How can Australia sustain middle school education?

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Hudson, S & Hudson, P 2012, 'How can Australia sustain middle school education?', International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum, vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 31-41.


Middle school is a crucial area of education where adolescents experiencing physiological and psychological changes, and require expert guidance. As more research evidence is provided about adolescent learning, teachers are considered pivotal to adolescents’ educational development. Reform measures need to be targeted at the inservice and preservice teacher levels. This quantitative study employs a 40-item, five part Likert scale survey to understand preservice teachers’ (n = 142) perceptions of their confidence to teach in a middle school at the conclusion of their tertiary education. The survey instrument was developed from the literature, with connections to the Queensland College of Teachers' professional standards. Results indicated that they perceived themselves as capable of creating a positive classroom environment with seven items greater than 80%, except with behaviour management (< 80% for two items), and they considered their pedagogical knowledge to be adequate (i.e., 7 out of 8 items > 84%). Items associated with implementing a middle school curriculum had varied responses (e.g., implementing literacy and numeracy were 74%, while implementing learning with real world connections was 91%). This information may assist coursework designers. For example, if a significant percentages of preservice teachers indicate that they believe they were not well prepared for assessment and reporting at the middle school level, then course designers can target these areas more effectively.

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