High school is a period in which the adolescent student must negotiate fundamental transformations in their development towards maturity and adulthood. As the recent discoveries in the field of psychiatry has shown, many psychological conditions and emotional disorders either begin to exist or surface during adolescence. (One such common type of disorder, especially in teenage girls, is the widely known but hardly treated ‘depression’.)
It is important for all of us to recognize that our children’s assumptions and beliefs are shaped by their own cultural backgrounds and values which, in turn, will definitely affect their developing adolescent identity. As such, high school students are qualitatively different from younger learners. Using the right instructional strategies to maximize the learning advantages and address the learning challenges of high school students can make all the difference in their success.
By the time they enter high school, most students have also entered the formal operational stage of cognitive development. That is, they can think abstractly and need fewer concrete examples to understand complex thought patterns. Generally speaking, therefore, the majority of students at this age share the following characteristics:
• They need to understand the purpose and relevance of the educational activities they have to take part in;
• They are very much motivated—even excited—both internally as well as externally;
• Some may have self-imposed cognitive barriers due to possible academic failures in the past and certain lack of confidence;
• They may experience temporary ‘shutdown states’ in certain cognitive areas and, as a result, need to learn how to know and overcome these difficulties; and,
• They are eager to assume individual responsibility for their own learning and progress as they also seek to set personal goals both in the short and long run.
Also, most students have some interest in:
• Coeducational activities;
• Leadership roles in planning their free time and a chiefly support role in their education;
• Developing a community consciousness; and,
• Opportunities for self-expression.
By incorporating the best in pedagogic methodology and educational technology and taking all the above-mentioned factors into account in the high school section of the TIS, we do our best to provide a well-rounded education based on the mastery of English in different subjects and a challenging educational programme based on a strong university preparatory curriculum. In this way, we make sure we can give our high school graduates the vital skills in order to enter and succeed in higher education.