Phases of Schooling

By Anthony Doornbos | Posted: Thursday October 6, 2016

Maintaining students' interest in learning through the various phases of schooling.

Physical development is characterised by accelerated growth, variable growth rates, variable degrees of co-ordination, and the development of primary and secondary sex characteristics. The sequence of physical change is generally similar from one person to another, although the onset, rate, intensity, and timing of these changes are highly individualistic. There is considerable diversity in how and when students move through this stage, and what impact this developmental stage has on each individual’s attitude and success with learning (Carr-Grieg, 2002). These differences therefore create stress and feelings of insecurity in emerging adolescents. It becomes essential that teachers maintain their students’ interest in learning and provide relevant, appropriate experiences so that they are readied for the senior phase of their schooling.

The middle phase of learning is distinctly different from the senior phase of schooling which is generally characterised as a stage when individuals can make decisions independent from their families. The senior phase is concerned more with examinations and preparation for specific vocational callings or the requirements of tertiary education.

However, during the middle phase young people are going through the rapid growth and extensive maturation that occurs in early adolescence. They require a learning environment that is uniquely geared to meeting the needs of this middle phase. A transition occurs from the early years of schooling which is characterised by the need for students to be schooled close to home. This earlier phase is a time of developing key basic learning skills, both academic (to read and to count) and social (to work as an individual and as part of a group). 

The middle schooling phase, by contrast, is characterised as schooling at a physical distance from home, the development of greater independence and developing reliance on their peer group. These changes lead to the development of self as a learner and as a citizen. Middle schooling offers the opportunity to experience diverse new and challenging learning opportunities in the three spheres of academic, social and vocational contexts.