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Middle Years of Schooling

The key aim of this Special Interest Group is to create and support strategic opportunities to enhance the momentum and advocacy around middle years research, and the consolidation of evidence based practice in middle years education.

Rationale

The rationale for establishing a SIG Middle Years Education was founded on the unprecedented uptake of middle years of schooling practices that Australia has witnessed over the past decade. What began as a grassroots movement in Australia is now adopted and advocated for by State Education Departments and governing bodies. Not only has the middle years of schooling movement and their associated reforms brought about significant change in the way schools are conceptualizing curriculum, pedagogy and structural organization (see Barratt, 1998; Australian Curriculum Studies Association, 1996; Cuttance, Angus, Chadbourne, Crowther, Hann, McMaster, Russell, Hill, Jones, Mackay, Stokes, Zbar, Olney & Jane., 2001; Chadbourne, 2001; Luke et al., 2003; Pendergast et al., 2005). It has also resulted in a number of Australian universities creating programs that focus on the needs of middle years learners (Pendergarst & Bahr, 2005; Aspland & Crosswell, 2006). One of the key points of concern for middle years educators and middle years researchers is that many of the common middle years practices and assumptions are not founded on evidence-based research. Thus a strategic and collaborative approach to research in the middle years is imperative in Australia.

In recent years there have been re-occurring and regular discussions around the need to create and sustain stronger networks for Middle Years researchers. Forums that this issue has been raised and discussed include the Western Australian Middle Years Conference, The University of Queensland Middle Years teacher education meetings, Middle Years Schooling Association (MYSA) Committee meetings, MYSA conferences, Australian Teacher Education Association symposia, and Australian Association of Research in Education symposia. Thus, the Middle Years Education SIG seeks to in part address this need and at the same time establish and strengthen an Australian Middle Years research agenda. The Middle Years Education SIG offers academics and educators researching in Middle Years education the opportunity to network, with a view to raising the profile of middle years education research in Australia.

Aims

The aims of the Middle Years Education SIG are to:

  • Provide an arena for discussion, debate and possible strategic approaches to raising middle years research agendas.
  • Raise the profile of research in, of, and for middle years of schooling in universities, schools and educational settings.
  • Support members to publish their middle years research and provide a network that enables collaboration in research and publishing between members.
  • Provide a supportive environment for individual members to present their research and seek feedback from other members.
  • Enable networking, informal information sharing and discussion about members' middle years research projects.
  • Facilitate and support joint publications by members, as joint papers, journal special issues or books

Activities

The SIG aims to:

  • Facilitate a network of middle years researchers that meet annually and formally at AARE, but also meet in more informal ways throughout the year.
  • Support collaboration in research and publishing between members.
  • Organise workshops and/or research forums to develop long term goals for middle years research and capacity building amongst members
  • Encourage and host visiting scholars opportunities
  • Provide a supportive environment for individual members to present their research and seek feedback from other members

Convenor

Dr Tony Dowden
University of Southern Queensland
School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
Springfield Qld 4300

Phone: 07 3470 4370
Fax: 07 3470 4301
Email: Tony Dowden

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