Life in Middle Years

Year 9, 2017

Learning Environment

The learning environment in the Middle Years aims to address the many and varied needs of every girl. It recognises that learning is most effective when it is relevant and purposeful and that the learning needs of girls in the middle years of schooling are specific and different from younger and older students.

Interdisciplinary learning projects that necessitate learning individually and in collaborative groups, in classrooms, playgrounds, parks or public buildings, facilitated by the creative use of technology, continue to challenge the traditional notions of schooling. Increasingly, learning occurs beyond the boundaries of classrooms enabling new knowledge to be acquired anywhere anytime. The Middle Years are a time to emphasise world citizenship, innovation and diversity through local and international partnerships; working in both the real and virtual worlds through academic and service projects.

Year 6

Mentor teachers working as a Year 6 team are each responsible for monitoring student outcomes in the learning areas of English, Mathematics, Science and Human Society and Its Environment (HSIE), for their class. Specialist teachers are responsible for monitoring student outcomes in their learning area of expertise: Languages Other than English, Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE), Creative and Performing Arts.

A major integrated unit in Year 6 is environmental investigation into Rainforests, Wetlands or Coral Reefs. Dance and Drama classes help tell a story of the importance of environmental awareness and responsibility. The culmination of classroom activities in HSIE, English, Science and Technology and PDHPE is a four-day trip to Canberra. The Pastoral Care program is designed to help the girls build relationships and develop resilience as young adolescents.

Year 7

A guiding principle of Middle Years is the provision of a supportive environment for girls in the important transition years between primary and secondary school. Mentors who teach a class in core curriculum areas monitor each girl’s academic progress and pastoral care. To allow effective integration into secondary school, members of the Year 7 teaching team are chosen as experts in their field and concentrate their teaching within the Year 7 cohort. Core curriculum teachers called ‘mentors’ teach all girls in their Mentor Class in at least two core learning areas and are responsible for the outcomes in their speciality learning areas of English and HSIE or Mathematics and Science. They also often teach the Learning to Learn course. Mentors are responsible for monitoring new girls’ settling in, assisting them to make the most of the opportunities available. Specialist teachers are responsible for outcomes in their learning area of expertise: Languages Other Than English, PDHPE, Technological and Applied Studies (TAS), and Creative and Performing Arts. At MLC School it is compulsory for students to study a foreign language from Year 7 to Year 10 with the possibility of studying a second language from Year 9.

The integrated and differentiated tasks in Year 7 meet outcomes from varied core curriculum areas including English, HSIE and Science, with themes of On Safari, Renaissance and World Heritage.

Online “games” in Quest Atlantis provide opportunities to learn how to safely blog, use social technologies and meet and respond to people online.

Year 8

Girls study a common core curriculum of English, Mathematics, Science, HSIE and Learning to Learn. Specialist teachers working in teams are responsible for the outcomes in their speciality learning areas of Languages Other Than English, PDHPE, TAS, and Creative and Performing Arts.

Learning beyond the classroom in Middle Years is the City Experience for Year 8. A school campus for the three weeks from the beginning of Term 4 is set up in the city. Focus areas enable every girl to respond to the big question ‘Do we shape our environment or does our environment shape us?’ within their identified area of interest. The girls negotiate their themed study based on interest.

Service Learning

Successful service learning programs are those where there is explicit benefit for both the provider and the recipient of the service. It is not a volunteer program or voyeuristic. It is grounded in experiences and activities that facilitate learning for everyone.

Extension of the Middle Years Service Learning program provides greater opportunity for girls to learn about other people and themselves. Make a Difference (MAD) days are held through the year. Year 6 may bake and package Christmas treats and perform concerts of Christmas
carols for neighbouring nursing homes. Fundraising activities support local and international causes. The International Food and Dance Festival celebrates our multiculturalism and provides ongoing sponsorship for two Nepalese girls to attend school. Middle Years also take responsibility for organising part of Rainbow Week. Rainbow Week is a week long festival that celebrates the diversity of the MLC School community.

The Junior Round Square student group liaise with Senior School students to raise awareness and money for international service projects associated with the Prince Alexander Fund. They also organise food and games for POD-Picnic for Orientation Day for the next year’s Year 7 girls.