Social Responsibility and Academic Success
Discuss about the Social Responsibility and Academic Success.
The middle years have been defined previously using various definitions identifying the use of age ranges and on other occasions using the years at school or the grades. However, from a broad perspective, middle years refer to young people whose age fall in between the range from 10 to 15 years (Pendergast, et al., 2017). One thing to note is that the bridge for middle years inculcates the period from pre-pubescence to adolescence and further encompassing sexual maturity. It also encompasses the upper primary to junior secondary education conventionally these were two different types of schooling in the form of delivering curriculum, structure, and teaching method.
The rise of middle schools has led to the establishments of such schools in response to satisfying the needs of students in the middle years and involves either a structural arrangement or a pedagogical approach in accommodating students in that age bracket (Pendergast, et al., 2017). However, the work in middle years has tended to concentrate on the convergence and transformation of the curriculum, assessment, and pedagogy and to a lesser extent on organizational elements that meet the demands of adolescents (Prosser, 2008). It is not a matter of rearranging the conventional structures but is a new concept all the same.
In reality, a wide range of middle school models exist. For instance, there are separate middle schools that include anything within the range of five to ten years. There are also middle school units that are within the larger framework of K/1-12/13 year. Also, there are middle school units that exist within the primary schools; there are those within the larger secondary school who embrace philosophies entailing middle schools and practices. Within the types of middle schools stated above, there are further classifications. Some middle schools support single-sex while others are co-educational.
It is acknowledged that the curriculum that is coherent be adopted in attempting to meet the needs of early adolescents, and it should focus mainly on the identified needs (Pendergast, et al., 2017). The curriculum is negotiated and related to the outside environment beyond the classroom. Also, it is explicit and grounded on the outcome (Pendergast, et al., 2017). The recording of progress and achievement is in a continuous mode with regards to statements that are explicit of expectation of students in what they should know and their ability to do tasks. This results in transforming views and practices involving pedagogy that is the way students are taught.
Classroom pedagogy in this context is tailored to suit the needs and abilities of middle year learners. Also, for the pedagogy to be effective, it must be flexible enough, portraying creativity in time utilization, space, and resources as well as team and individual needs. (Pendergast, et al., 2017) The pedagogy must also be student-oriented with a focus on personalized directives and learning that is co-constructed. With indications from literature, it must be focused on teamwork engaging both the teachers and students all of whom need environments that are supportive, challenging and moral.
Authentic and reflective assessment
Assessments for the middle schooling must also be relevant, original and linked to the life experiences of the young people (Pendergast, et al., 2017). The goals of education for this cohort are specific to the middle years and must be determined. Such fundamental transformations in reshaping the curriculum and pedagogy should be about reshaping the prevailing practices. The effectiveness of pedagogy is the main focus of education of middle years as it entails an approach that is intentional to teaching and learning that is dynamic and relevant to the many needs and interests of students in middle years in both the formal and informal learning contexts (Andrews & Bishop , 2012). Extensive research affirms that the quality of a teacher is the most fundamental element in improving the learning outcomes for learners. Thus, quality teaching and learning resources are the most crucial elements in middle years.
The school organization also involves collaboration and support by the teachers in all subjects and year levels. Positive changes in middle schooling can only be accomplished with the support garnered from the administration (Pendergast, et al., 2017). With the administration’s help, there are substantial resources for all levels in the form of a pool of experienced teachers and support staff equipped with high-quality infrastructure, technology, and materials.
The school is also community centered with parents and other relevant stakeholders engaging in productive and sustained cooperation with the school (Pendergast, et al., 2017). There are some models for middle schooling that are gaining popularity due to their effectiveness with the inclusion of pod structures with a group of learners (Scales, et al., 2000).
The pod structures involve a group ranging 70-100 and a small number of teachers from four to seven who are maintain the pod. However, the teachers may loop with the pod that stays with the same group in a period extending from two to three years and then assigned a new group after the stipulated period is over.
In Australia for instance, schools function on a two-tiered system that is the primary and secondary providing a very diverse context for the reforms for middle schools. (Pendergast, et al., 2017) A critical element that revolves around the underlying philosophy of transformation in the middle years of schooling in the education context of Australia is the seamless shift from primary to secondary education. The primary schooling is student-centered, and the secondary education, on the other hand, is discipline oriented. Such a transition leads to more student learning, experiences that are positive in adolescence and a desire and passion for lifelong education. Such issues transcend the traditional shift from the primary school that is small to a secondary school that is large (Pendergast, et al., 2017). Hurdles are exacerbated by the existence of different structures, new teacher-student relationships and the unique needs of adolescent students and the differing emphases learners encounter in the transition from the primary to secondary schooling. Substantial evidence reveals the failure of traditional units for learners in the middle years. The boys have been reported to meet the specific demands for adolescent learners as they often manifest disengagement from schooling as portrayed by their poor behavior and achievement (Cowles, 2014). Students in middle schooling are also made to believe that they have to face the responsiveness of a teacher that is variable. In the student’s view, the teachers must deal with the repercussions of disengagement by learners and variable environments.
One of the desired outcomes that are effective in middle years pedagogy is the higher order thinking (Moran, 2016). The higher-order thinking is imminent in some of the models and frameworks such as the Education Queensland (Pendergast, et al., 2017). Higher order thinking has been classified as one of the productive pedagogies. Higher order thinking dictates that students should change information and ideas in means that transform their meaning and repercussions. Such transformations arise when learners integrate facts and ideas with the aim of either synthesizing or arriving at some interpretation (Pendergast, et al., 2017). It is through manipulation of information that students can solve some problems and discover new understandings and meanings.
Engaging students in the construction of knowledge introduces an element of uncertainty in the instructional processes making instructional outcomes unpredictable. In such a case, the teacher is uncertain of the products from the student (Hart, 2017).In helping the students become knowledge producers, the teacher should create environments that allow learners opportunities to be involved in higher-order thinking.
The involvement of students in decision making through a democratic classroom and a school climate has been seen to improve the teacher-student relationship (Pendergast, et al., 2017). In this model, the students are assigned leadership positions that enable them to become part of school administrators and are therefore responsible for the conduct and behavior of other students. The students that have been appointed leader are also the channels used in raising student issues to the administration for further help (Brinegar, et al., 2018). There is a consistent view in the middle schooling literature that the traditional models of teaching and power regimes are oppressive to students and that the arrangements in middle school accord the opportunity for teacher-student relationships that are positive. Student involvement in the school decision making is thought to raise the student engagement and motivation. Classrooms and learning environments that are based on mutual respect and fair student welfare with discipline policies have been highly encouraged in this model. Student welfare was found to be the core in middle schools and was the responsibility of all staff members.
The objective of student support is to facilitate and motivate students to embrace education. Support from leaders in the student welfare programs is necessary, and students fathom and support student welfare as a favor done for them. With time it there have been some improvements in the standards and attitude that in most cases underpins academic progress, personal growth, and cohesion in middle schooling.
Importance of signature practices
Family and community partnerships are important in supporting and creating an enabling environment conducive to student learning (Pendergast, et al., 2017). The partnerships echo the current widespread call for increased participation by the family and community in educating the young people from the government perspective, teacher organizations and business fraternity.
A positive school climate identifies and gives credit to the fact that the school itself is the teacher (Wellenreiter, 2018). The learning environment posed by the school regarding physical facilities and the human relationships are important conditions that should be met to establish a conducive environment where learning takes place.
Varied teaching and learning approaches are important components needed in diversifying the learning techniques and maturation of mental levels among cohorts of young adolescents.
The inadequacy that has been linked to the conventional systems of ranking and negative lessons they teach have led to demands for measures that are original in reporting the progress of the students. Such approaches are considered less competitive while being more informative at the same time and engage students in self-evaluation.
Adaptable organization structures reflect the will and motivation that the school is aiming in attempting to accommodate the diversity of the students (Cook, et al., 2016). The flexibility also allows students to associate themselves with a group of peers and breaks the rigidity of the uniformed schedule.
A detailed curriculum that is involving and integrative is necessary. The curriculum involves many collective courses and subjects of study. The curriculum should, therefore, demonstrate the kind of needs of adolescents. The whole curriculum should be based on exploratory learning and not just designation of disciplines.
Comprehensive guidance and support services where it is the responsibility of the school to facilitate and avail more than instructions to students. The young adolescent learners need programs that accommodate peer discussions, personalized attention by professionals and in some rare cares referral services to professionals when needed.
High expectations for everyone requires that teachers and learners themselves have high hopes (Pendergast, et al., 2017). It is important to understand that high expectations here refer to motivating and empowering students to learn and become intellectually connected. It also teaches students how to behave as responsible citizens.
A shared vision depicts the necessity of educators adopting a vision that is idealistic and captivating. The vision reveals the very best that can be imagined about factors that impact schooling and that includes achievements met by students, the participation of students in the community and positive relationships that are teacher-student oriented.
A review of literature involving teaching and learning in middle schooling arrived at some conclusions that the effectiveness of middle schooling is impacted by the quality of a teacher and instructional effectiveness and is affected to a lesser degree by learner’s compositional characteristics and structural arrangements. The review further reveals that nexus between the quality of the teacher and the outcome of students by identifying that the quality of the teacher is the main determinant of experiences and attitudes of schooling. It is also responsible for the behavior of students in the classroom. To be effective, high self-efficacy for the teacher is required where teachers are expected to develop a personal belief in their abilities and professionalism and also in their rank to influence students’ outcomes. Thus, the need for middle school teachers that are effective with self-efficacy is incontestable if high performance is to be achieved in such schools.
The middle years are also considered to be the period when young adolescents start thinking more deeply about the environment around them and take a more proactive approach to learning and thinking. However, according to the Northern Territory Council has made attempts in clarifying the terminology as follows; there seems to be a true meaning of the term middle years middle school and middle schooling. For instance, middle years means the years of the initial adolescent stage; the middle school also refers to separate organization entity for adolescents that are young. Lastly, middle schooling identifies a specific philosophy of teaching, learning methods and curriculum development for middle school learners.
Andrews, C. & Bishop , P., 2012. Middle grades transition. Middle School Journal, 45(8), pp. 8-14.
Brinegar, K., Harrison, L. & Hurd, E., 2018. Emancipation through empowerment. Middle School Journal, 49(2), pp. 2-3.
Cook, C. M., Faulkner, S. A. & Howell, P. B., 2016. The developmentally responsive middle school: Meeting the needs of all students. Middle School Journal, 47(5), pp. 3-13.
Cowles, E., 2014. The American Biology Teacher. University of California Press Journals, 6(9), pp. 633-634.
Hart, L., 2017. Traits & Characteristics of Middle School Learners. [Online]
Available at: https://classroom.synonym.com/traits-characteristics-middle-school-learners-17814.html
[Accessed 5 April 2018].
Moran, K., 2016. Anxiety in the classroom: Implications for middle school teachers. Middle School Journal, 27-32(1), p. 47.
Pendergast, D., Main, K. & Bahr, N., 2017. Rethinking Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment. In: D. Pendergast, ed. Teaching Middle Years. NSW: A&U Academic, pp. 323-358.
Pendergast, D., Main, K. & Bahr, N., 2017. School Reform and Sustainable Practice. 3rd ed. NSW: A&U Academic.
Prosser, B., 2008. Unfinished but Not Yet Exhausted: A Review of Australian Middle Schooling. Australian Journal of Education, 52(2), pp. 151-167.
Scales, P. C., Blyth, D. A. & Berkas, T. H., 2000. The Effects of Service-Learning on Middle School Students’ Social Responsibility and Academic Success. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 20(3), pp. 332-358.
Wellenreiter, B. R., 2018. Hallways paved with good intentions: Analyzing rules and procedures in non-classroom middle school spaces. Middle School Journal, 49(2), pp. 10-15.
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