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|Title:||Good Transitions: through the eyes of Primary and Secondary Principals|
|Citation:||Paper presented at Cornerstones: a conference for public education, held 22-23 September 2006 at the Wesley Centre, 220 Pitt St. Sydney.|
|Abstract:||Students in the “middle years” of schooling: years 5 to 9 (aged 10-15), have very different learning and social needs from younger children and older adolescents. This is a period of rapid development in all areas: intellectual, social, physical, emotional and psychological, and moral understanding. Research indicates that brain growth peaks at about age 11 in girls and 12 in boys, at which time permanent consolidations begin to be made (Giedd et al., 1999). It appears that connections in the adolescent brain are strengthened through practice, and those not reinforced are lost. Clearly, this ‘use it or lose it’ principle has serious ramifications: intellectual stimulation is vital in early adolescence. Of equal importance during this period is sensitivity to complex needs, as young people move from concrete to abstract thinking, critical analysis and establishing emerging adult identity. Adolescents respond in a variety of ways to the challenges of their (internal and external) environments, and need to be offered multiple strategies for adjusting to change (Dahl, 2004). Transition from primary to secondary schooling provides one of the most consistent challenges to the majority of young adolescents, as students face physical and social dislocation, and an entirely new learning program. At any time of life, a change of the magnitude of moving from primary school to high school would cause significant disruption; during early adolescence this is exacerbated by the developmental challenges the young people face. Acknowledgement of these pressures upon students moving from primary to secondary school has lead to the introduction of programs designed to facilitate smooth transition (Galton, Gray and Rudduck, 1999). In NSW these have included a website outlining a range of strategies and the appointment of a full-time position to assist groups of schools with their implementation. The present study aimed to examine the implementation and practicability of these strategies, by seeking the opinions of principals in both primary and secondary schools. An online questionnaire was circulated, listing 20 designated strategies and asking, with regard to each: (i) how important is this strategy? (ii) how widely is it being implemented? and (iii) if it is considered of high importance but is not being widely implemented, why not?|
|Appears in Collections:||Research Papers and Publications. Education and Social Work|
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