Teaching and Learning in Middle Schooling: A Review of the Literature

Publication Details

This paper is a summary of a review of literature carried out in 2007 for the Ministry of Education by Dinham and Rowe of the Australian Council for Educational Research.

Their review, and the summary presented here, are components of a Ministry research programme focused on teaching and learning in the middle schooling years. Other projects within the programme include: a "Study of Students’ Transition from Primary to Secondary Schooling"; an investigation of the skills, knowledge and values that may be required by teachers to most effectively meet the needs of Years 7 to 10 students; and an in-depth analysis of ‘student engagement’ during the middle schooling years.

Author(s): Ministry of Education

Date Published: March 2009

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Section 2: Rationale for Investigation

The Ministry's rationale for commissioning the review was set out as follows:

  • New Zealand needs a well educated population to ensure its economic, democratic and social wellbeing.
  • Government has a responsibility to develop a school network for the twenty-first century which ensures that the schooling system delivers high quality outcomes for all students.
  • Research evidence clearly shows that what teachers know and do is one of the most important influences on what students learn. Effective teaching is identified as a key system lever for high quality outcomes for students in their middle years of schooling.
  • While evidence indicates that the structure of a school does not, per se, greatly influence student outcomes, new or changed arrangements can act as a catalyst for changing thinking and teaching practice.
  • The Ministry is interested in encouraging age-appropriate pedagogies rather than promoting a particular schooling model, because there is strong acceptance that the performance of individual teachers outweighs the effects of other variables such as school size and school structure.