FOR STUDENTS AGED 15-16 YEARS
The Department of Education in Ireland has a unique one-year school programme that bridges the gap between junior and senior cycle education, known as the Transition Year Programme (TYP). It represents a radical systems experiment whereby one whole year in the middle of secondary schooling is devoted to the primary goals of the personal, social, career development of students as opposed to academic achievement, the default systems’ goal. This programme was pilot tested in the 1980s as the first year of senior cycle, became mainstream in the early 1990s, and its positive effects on students’ personal, social, and career maturation and development have been well researched and established.
The TYP has many unique features:
-students can ‘taste’ or try out new subjects before they choose their subjects for the last two years of senior cycle
-work experience, work shadowing, and work simulation (e.g. mini-companies) are used as part of career exploration/education
-some schools additionally use community service (helping disadvantaged community groups) as part of the programme
A TYP is specific to each school. Teachers and school management develop the entirety of the programme curriculum and draw on local community (including employer engagement) and national resources to support the programme learning objectives.
TYP brings the professionalism of the teachers and school management to a completely different level.
The TYP is one of the hidden educational jewels worldwide that Ireland has developed. While to date amazingly it has never been promoted as a good example to follow by the OECD and UNESCO (even though it addresses many issues of concern to OECD and UNESCO such as curricular relevance, teacher professionalism, career readiness), Korea has adapted it in part some years ago through a one semester similar type programme for students aged 12-13.
Here are some TYP evaluation findings:
–For students: personal, social, and career maturation; improved motivation for learning; academic performance and achievement; better prepared as learners for tertiary education
–For teachers: improved teacher-student relationships (collaborators in learning); enabled teachers to learn and test a range of new teaching, learning, and assessment methods.
For more information on research findings:
u The Student Voice in the Transition Year Programme: A School Based Case Study: M.Ed Thesis by Dr Majella Dempsey, 2001 http://eprints.maynoothuniversity.ie/5065/1/Majella_Dempsey_20140620132637.pdf
u Transition Year – Exploring the Student Experience ISSU, 2014 https://issuu.com/issu4u/docs/issu_ty_final_report_may_2014/7?e=1427971/8016619
u Department of Education, (1994 – 95) An Evaluation by the Inspectorate of the Department of Education Transition Year Programme. Dublin, Stationery Office
u NCCA, (1999). From Junior to Leaving Certificate. A Longitudinal Study of 1994 Junior Certificate Candidates who took Leaving Certificate Examination in 1997. Final Report. Dublin, NCCA.