How to make school traffic from primary to secondary more bearable


There is no more delicate moment in compulsory education than the transition from primary education to secondary education. It is then when boys and girls have to carry out a complex process of psychological, social and academic adaptation to accommodate the new reality of their school environment, important changes in their interpersonal relationships and changes in their own identity .

Transition is a dual experience that can be loaded with optimism and anticipation of challenges or anxiety, fear or stress. The good news is that in general the transit is a positive experience for a good part of the students. But what happens when it isn’t and how can we avoid it? Maybe Canary has the answer.

The great challenge of the students

The transition from primary to secondary education is a problem worldwide and a challenge for all children of school age.

There are many international scientific publications that address the different factors that affect a positive transit experience and that could be synthesized in a personal dimension (motivation, expectations regarding Secondary, academic self-concept, emotional situation, academic performance, social relations and friendship ) and an educational dimension (level of teacher requirement, teaching methodologies, teacher expectations, family support and progressive level of satisfaction with teachers, the educational environment, family support and social relationships).

In this sense, transit is a “relational” challenge that is better understood from the perspective of relations between schools and between teachers, but also between students, between students and teachers, and between teachers and families.

This facilitates transit

More precisely, some researchers describe five “bridges” that have to be laid to facilitate traffic: the administrative, socio-emotional, curricular, pedagogical and the bridge of learning self-management.

In addition, addressing traffic requires an intersectional perspective : the variables of gender, socio-economic and cultural index, levels of development of the different competences of the apprentice or diversity of capacities, among others, have a significant impact on traffic and explain in a way Relevant differences between individuals and territories.

The solution has been found by the Canary Islands

Faced with this reality, the Transit Program represents a global response to all these challenges. This program is an initiative of the Government of the Canary Islands that runs, on an experimental basis, between the 2017-2018 and 2019-2020 courses with the participation of 32 centers throughout the archipelago, 315 teachers and 1,639 students.

The program is created with seven fundamental objectives:

  1. The methodological coordination between the last courses of Primary Education and the first of Compulsory Secondary Education.
  2. The application of strategies for the development of emotional management skills and creativity.
  3. The implementation of methodological strategies for the development of skills, especially the communicative competence of students.
  4. The promotion of autonomy and cooperation among students.
  5. The implementation of common district projects (school zones) between the different stages.
  6. The establishment of agreements in district meetings on curricular, organizational and methodological issues related to the transition.
  7. The promotion of the participation of families in the student transit process.

To address these objectives, the program makes it easier for participating centers to incorporate teachers, selected for their experience, interest in shared teaching and innovative profile, to exercise a coordinating, accompanying and advisory role for teachers.

Teachers need to train

To perform this task with guarantees of success, the coordinating professors have received monthly specific training to achieve the objectives of the Transit Program; At the same time, the participating centers have the obligation to include in their training plan an itinerary linked to these objectives.

As for the practices developed within the Transit Program, we find, in addition to coordination and training activities, other proposals such as teaching shared by pedagogical couples, the development of common projects between stages, the dynamization of courtyards, exchanges and contacts between students and teachers of both stages, the organization of subjects by areas in Secondary Education or the creation of interactive groups to favor the participation of families in the learning of their sons and daughters.

In addition, in each of the educational districts, transition plans agreed by the different educational agents and the centers of affiliation to the district have been drafted. The program also has a specialized monitoring commission.

The results show the improvement

Regarding the results of the Transit Program according to the evaluation carried out by ACCUEE , an improvement in coexistence and school climate, an important perception of methodological change, improvements in the acquisition of key competencies and attention to the diversity.

Likewise, the need to continue making an effort in relation to the task of coordination, participation in the program of guidance teams and departments, the involvement of teachers in support of special needs, the design and commissioning of common projects between the stages, the grouping of subjects in areas, the participation of families.

In any case, teachers value the Transit Program globally with 8 out of 10 and 84.6% of teachers believe that the results obtained by students are proportional or superior to the work done by teachers for the implementation of the measures described above.

Start it up in the rest of Spain

Without a doubt, the complexity of the traffic must be addressed through global actions such as this program that, inevitably, require an investment in resources and training.

The key now is to think about how we can scale up the Transit Program proposals beyond the 32 centers that have participated in this experience, how we can enhance the positive effects of the program and how the issues to be improved will be resolved, but the transit path from Primary Education to Secondary Education is already drawn in the Canary Islands.

Will they learn from the Canarian experience the rest of the autonomous communities and the Ministry of Education itself, now that a new Organic Law of Education is proposed? We hope that this is the case and that we can soon talk about a National Transit Program in which good practices can be shared and generate common knowledge that will guarantee all students a positive and successful growth and transit experience.

Author Bio: Fernando Trujillo Sáez is a University lecturer at the Faculty of Education, Economics and Technology of Ceuta at the University of Granada