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Schools to grow in : an evaluation of secondary colleges

CollectionsANU Press (1965- Present)
Title: Schools to grow in : an evaluation of secondary colleges
Author(s): Anderson, Don
Date published: 1980
Publisher: Canberra, ACT : Australian National University Press
Following a public inquiry and evidence of widespread student disaffection with schooling, the traditional 6-year secondary schools in the Australian Capital Territory were replaced with 4-year high schools and secondary colleges for students in the two senior years. The new colleges offer a wide curriculum, give students freedom and responsibility to manage their own affairs, and generally try to provide a learning environment in which the emphasis is on cooperation rather than coercion. This study, which is based on parallel surveys of student opinions in 1972 and 1979, explores the shifts that have occured in student attitudes since the change to the college system. It examines what the change has meant for the students themselves, in matters such as opinions on the structure of school, attitudes to authority, relationships with teachers, study interests and post-school plans, and evaluates the colleges from their point of view. Using a theoretical perspective which relates a view of adolescence to the social relationships between students and teachers, it is argued that because of the narrow age range of their students the colleges are able to avoid the traditional reliance on student submission to teacher authority and so minimise student alienation. The findings leave no doubt that the secondary college innovation is of the greatest importance for efforts to make appropriate provision for senior secondary students, and this study will be acutely relevant wherever that is a matter of concern.


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