The Difference Between Primary and High School


There is a reason why the school system is divided into primary and secondary education -high school is the beginning of adult learning. Adult learners build from what they know, need context to make judgments and will experience difficulty if they do not have prerequisite knowledge. Unfortunately, the needs of adult learners are not fully appreciated.

Understanding The Difference Between Primary and High School Learning


There are many shared traits/problems that are derived from not having adult learning needs met. Not fully understanding why they have been asked to complete a task can create problems including:

·anxiety, that the student may disappoint parents, teachers, peers or themselves -very common when transitioning from primary;

·fear of failing;

·stress, from having to do a subject they need but don’t enjoy;

·apathy -stemming from compliance;

·laziness -wanting the easiest solutions;

·frustration -no real understanding of why they need specific forms of education;

·lack of confidence;

·anger that their talents are not appreciated -only academic ability is acknowledged;

·auto pilot -this is more evident in children of immigrants -the resolve that they must do what is expected.

Strategies that help the transition from primary to high school:


·Offer the young adult learner interesting and relevant opportunities when learning new content. Marry their interests to the tasks -example allow student to write about their passion in essay format or calculate the angles for a perfect football goal -the topic is irrelevant the point is to make learning valuable.

·Reduce memorizing used in primary school and replace with broader examples of the subject -what, where, when, how, why, the subject will be used. If students memorise excessively, they can’t adapt those rigid answers to any question they are given and that creates anxiety if the memorising fails to deliver a result. Instead focus on the value of the subject -Maths for understanding patterns, space, logic etc. English structure, communication, creativity etc.

·Focus on understanding what is required. Grades and course outlines are very underutilised. Grades essentially guide the student as to what is required to achieve a set score and course outlines explain why that subject is important for the student. However, vey little importance is placed on constantly checking what has been asked in those documents. Not reflecting on purpose extends to not answering the question which is the biggest sole problem sited in education.

High school marks the beginning of adult reasoning and helping children make sense of what their education is used for, is the way to engage students.

Joan Muscat

Ex University Lecturer

Bach of Business and Commerce

Masters of Business

Passionate educator