Date of Award

1996

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours

School

School of Education

Faculty

Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Rod Chadbourne

Abstract

In 1995 an independent girls' school in Perth, Western Australia, decided to introduce a Middle School. 'This meant changing the traditional structure of grouping children aged between 5 and 12 years into primary school and children aged between 13 and 17 years into secondary school. The aim of the Middle School was to provide increased educational opportunities for 12 to 14 year old students. When the introduction of a Middle School was announced teaching staff expressed a number of concerns with respect to their new roles and the new school operations. These concerns raised questions about whether years of teaching experience and subject department membership had any effect on the staffs' perceptions of the introduction of the Middle School. The study investigated these questions within the framework of qualitative methodology by collecting data from participant observation, interviews and documents, and analysing it by using the constant comparative method. In broad terms, the findings in the study indicated that the teaching staff at the school were willing to implement the educational changes associated with introducing a Middle School. 'This acceptance, however, was conditional upon their concerns being satisfactorily addressed. In general the concerns focussed on the need for whole school communication, the availability of appropriate and practical professional development opportunities and the capacity to be involved in the decision making process. These concerns tended to be consistent among staff regardless of years of teaching experience or the department to which they belonged. This study provided an opportunity for staff to express views about the impact of introducing the Middle School. It also gave the school's administration a chance to become aware of teachers' concerns that had to be addressed when attempting to manage a major structural change. Ultimately the study may enhance the prospect of other schools being able to more effectively implement a Middle School because they will be better placed to anticipate and accommodate staff uncertainties.

Share

 
COinS