Friday, 1 July 2016

Bridging The Gap

Today we were given the opportunity to visit schools in the cluster for observations in the classrooms. I took the opportunity to attempt to understand the preparation for high school at the intermediate level. I visited two Year 7 & 8 classes at Tamaki Primary and Glenbrae Primary and observed what they were doing in their classrooms, in order to consider where they are before they come to Tamaki College.

I fear students may not be prepared well for the transition from primary school into secondary school, and similarly may not be supported enough when they arrive at secondary school. I feel there is a huge gap between Year 8 and Year 9, which is impacting on the learning and behaviour of the students individually and collectively. After today, I am wanting to complete some more observations in classrooms, as well as read some research around this transition, and how to assist the students and teachers through the transition.

The major reflections I have had throughout the day are;

Year 9 possibly need a little more structure, and less flexibility to create patterns, expectations and normalities within the classes. The students I observed at Tamaki had home groups they worked in at the beginning of  every day, and they moved quickly and quietly to complete their tasks in these home groups. The home groups was essentially a seating plan, but a place where the students know they are completing work independently, rather than collectively. I have been thinking how some of our students may rely on others to complete their work for them, or they have not developed skills and knowledge of how to work on their own, so I want to try and include more independent tasks.

Don’t try fix something that isn’t broken - if the students are working well, don’t ruin that. I noticed some students lose their energy and excitement as they were asked to stop working together, even though they were on task.

I loved how they were breaking down things simply, and critically. However sometimes the students weren’t understanding why they were having those discussions, how this is relevant to their lives and broader understanding. So, I want to encourage students to link learning to their interests and lives, so there is more meaning to them. I think this would mean the students would understand why they are learning what they are learning too.

When students were provided with an umbrella task/goal with some flexibility to choose what they wanted to research and what they wanted to create; there was a buy in and high engagement (reiterating to me again the importance of student choice).

Overall I really enjoyed the day and learnt lots of bits and pieces I can take away and ponder for now and the future. This transition is important, and I definitely think there needs to be some work with teachers, primary and secondary, around how to help one another to subsequently help the kids move from primary to secondary effectively and efficiently.


  1. Great Georgia to see your openness to ideas from your Primary colleagues and how you could use some of their practice in your Secondary classes. Being able to reflect on 'why you do what you do' and articulate these beliefs, is a vital part to becoming an adaptive expert. You realise the importance that collaboration and being a team player, contributes, in this journey.

    1. Thanks Anne, I definitely do appreciate how teachers interelate and collate with one another determines the flow between year levels. I fear we focus too much on the flow between years at highschool and similarly the flow between years at primary school - but what about between the two? Year 9 is petrifying and confusing as a developing adolescent placed into a new world, so we need to be sure the students feel as supported and comfortable with the transition as possible (not only academically, but holistically). How to do that and what we need to do is the question..


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