The special task of Grades 7-9 is to guide and support the students during the years of intense development, to ensure that they complete their basic studies, and to encourage all students to carry on studying further. It is especially important that each student has the best possible preconditions for the studies following basic education and the ability to consider his or her choices realistically.
The school year in Grades 7-9 is divided into three terms. At the end of each term, the students will receive an End of Term Report. The first two terms concentrate on the progress of that individual term, while the Term 3 report card assesses the entire academic year. When the students get older, an increasing number of academic subjects will be graded on a numeric scale from 4-10, 4 being fail and 10 being outstanding.
In addition to the term report, three pedagogical conferences are held to discuss the progress and learning with the students and the families. In Terms 1 and 2, the conference is led by the teachers, while in Term 3 the conference is led by the student him/herself. Student progress can also be followed in the Personal Learning Plans (PLPs) of each student.
In the selection of working methods, the characteristics of different subjects and the development of transversal competences are taken into consideration. The use of working methods typical for each subject promotes both the formation of organized knowledge structures and the adoption of skills.
The secondary school grades also place emphasis on skills such as identifying, processing, analyzing, etc., however, their methods and application thereof differ from those used with younger students, due to the older students’ abilities to facilitate their own enquiry and academic output. The school’s and, particularly, the teachers’ roles are to provide a functioning and easily accessible theoretical and practical framework within which students are able to increase their independent, life-long learning skills.
During Grade 7, students take the first steps in carrying out their responsibilities concerning their learning. They practise their independence in small doses. In Grade 8, students make their first choices concerning their studies when they choose their long and short electives. Parental guidance is definitely needed but the students are encouraged to push their boundaries and explore new areas of knowledge and skill. Going to Grade 9, students cast their first looks on the future – what they want to be when they grow up. One part in their education is coming to an end and they are preparing to start a new chapter going into high school.
Grade 8 student’s school day
Gates open already at 6:30 am, but most of the students come after 7:00 am.
The students arrive at their classrooms and socialise with their peers until homeroom, which starts at 7:30.
Eighth graders have an assigned homeroom teacher for three days of the week and the other two days are with a guidance counsellor or Special Educational Needs Teacher (SEN).
At 8:00 am, we have two 45-minute lessons each with a 5-minute break in between. These subjects can range from basic subjects like English, Math, Biology, and fun electives such as Crafts, Debate, Music, and Drama, which the students have chosen at the beginning of the year.
After these enjoyable lessons, we have a 25-minute break during which we can go outdoors to relish in the cool, breezy, sunny weather while playing a variety of sports and having fun with friends at the same time. What more can you ask for?
The school day continues with another two lessons which again can be other core subjects like Social Studies, World History or a new language that the student chose and/or a mandatory language.
After these enjoyable lessons, yet an exhausting morning of learning, we have another break and a lunch to look forward to; we have a 50-minute break. For the first 25 minutes, we are playing outside again until we return to our classroom to have our lunches while socialising with friends.
Now that we have nourished our tummies with healthy nutritious food and entertainment, we have our two final lessons for the day. These lessons can either be long electives (this is for the whole school year) or short electives (occur once a term and then changes), or core subjects such as English or Qatar History.
At 2:00 pm, our teachers walk us to the pickup area and wait until our parents pick us up. Some students stay until 3:00pm due to having extra-curricular activities.