Education is the foundation on which a country is built. Every decade has brought some changes to the society and the world around. The history in the older era has been vital and diverse in terms of education.
The early 20th century was based on age-consciousness which actually brought reforms like social, economic and educational. This era brought Education Act in Australia which demanded compulsory attendance in classrooms. Sporting associations felt compelled to separate youth and adults by organising age-graded sporting teams. Indigenous young people were virtually excluded from all the peer-related institutions and activities for most of the 20th century.
In the early years of this century, schools were categorised into batches of students with same age and educational subjects. In the Australian states, there was a segregation in terms of schools for wealthy and others. Also, there was a further division of boys and girls study courses as per their genders, for instance, working class trades for boys and home science for girls. There used to be different curricula and schools as per gender. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth sometimes found it hard to get much schooling of any kind.
Australian educators were concerned for the adolescents and hence researched at their own levels. In New South Wales, Cole found that the students leaving school ended up without useful credentials. For South Australia, Adolf Schulz found that there should be separate courses like in terms of commerce, technology and home-making. There was still a commitment to a useful education for all adolescents grouped from age of 12 years to 14 years.
The growth of psychology and the increasing subdivision of adolescence into stages became an important justification for middle schools. In Australia, differentiated secondary schooling gradually gave way to comprehensive high schools, first in Western Australia and New South Wales. If we talk about the new era, i.e. the 21st century, there have been many upgrades and inventions in the technological world.
Comparing the 20th century with the 21st century, the engagement of secondary schools has got quite advanced and modernised now. The study in the 20th century was time based wherein now the schools focus on results instead. The students should be able to attain outcomes out of what the are learning. Apart from this 20th century was driven by what students read in books and memorising facts whereas today, we believe more in results out of research. Exposure is given to brainstorming in this era.
The teachers in 20th century used to be at authoritative position which always gave fear to the students instead of the compatibility and comfort. Another good thing that 21st century has got with these years is that the teachers are more of the facilitators and mentors to students today. Students use information they have located to construct their knowledge and understanding. Also, the curriculum in 20th century was majorly fragmented (designed in a set pattern) whereas presently we have integrated curriculum (focussing on students’ diversity) in schools. Literacy was reading, writing and maths whereas multiple literacies aligned to living and working in a globalised new millennium is the trend in 21st century.
The methods that students used in 20th century used to be isolated from fellow students but the advancement of 21st century reflects that the collaborative learning gives better results in terms of interests and brain development. One gets to know more from one another.
The most visible method in the teaching pedagogy in 20th century was that the adolescents were taught in closed four walls with the setup making them sit quietly in rows and columns and listen to the lecturer on the topic of their course. “One was bound to be disciplined instead of wanting to.” Amazing thing in 21st century that is already there is that the classrooms are global and can be virtual being online.
Scales and rubrics are an important aspect if students are expected to understand and learn knowledge. The term scales and rubrics are usually mistaken as being similar but they have vigilant differences. Rubrics tend to be specific to one task. For example, a teacher might design a rubric to examine student performance on a specific writing prompt like “Describe your favourite food and what makes it so special.” A scale describes a progression of knowledge or skill. For example, a scale might describe the progression of knowledge leading up to an ability to logics of finding fractions of a particular number of multiple digits. Students understand the development of knowledge they are expected to be expert in and where they are along that development. They understand how test scores and grades are linked to their status on the progression of knowledge they have to reach. This occurs when the teachers provide and communicate clear learning goals and use assessments when required. When educators use engagement strategies, students are paying attention, are energised, intrigued and inspired. When teachers build a relationship with their students, they feel welcome, accepted and valued.
The researches by Munns et al. (2006) in context to the Fair Go Project, which is a joint initiative by the NSW Department of Education and Training and the University of Western Sydney, has tried emphasising on the fact that the schools are for the youth. It implied that the teachers should play a role as the facilitator to help students engage with the classroom practices. This engagement is without any kind of biasness like the tradition, religion, caste, colour, wealth, etc. The fair go tends to aim on equality, justice and opportunities to study to all.
Some parents and experts believe that ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and brilliance/talent are interconnected to each other. There have been cases where ADHD challenges could lead students taking inventive risks and generating new, innovative ideas. There’s no proven evidence that ADHD (also known as ADD) leads to creativity but there are a few surveys that suggest that the challenges of ADHD may actually have an advantage. There are a large number of actors, musicians and other types of artists with ADHD. Children with ADHD work best under close monitoring and with minimal distraction. Placing them closest to self can enable discreet interaction between the teacher and the child and help keep the child on task. Being at the front of the class often reduces many visual distractions, including the movement and activities of the other students hence avoid seating children with ADHD in large clusters of tables with many students at each. Use displays to celebrate individual student’s good work. The challenge is to find strategies that enable us to teach the curriculum in a way that also assists in managing the behaviours of the child with ADHD. This may mean modifying the curriculum and the mode of delivery.
Teaching adolescents needs many areas to cover as a questionnaire from self as a teacher.
• How well do I know students in my class?
• Have I started an individual record of behaviour for each student?
• Do I know each student’s general school achievement?
• What are their specific achievement needs in terms of skills?
• What have been some significant aspects of social behaviour for each student?
• Which students have physical handicaps?
• Which students have emotional difficulties?
• Which students need particular help in social adjustment?
Although most developmental theorists agree that humans develop at different rates, that development is relatively orderly and that development takes place gradually, on other matters there is considerable disagreement. For example:
• Are the major forces influencing development due to the environment or are they determined at birth?
• Are there similar patterns of development for all children or are there many unique paths?
• Is development sequential and cumulative or is it best characterised by stages and developmental leaps?
Jean Piaget (1896-1980) was the inventor of cognitive theory. He believed there is a biological inevitability to how children develop. He used the term ‘schema’ to demonstrate how children actively construct their world. A schema is a concept or framework that exists in an individual’s mind to organise and interpret information (Santrock 2001).
Piaget also used the term ‘cognitive equilibrium’ to explain why children use the processes of assimilation and accommodation. Cognitive equilibrium is a state of mental balance. When a child has a new experience that does not fit into his/her existing understanding then a state of ‘cognitive disequilibrium’ occurs. Initially this produces confusion but it eventually leads to cognitive growth (Berger 2000).
Adolescents and young adults have to adapt to puberty change, occupational choice. It is a critical identity crisis stage for adolescents in terms of psychosociology. Adolescents at this stage have to make major decisions about who they are and who they want to become. It involves establishing a variety of identities, including a clear sexual identity, an occupational identity and a family identity.
Middle years philosophy has premised itself upon the belief that it is possible for the kinds of classroom and organisational experiences that students encounter in their schooling to go through these risks. This concept effectively extends the idea of educational risk experienced by students in disadvantaged categories (e.g. non-English-speaking background, Indigenous, low socio-economic status) to all students entering the middle years. In this view, all students are at risk of making poor life-determining choices; all students are simultaneously a risk and at risk. The developmental education literature around early adolescence strongly advocates the provision of supportive environments, pastoral care programs and strong positive role models to ensure that students are supported in making good choices. In this endeavour, the school and the classroom take on the role of safe and secure haven where the early adolescent has the opportunity to develop positive social values and practices. There is a strong sense of reclaiming the early adolescent via a set of secure and safe practices, and the development of a shared moral and social code which, it is anticipated, will mediate the negative risks associated with the stage of development.
In a two-tiered educational system which differentiates between primary and secondary schooling, as the Australian system has until quite recently done, the middle years traditionally mark the site of a significant educational transition for students. It is believed that each student typically faces a range of challenges as they make the move from primary to secondary school-a move it is argued, which is made even more challenging by the nature of early adolescence. These include:
• the need to move to a new physical site, with the attendant issues around transport, and unfamiliarity with new environments and uniforms;
• the loss of affinity and friendship groups as students disperse to a range of secondary providers;
• sudden anonymity in a new, often larger school;
• content-focused rather than learner-focused curriculum;
• larger class sizes and content-focused pedagogies;
• rigid timetable structures;
• the loss of a home classroom and a single teacher.
So, what becomes important for them in that early adolescent level is the organisation for learning. Using laptops can be helpful, for example, when we can ask questions/answers of others in our class or school. There should be a clarity between must do and can do. Accessibility to the internet’s viable sites. A flexibility in the timetable is another important thing that can resolve the transition problems as it helps them to do self-management and time management simultaneously. To add on to it, there should be systems for booking time with teacher or groups of students to discuss topics. Silent rooms and separate spaces for quiet discussion. For self-management, they should be allowed to use background music of there own choices as some children are more comfortable with music.