Secondary School Learning Environment Sample

 

 

 

Secondary School Learning Environment Sample

 

 

Outline 

Introduction

Child Development Theory

New Teaching Methods

Encourage Participation

Personalized Learning

Problem-Based Learning

Collaboration and Communication

Engagement and Motivation of Learners

Cultivation of creativity & Innovation

Summaries & Reflections


 

 

Secondary School Learning Environment

Our school is located in an urban setting inhabited by diverse communities. It has middle-class early adopters who are either employed or run their own business enterprises. Our middle school depicts a student population of young, energetic and innovative students. The teens are techno-savvy and compliant with new technologies. This category of students values independence, autonomy and self-drive.

 

Child Development Theory

There has been a shift in development theories from those that managed behaviour through a goal of eliminating unwanted behaviours to that of understanding child’s behaviour. In the recent past, good behaviour would be met with rewards while bad behaviour would be discouraged through punishments. Today, behaviour is looked at as a form of communication to the educator in charge of students. The focus now is on the explanation of why there are behavioural differences among students by looking deeper into child’s medical or neurological condition; investigate any sensory impairment and social-emotional attachment. Environmental contexts such as where people come from and who people now serve as triggers of certain behaviour among students (Scott, C.L, 2015).


Educational settings now use methods such as positive behaviour support (PBS), where describing behaviour, understanding its functions, finding out factors that contribute to that behaviour and designing interventions to address the behaviour in a practical manner. The Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) is a process used by educators where information about the child or student is gathered in order to help understand the behaviour of the child. Once the causes of the behaviour have been understood the child goes through behaviour intervention plan. Another approach is the Positive Behavior Interventions Support (PBIS) is practised in both ECD and high schools. In the positive approach, the main features include: promotion of the socio-emotional development of the child or student, supports acceptable behaviour by teaching new skills, modifies the environmental setting of the child to prevent behaviour and put preventive strategies in place before the new behaviour is acquired (Scott, C.L, 2015). Even at home, parenting takes a positive approach to supporting behaviour skills at home and daycare centres.


In breaking from the past, classic disciplinary approaches are not considered effective ways to change behavior of the child or student. The disciplinary approach is criticized for its effects of inhibiting the child from exploring their full potential. PBIS approach is more responsive, respectful, individually centred, preventive and supportive of child’s socio-emotional development and long-term changes in behaviour. It is highly transformation and can make a child or pupil acquire new skills for improvement (Woodhead, 2006).

 

PlanningClassroom Interventions

Grade 7-12 students are quite older and have a wider reasoning capacity, have attained more basic skills and operate more independently. The learners are expected to be more active than passive during learning in class. They view themselves as participants in the creation of new ideas (Leadbeater, 2008). As an educator when planning pedagogical methods one has to consider 3 vital principles namely; personalization, participation and productivity (McLoughlin & Lee, 2007). As an educator learning interventions should be designed that provide real-world contexts, the learners should be in control of their projects from beginning to the end and solve problems as they emerge themselves. To achieve this; an educator requires working relationships with the students, teachers, community and colleagues (Bolstad, 2011). Research shows that learners are more successful in the attainment of skills when they build strong meta-cognitive abilities, think over new concepts objectively and integrate information with their new knowledge and acquired skills. They are capable of adapting to newly acquired knowledge for their own use and inter-mixing with other ways of knowing which nurtures creativity and originality (Lai, 2011). Meta-cognition can also be encouraged through problem-based activities that require collaboration among fellow students, the process of teamwork encourages the student s to explore new insights for knowledge use and application. In increases inter and intrapersonal skills (National Research Council, 2012). At this stage meta-cognitive development is also encouraged by problem-based learning activities that require peer collaboration. Teachers can gauge learner comprehension of new concepts and introduce newer concepts, by learning their complex ideas, evaluate their new ideas and summarize their reactions (Sawyer, 2008).


New Teaching Methods

UNICEF and UNESCO have set standards through the sustainable development goal on education for 2030 that expects inclusive and equitable quality education that promotes lifelong learning r for all based on 4 priority areas: i) expanded access to quality learning for all, ii) attention to quality education – content, relevance and learning outcomes iii) focus on equity and iv) gender equality – with aim to promote girl access to education (UNESCO & UNICEF, 2013).


Encourage Participation

Today young adults are encouraged to develop teamwork and familial relationships to assist them to learn. They share opinions, criticize ideas, change insights and comment or reflect on each other’s plans and aspirations. A class setting should have camera phones, internet webcams and virtual space that allow learners to interact and upload reports onto portals for teacher and peer evaluation (Davidson & Golberg, 2009).

Personalized Learning

21st-century learning requires learning that is student-centred and supportive of multiple pathways of skills attainment and multiple feedback mechanisms. Personalized learning requires peer-to-peer organized learning and learning autonomy (Leadbeater, 2008).


Problem-Based Learning

Learners need skills that will equip themselves to y. deal with 21st challenges independently. When learners get autonomy, control and responsibility for learning they become more creative and innovative. It forms the main idea behind problem-based learning, where students learn by solutions to real-life problems (McLoughlin & Lee, 2007).According to Trilling & Fadel, (2009), effective project learning goals include: tying project goals to curriculum, driving students with questions that lead to core concepts, knowledge building through research and inquiry, learners in control of learning design and real-world problem-solving experiences.

 

Collaboration and Communication

Teacher–lecture know-it-all attitude has changed to collaborative learning where the pairing of learners is done for the purpose of achieving learning goals. It involves joint intellectual efforts by learners or learners and teachers together.


Engagement and Motivation of Learners

Informal kind of learning generates more interest than routine formal learning common in most schools. Rote learning and factual memorization of knowledge make learning either irrelevant or boring to learners (Davidson, Goldberg et al. 2009). Standard transmission model undermines the possibility of developing new skills because lack of relevance demotivates the students (Saavedra & Opfer, 2012).

 

Cultivation of creativity & Innovation

Innovation results from improvisation, collaborative and creative circles teams. But it is not easy for educators to deviate from known to unknown realms of knowledge. Few teachers have the courage to let students create knowledge but rather assume that available knowledge is static and complete for students (Sawyer, 2008). There is need to provide opportunities that tap into learners’ creativity and innovation.


Summaries & Reflections

The old-school style of learning where behaviour was managed via a goal of eliminating unwanted behaviours changed to that of understanding child’s behaviour. In the recent past, good behaviour would be met with rewards while bad behaviour would be discouraged through punishments. Progressive development learning now focuses on opportunity creation and improvisation style of teaching pedagogy that lets students take the initiative in learning.

 

Positive Behavior Interventions Support (PBIS) development approach is now the new model practised in both ECD and high schools. The classical rote learning approach characterized by teacher-lecturer mentality is long gone and overtaken by events. Today learning encourages student-centred models that support and encourage students as the drivers of knowledge while teachers play a facilitative role. Innovation and creativity based learning to require the provision of a real-world setting for problem-solving that triggers student attachments to innovative learning.

 

Conversely, the old mentality style of rote learning still hangs over in some schools where teachers find it difficult to adapt to more liberalized learning styles. It is the style of learning that believed students should become employees rather than employers. An innovative and creative style of collaborative learning is not defined or routine and adapts anything-goes attitude. This style is difficult to contain because the teacher does not know what to expect from innovating minds. The teacher has a limited role of observing, making sense of new emerging concepts and thinking conventionally to incorporate the new ideas. The style of teaching lets students become techno-savvy solvers of community problems.


References

Bolstad, R. 2011. Taking a ‘Future Focus’ in Education – What Does It Mean? NZCER Working Paper. Wellington, NewZealand Council for Educational Research. www.nzcer. org.nz/ system/fles/taking-future-focus-in-education.pdf (Accessed 8 March 2014).

Davidson, C.N. and Goldberg, D.T. with the assistance of Jones, Z.M. 2009. The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age. MacArthur Foundation Reports on Digital Media and Learning. Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press. http://mitpress.mit. edu/sites/default/fles/titles/free_download/9780262513593 Future_of_Learning.pdf (Accessed 19 February 2014).

Lai, E.R. 2011. Metacognition: A Literature Review. Pearson Research Report. Upper Saddle River, NJ, Pearson Education.http://images.pearsonassessments.com/ images/tmrs/Metacognition_Literature_Review_Final.pdf (Accessed 30 July 2014).

Leadbeater, C. and Wong, A. 2010. Learning from the Extremes: A White Paper. San Jose, Calif., Cisco Systems Inc.www.cisco.com/web/about/citizenship/socio-economic/docs/ Learning fromExtremes_WhitePaper.pdf (Accessed 24 May 2014)

McLoughlin, C. and Lee, M.J.W. 2007. Social software and participatory learning: pedagogical choices with technology affordances in the Web 2.0 era. ICT: Providing Choices for Learners and Learning: Proceedings Ascilite Singapore 2007, pp. 664-675. www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/ singapore07/procs/mcloughlin.pdf (Accessed 7 July 2014).

National Research Council. 2012. Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21stCentury. Washington DC, National Academies Press.


 

Saavedra, A. and Opfer, V. 2012. Teaching and Learning 21st Century Skills: Lessons from the Learning Sciences. A Global Cities Education Network Report. New York, Asia Society. http://asiasociety.org/fles/rand-0512report.pdf (Accessed 8 July 2014)

Sawyer, R.K. 2004. Creative teaching: collaborative discussion as disciplined improvisation. Educational Researcher, Vol. 33, No. 2, pp. 12-20. www.unc.edu/home/rksawyer/PDFs/ Creative_teaching.pdf (Accessed 15 June 2014)

Scott, C.L. (2015). The Futures Of Learning 3: What Kind Of Pedagogies for The 21st Century?. UNESCO

Trilling, B. and Fadel, C. 2009. 21st Century Skills: Learning for Life in Our Times. San Francisco, Calif., Jossey-Bass/ John Wiley & Sons, Inc. https://yasamboyuogrenme. wikispaces.com/fle/view/21st+CENTURY+ SKILLS.pdf. (Accessed 20 May 2014).

UNESCO & UNICEF, (2013). Policy Guidelines for Mobile Learning. Paris, UNESCO. http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002196/219641e.pdf (Accessed 29 April 2014)

Woodhead,M. (2006). Changing Perspectives on Early Childhood: Theory, Research and Policy. UNESCO

 

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