CRE1: How people develop1

What it means to be a secondary school student

Student’s transition from primary to secondary can be complicated by the social, emotional and physiological changes that can negatively impact on their learning. Teachers that understand how these changes impact on their students are better placed to help students make positive adjustments to their new school. This section shares research that explains transitions.

When students change class/schools/levels within or between schools, they must adjust to new surroundings, become familiar with new teachers and peers, learn new ways of working, and make sense of the rules and routines that operate in their classes (Sanders et al, 2005). While students are navigating the formal school environment, they are also adjusting to the social changes that happen when changing schools and classes.

Image result for secondary school student

The National Middle School Association (1995) identifies five key aspects occurring when adolescents move from childhood to adulthood that are useful to consider when thinking about the provision for students at transitions. The table below outlines the changes ERO has observed and includes possible implications for schools’ practices. 

Aspects Characteristic Implications
Intellectual Young adolescent learners are curious, motivated to achieve when challenged, and capable of critical and complex thinking Students have opportunities to be curious and to have their thinking extended and challenged.
Social Young adolescent learners have an intense need to belong and be accepted by their peers while finding their own place in the world. They are involved in forming and questioning their identities on many different levels. Students’ need to be social and to know about themselves, is met through a culturally responsive programme and a classroom culture that celebrates diversity.
Physical Young adolescent learners mature at varying rates and go through rapid and irregular physical growth, with bodily changes that can cause awkward and uncoordinated movements. The programme caters well for students’ needs to be physically active.
Emotional and psychological Young adolescent learners are vulnerable and self conscious, and often experience unpredictable mood swings Teachers are sensitive to the emotional and psychological changes that are happening to students.
Moral With their new sense of the larger world around them, young adolescent learners are idealistic and want to have an impact on making the world a better place. There are opportunities for students to participate in decision-making that affects their life within the school.

The Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development (1989) asserts that students’ academic failure can be partially accounted for by the mismatch between the schools organisational structure and curriculum and the intellectual, social, physical, and emotional needs of adolescents. Schools should be thinking about the wellbeing and learning needs of adolescents and responding appropriately to the changes that are taking place for this age group (Ministry of Education, 2010). As part of this response to adolescent students, schools should identify which groups of students are most at risk. Some of the threats to students’ successful adaption to school might be as a result of ‘normal’ adolescent change. Other threats might be environmental. In either case, there are practices that schools can use to pave the way for students.

Desire for secondary school education.

Students need to make positive adjustments to their new school and classes so that their wellbeing is maintained and their learning is coherent and continuous. McGee et al (2003) found that there was a strong correlation between the extent to which students experienced difficulty following transition and their likelihood of dropping out from education. Other research indicates that poor transitions impact on students’ wellbeing and on their achievement in the future (West et al, 2008). Where students experience multiple transitions because of transience, there are identifiable negative impacts on their achievement.

  • their current learning follows on from their previous learning (the curriculum is connected and continuous) and is appropriately challenging
  • learning is interesting, relevant and is fun
  • their families have been included in decisions
  • they are physically and emotionally safe
  • they have opportunities to try new, exciting things and/or extend their particular skills/interests (eg, through extra-curricular activities).


Sharing is more than being kind.

Sharing is to use, occupy, or enjoy (something) jointly with another or others.( Dictionary meaning)

There are levels of sharing. Each level has the power to build a deeper relationship. Not all sharing is deep and bonding, but it can be.

For example, sharing a seat on the subway in silence versus sharing a joke and some laughter with someone. Both are sharing the same experience physically but the difference is the emotional connection or lack of.

Sharing a meal is a great way to connect. There’s always emotion involved when there’s food. Sharing a meal also creates plenty of space for conversation.

Conversation is sharing. By definition, a conversation is an exchange. It’s what we exchange that can bind us together.

Sharing memories is a powerful tool to build with. When we share memories they come alive.

When we begin to share from our hearts we begin to build a bond.

Sharing has the power to bind us together.

Young children don’t want to share. They have to learn how. It’s more than teaching them to be kind. They need to learn what’s theirs before they can learn to share. Sharing what belongs to them helps them build relationships and learn interdependence.

Learning who we are what is ours is the beginning of independence. But true satisfaction is found in interdependence.

Interdependence requires sharing.

The bond of sharing creates a oneness in relationships. What I called an overlap with my friend Cheryl.

Sharing is an exchange within the circle of love empowering us to live loved. The Bible says two is better than one because the friend helps the other when they fall.

God created man to increase His circle of love. Then He said it wasn’t good for man to be alone so He created Eve for a companion—one who would be one with him. And then when man fell Jesus completed the circle of love inviting us to be one with Him.

Sharing is love in motion.

Sharing is emotionally connecting through an experience of some sort. Thought, action, memory…


  • Connect with someone you haven’t talked to in a while. Face to face if possible. It’s so easy for us to get lost in our technology (social media, texting etc).
  • Connect with someone new if you’re feeling brave and adventurous.
  • Share with me in the comments.
  • Can I share this with you? It’s free
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