Middle School – finding the middle ground
Children learn best when they are in age appropriate settings and at the beginning of 2009, the Middle School facility for Years 6, 7 and 8 students was launched. Adolescence is a time of great physical, physiological and social change and this state-of-the art facility has been designed specifically to meet the learning needs of the young adolescent. It has proven to be a dynamic and engaging learning environment for students where they develop their identity and a strong sense of belonging. Increasingly, in Australia and a number of other OECD countries, middle schooling is seen as the best approach to optimise student learning outcomes in the age range of 10 to 15 years.
Our pastoral and learning programs in the Middle School are based on up-to-date educational research and educational frameworks from around the world. The Scotch Oakburn Curriculum is intended as an accurate reflection of the College’s Vision for Learning and its core values. This means, in the Middle School it is our belief that our young people need active learning programs specifically designed to meet their needs. As well, students need to have opportunities for personalised learning to occur to foster the skills of independent learning; increasingly being able to manage, describe and understand how they learn best.
We recognise that school is much more than categorizing learning into subjects and that a curriculum for the 21st century needs to be based on concepts and understandings but it must address the teaching of important and necessary skills to be literate and numerate. It places value in our college on such things as creativity, thinking, wellbeing, leadership and sustainability. We encourage our students to experiment, take risks, be innovative, problem solve, work collaboratively, think critically and creatively. It’s not all about giving students the answer, instead, the tools to find the answers, to achieve understanding and to be lifelong learners. To do this, the curriculum needs to be delivered in a variety of ways and students need to have clear guidelines on what constitutes successful achievement. Students need to be full partners in the learning process.
The culture of the school and the learning environment is also important. It is imperative for students to know that they are accepted, safe and understood. Each student needs to feel that they can make a difference, that they bring something unique and that their perspective is valuable. They need to be supported in a positive environment which celebrates personal best and encourages students to challenge themselves, be willing to make mistakes and learn from them. Students are leaders in both formal and informal contexts and the Year 8 leadership model ensures that all students have an authentic opportunity to contribute to the active and vibrant Middle School at Scotch Oakburn College.
After more information?
- Middle School 2013 (pdf 2 MB)
- Frequently Asked Questions about the Middle School (pdf 93 KB)