Meeting the needs of Years 7-8 students in Aotearoa/New Zealand: middle level teachers talk about their practice

Dowden, Tony and Shanks, Brenda (2015) Meeting the needs of Years 7-8 students in Aotearoa/New Zealand: middle level teachers talk about their practice. In: Annual International Australian Association for Research in Education Conference 2015 (AARE 2015) , 29 Nov - 3 Dec 2015, Fremantle, Australia.


The New Zealand Curriculum (Ministry of Education, 2007) mandates that all schools catering for Years 7-10 students must provide high quality schooling tailored to the specific needs of young adolescents, however the well-documented disengagement rates of young people in the 10-15 year age group (Durling, 2007; Gibbs & Poskitt, 2010) viewed in tandem with successive evaluation reports by the Education Review Office (ERO), paint a somewhat different scenario. These negative perspectives raise important questions in relation to the preparedness and capability of middle level teachers to implement the philosophy and intent of the curriculum, with respect to Years 7-10.

The aim of the study was to investigate the extent to which Years 7-8 teachers believe they are prepared for teaching young adolescent learners and to explore their philosophy of teaching and learning for the middle years. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with six Years 7-8 teachers based in schools drawn from three different school configurations: an intermediate school (Years 7-8), a combined intermediate/high school (Years 7-13), and a full primary school Years 1-8. The data were analysed and discussed according to emergent themes and participants’ voices were integrated, through the use of quotes, to illustrate each theme. Despite evidence of the participating Year 7-8 teachers’ commitment to teaching at this level, the findings revealed their generally superficial knowledge and understanding of the developmental and educational needs of young adolescents and of concomitant pedagogy and practice. This has clear implications for the future provision of initial teacher education and in-service professional learning and development. If the vision, principles, values and key competencies, encapsulated in the NZ curriculum, are to become a reality for young adolescent learners, a more nuanced and coordinated approach to teacher education is imperative.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Speech)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Electronic version of paper not available. Abstract only published in conference proceedings.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2016 03:15
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2017 06:44
Uncontrolled Keywords: New Zealand; middle school
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130313 Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939999 Education and Training not elsewhere classified

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