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Andrew Seaton argued in 2002 that research into educational innovation in Queensland reveals that” little of significance [had] changed” (2002: 33).  While new schools, especially those with purpose designed middle schools may be on the road to a successful transformation of education for young people, the reality is that older, conservative schools (particularly many private schools) have changed little over the past decades despite the significant cultural changes which have radically transformed our society and, consequently, the needs of learners in the twenty-first century. 

A core philosophy which drives recent initiatives in pedagogy is a developmental responsiveness to the learning needs of adolescents in the middle years of schooling (Beane, 1999:5).   Cummings has described this period as “a phase of schooling that bridges the conventional primary/secondary divide with a view to responding more effectively to the specific developmental needs of adolescents” (1998: 5).

Certainly, Educational digital learning management platforms have become a lucrative business this century- it is a shame that professional learning for teachers in how best to organise effective teaching and learning experiences in this environment seems less a priority.

Now that exams are over and the term is winding up, it is time for students who are series about academic success to reflect honestly on their approach to their studies ad to plan the way forward next term. This blog contains ideas about strategies you can use to focus yourself on behaviours designed to maximise your potential.

Test anxiety is a psychological condition experienced during testing conditions.  It is an intense worry or fear of failure during an exam.  While some degree of nervousness is normal and can actually be helpful making you feel both mentally and physically alert, test anxiety can hinder learning and cause poor test performance.  

While the use of ICT tools in schools is potentially one of the most significant changes to face education in the 21st century, it appears to be a change for which many schools are ill prepared. London School of Economics Academic, Sonia Livingstone pointed out recently that, “children [are] often the ‘canary in the coal mine’ – experiencing life in the digital age before parents, teachers or governments have caught up.” (2019).  Given that the internet is now 30 years old, making it the same age as the key formulation of children’s rights, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, it is timely to evaluate and discuss the significance challenges and opportunities posed by learning in the digital age.

Stephen King once said, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to anything else. Simple as that.” .Recently, I read some wonderful advice from blogger Ryan Holiday about how to ‘punch above your weight’ when it comes to reading. As someone who understands the value of reading, I thought I would pass this along to you with my own ideas thrown into the mix.

HOW CAN TEACHERS HELP STUDENTS FIND THEIR ZONE?  Explore collaborative learning with your students.  According to Vygotsky, students learn best in socially rich environments which provide them with opportunities to explore subjects with their teachers and peers. (Zimmerman & Shunk, 2001, p.220) Such an environment may be created using collaborative learning models where, research has shown, such learning environments are conducive to learning higher-order cognitive tasks such as analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and problem solving.

HOW CAN TEACHERS HELP STUDENTS FIND THE ZONE?  Begin with pre-testing of students.  In his seminal text, Basic Principles of Curriculum and instruction, Ralph Tyler pointed out as early as 1949 that “Without knowing where the students were at the beginning, it is not possible to tell how far changes have taken place “(p. 106). He further argued that, “It is clear that an educational evaluation involves at least two appraisals-one taking place in the early part of the program and the other at some later part so that the change may be measured.”

We all want to raise responsible children. After all, it’s a vital trait for success in school and in life. As they learn and develop, children want and need responsibility.  It’s an important part of their growth and development.  The primary and pre-teen years are a prime time for children to acquire the skills to plan, meet deadlines, follow through on promises and make sensible decisions. 

Educational research often makes much of Vygotsky's theory that the potential for cognitive development is limited to a certain time span which he calls the "zone of proximal development" (ZPD). Furthermore, Vugotsky claims, full development during the "zone of proximal development" (ZPD) depends upon full social interaction.

It is a disappointing fact that for many academically able students, Primary school offers little if any challenge. Many students cruise through primary school achieving high grades with little if any effort. It might be thought that this was a good thing for such students. Nothing could be further from the truth! In particular, where primary school has required little but rote recall and compliant behaviour of students, such students are ill-prepared for both higher education and the real world.

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