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Knowledge of adolescent development

Adolescence is a time characterised by significant physical, social, emotional, and intellectual change for young people. Teachers of middle years students should be aware of and take into account the particular developmental needs of the young adolescents they teach.

What the research says

Wellington student.
  • Students in the middle years of schooling derive standards and models of behaviour from their peers, and acceptance by the group is central to their confidence and well-being.
  • Early adolescence is the time when young people begin moving away from dependence on family to establishing autonomous views and modes of operation.
  • At the same time they need frequent affirmation as well as love and acceptance from adults.
  • Students prefer active over passive learning experiences and favour working with their peers during learning activities.

Improving the Transition: Reducing Social and Psychological Morbidity During Adolescence
This report was released in May 2011 from the taskforce headed by Sir Peter Gluckman.

Teaching and Learning in Middle Schooling: A Review of the Literature (2008) (PDF 620KB)
A review of literature carried out in 2007 for the Ministry of Education by Dinham and Rowe of the Australian Council for Educational Research looks at the impact of teaching and learning during the middle school years on student engagement, achievement, and attitudes to learning.

Middle Years Teacher Credentialing in Aotearoa/New Zealand (2008)
Penny A Bishop, from the University of Vermont, came to New Zealand on an Ian Axford Fellowships in Public Policy in 2008 to look at the relationship between teacher preparation and qualifications and the education of young adolescents in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Students’ Achievement as they Transition from Primary to Secondary Schooling (2008)
Two further reports on students’ transition from primary to secondary schooling, a study carried out by the Ministry of Education, are also available.

The Case of Emily: A Focus on Students as they Transition from Primary to Secondary Schooling (2008)
This is one of three reports on a study that followed a diverse group of New Zealand students as they made the transition from primary to secondary schooling, progressing through year 9 and in to year 10.

Transition to Secondary School: A Literature Review (2003)
A review of New Zealand and international literature undertaken in 2003 looked at the transition from primary to secondary schooling and, in particular, the impact of transition upon student achievement and adjustment to secondary school.

Published on: 19 Jan 2012