically aware- Justice, care, respect and a concern for the needs of others are reflected in everyday practice of students, teachers and administrators.
- Community-oriented – parents and representatives from other community institutions and organisations beyond the school are involved in productive partnerships.
- Adequately-resourced – experienced teachers and support staff are supported by high quality facilities, technology, equipment and materials.
- Strategically linked – a discreet phase of schooling is implemented as a stage within a P-12 continuum and connected to early and later years.