(a) Fundamental aims of teaching in secondary schools
Secondary school education is paramount to the success of a student in life in Australia. And while a huge debate looms about what comprises effective teaching, the fundamental aims of teaching in secondary schools are a subject of discussion as well. Of course imparting of knowledge to a student is one of the major aims of teaching. Since everybody is involved in the development of their country’s economy, knowledge obtained from school enables them to make their country a better place to stay.
Teaching helps the students to acquire basic language skills required to communicate at a professional level. The linguistic competence attained is aimed at helping the students to acquire the fitness required for various life situations (Mounce-Penfold Ruth, David Beer, & Roger Burrows, 2011).
Secondary school is the gate opener to the university for all students. One of the most fundamental aims of teaching is to enable students realize the disciplines in which they have greater abilities so that they can pursue career lines related to them. Teachers also advise students in secondary school on their areas of strength and how to better them.
Secondary school teaching also aims at helping students to know their interests and hobbies. Teachers then help the students to mould them into powerful, iconic, economic and financial opportunities that will help them to become independent and founders of legendary institutions and policies.
Apart from the academic angle, secondary school teaching also helps students to become all-round persons in the society; morally upright and law abiding citizens.
Factors influencing development of these aims
We are in the information age and technological advancements are reinvented on a daily basis. Students are expected to acquire some basic information technology skills required for operating computers and other gadgets for communication. More than 50 percent professions now require all skilled employees to apply information and communication technology in delivery of services.
The legal climate of a country is intertwined with that country’s politics. An Act of Parliament may require that secondary schools develop certain aims and objectives of learning. The Ministry of Education may direct that secondary schools aim at achieving certain specified outcomes by the end of a given time.
Socioeconomic factors may also dictate secondary school teaching aims. Education systems are collectively aimed at helping students to become financially independent in line with societal expectations. According to the four temperaments, some people may be introverted while others are extroverted. The aims of secondary school teaching include helping the students to remain fit for different roles in the economy despite their temperaments.
Cultural values may also influence teaching aims. Every society holds some specific cultural values. With more than one ethnic group, a country’s secondary school teaching aims include uniting all
Some secondary schools may have teaching policies which define the aims of teaching students. They may enlist the learning outcomes, methods of delivery and the criteria of evaluation for the teaching aims.
Pedagogy is the art and science of instruction and education. It is the method and artistic practice of teaching a theoretical concept or academic subject. From the perspective of science, pedagogy is the knowledge of learning and the instructional strategies employed for teaching. From the perspective of an art, pedagogy involves correctly putting the theories learnt into practice and then building up massive teaching experiences. A secondary school teacher’s pedagogy is congruent to the conceptual knowledge and also helps them to manage the content of all the learning activities. While some teachers view secondary school education from the point of view of attaining passing grades, others have a holistic view of it including “growing up”. Pedagogical tactics that are limited to acquisition of classroom skills alone requires a lot of dedication. However, the approach where the teacher looks at the growth processes of a child as well demands a lot of attention, skill, energy and time.
From my own classroom experience, the best pedagogy should cover both intellectual and physical growth processes of the student. This holistic approach involves interactive classes and working in smaller groups. Right from secondary school, the significance of group work was emphasized because no man succeeds by working as an island. The significance of student counselling sessions, tutoring, monitoring and evaluation of individual projects can’t be underestimated in secondary school teaching (Cornell, R. 1985).
Unlike my time, audiovisual materials are now a common medium of recording and delivering lessons to secondary school students. However, I benefited a lot from textbooks and authentic materials. Teachers could easily evaluate our personal attributes, ups and downs with each other and in some notorious cases with parents, love life, greatest hopes and worst fears. Some teachers were very open with students, freely interacting with us in and outside class. I remember one time I had a problem paying my fees because my parents, who had been injured in a tragic road accident were unable to pay my fees. But this interactive and friendly teacher approached me, interrogated me and then came to my rescue.
Some teachers, even though very good, eloquent and apt to the mastery of the subject, were very strict. This discouraged many of us from asking questions in class and some of these teachers earned nicknames. Some pedagogical approaches, however, depend on the situation. For instance, a physical education teacher needs interactive skills to enable students stay fit and discover their talents and avocations outside the classroom.
Pedagogical methods and techniques are highly controlled by cultural values, legal maxims and inventions (Moon Bob & Leach Jenny, 2006). For instance, a secondary school teacher who never used the internet to teach students 30 years ago now needs to acquire computer and internet skills because they are part of the curriculum. Emails and CD ROMs are now part of the delivery mediums. Secondary school teaching becomes even more effective when topical and other authentic materials such as magazines, fiction newspapers, video cassettes and television broadcasts.
Current pedagogies have, however, been criticized by others are characterized by a lack of creativity opportunities for the student because everything is recorded and answers obtained by the click of a button.
Cornell, R.,1985, Teachers’ Work, p.13-26, Sydney, New South Wales
Moon Bob & Leach Jenny, 2006, Learners and Pedagogy, Paul Chapman Publishing Ltd, 4th ed. London, United Kingdom
Mounce-Penfold Ruth, David Beer, & Roger Burrows, 2011, The Wire as Social Science Fiction? Department of Sociology, University of York, UK