The investigation examined a collaborative teaching and learning house structure at a New Zealand intermediate (or middle) school. Using observations, questionnaires, and interviews, we explored the perceptions of staff, children, and parents about the educational value of such a model and whether it meets the principles of good education for the young adolescent age group. We found that a sizable majority of the participants viewed this model positively and that it does reflect established principles of good education for young adolescent children, such as employing multiple learning and teaching approaches that respond to young adolescents' diversity and providing an organizational structure that supports meaningful relationships and learning (National Middle School Association, 2010). It corresponds particularly well with the principles of collaborative teaching and learning and the practice of keeping classes together for two years. Many parents wanted more information about this collaborative teaching and learning option prior to the current decision point at enrollment. We recommend continuing with this collaborative house structure at the school and suggest this school and other New Zealand intermediate schools explore ways to include more children in this form of education.
Published in Research in Middle Level Education Online, 2012