Monday, July 21, 2008

Negative aspects of middle schooling

I've been watching the progress of middle schooling - especially as many schools are moving to this model. As per my last article about action research, here is another topic that is affected by the all change is good brigade.

Here are some negative aspects of a typical middle schooling:
a) Middle schools typically have a different timetable to senior school, limiting subject offerings across the whole school.
b) Teachers become specialised in middle school practices limiting involvement in upper school classes.
c) Student primary to secondary school adjustment and corresponding levels of personal responsibility is delayed until year 10 (eg. behavioural issues are later to develop)
d) There is an apparent reduction in rigour of courses as a disjunct is often created between primary delivery, subsequent middle school delivery and senior school expectations
e) Behavioural and pastoral care take precedence over academic performance
f) Students become isolated from upper school modelling of appropriate behaviour
g) The consequences of non-performance in middle school (as students develop at their own meandering and dithering pace) is not immediately obvious to students.
h) Heterogenous classes (non-streamed) classes are fixed with the same content taught across multiple classes, limiting opportunity for class advancement or addressing teaching moments.
i) Teachers in middle school classes can feel isolated from their subject area
j) Resources become spread throughout the school, causing repetition and higher net cost

There are counters to each of these arguments. I know this.. but I raise some of the concerns here to promote discussion of possible pitfalls.

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