The Middle School at the Australian International School seeks to respond to the students’ needs to grow and change, to become independent and to develop into active and reflective participants in society. It offers these opportunities in a safe and supportive environment, which creates a link between the Primary and the emerging Senior School and eases each student’s transition through schooling.
Understanding the needs of our individuals is a key part of any middle school. At AIS, the Middle School is comprised of students in Grades Six to Nine. Students in this phase undergo significant changes that require different school structures and a curriculum that is cross curricular, skills focused, futures-driven and embedded with higher order thinking. Similar to the structure in delivery of teaching in the Junior School all students participate in the learning of all core subjects. While becoming more subject based than in the Junior School, the Middle School consists of two teaching teams. Our teams consist of English and the Humanities and Mathematics and the Sciences which differ again from the Senior School where student selected subjects determine the class and teacher.
At AIS, we implement the middle years of schooling philosophy. Our young adolescents place great importance on advancing and enhancing the teacher-student relationship; they seek to develop collaborative approaches to learning and teaching, nurturing independence and forming a sense of identity. The curriculum must challenge our students but also allow them to make connections and seek purposeful resolutions to worldly problems. Students need to be able to experiment and feel guided and mentored rather than instructed.
Our teachers use an array of teaching strategies because there is no single, universal approach that suits all situations. Aligning strategies with student learning styles and needs will improve learning outcomes. At AIS, we place great importance on ‘knowing our students’. We deliberately collect data and background knowledge on our students so we can tailor the learning to meet the physical, social and intellectual needs of our students and build the supportive positive environment for their well-being and maximum learning.
The commitment to forming and maintaining positive relationships and interactions and being solutions-focused promotes the well-being of students, teachers and the school community. This commitment improves students’ and teachers’ confidence and contributes to their sense of purpose for being at school. Finally it builds community confidence in the quality of learning and teaching at AIS.