POSITIVE BEHAVIOUR, RELATIONSHIPS AND WELL BEING
Why do we teach behaviour?
In school we believe that we need to teach children how to make positive choices about their behaviour in the same way that they are taught about reading, science, maths etc. Behaviour is never ‘perfect’; behaviour is as much a part of what we teach and learn in school as traditional academic subjects. We think of there being three types of behaviour: positive behaviour, which is celebrated and is the type we want to promote; ‘mistake’ behaviour, which should be learned from, but that sometimes there is ‘deliberate’ unwanted behaviour which may bring about a sanction.
The perception we have of another person (and the language we use about them) directly affects the way we interact with them. This is true for adults and children. If we think of a person as ‘naughty’ or ‘difficult’ we become more disposed to thinking in terms of punishment when they behave in certain ways. When we know a person, take the time to develop a relationship with them and try to understand what their behaviour is telling us about their moods and emotions we are more likely to view that behaviour as someone trying to handle a difficult situation, making us more likely to support them.
Just as with academic subjects, ‘behaviour’ is not something that children can just ‘do’. It is learned through effort, clear direction and support from caring adults and by accepting that mistakes are made and should be learned from to allow growth to occur. We teach behaviour using as it underpins all other success that we aspire to.
How do we teach behaviour?
Learning about how to behave positively towards others and to make good decisions for ourselves, both physically and emotionally, is entwined across our whole curriculum. All children are expected to adhere to our high expectations. These include: our attitudes towards academic work; being prepared for school by being in correct uniform, completing homework; and punctual. Parents are expected to support school in promoting these positive behaviours. Our RESPECT code sets out our high expectations.
We expect to support all children to achieve as much as they are capable of academically and people who care for themselves, others and our community. We expect all adults involved with children’s lives to support and model excellence. We look to ‘catch children in, not catch them out. House points, values tickets, celebration assemblies, Total recall badges and Ambassadors of Learning are some of the ways in which we celebrate expected high standards of behaviour.
We also use ‘Restorative Practice’ to help children to develop an ability to reflect on their behaviour choices, how they may have hurt themselves and others and how to behave in a more positive way in the future. Children will fall out with each other and behave in a way that is unwanted. When this happens staff will discuss the expected behaviour and the emotions involved. Often, this will be enough for the majority of children. We want to support children to make positive decisions for themselves so look to ‘catch children in, not catch them out’. This means that not all unwanted behaviour merits a sanction. At some point, most children will fall out with someone or behave in a way that is unwanted. Just as we teach children that we learn from mistakes when learning about academic subjects, so the same is true with emotions and behaviour. Restorative Practice seeks to understand and adapt behaviour rather than to punish it, and seeks to help children to understand that they are responsible for their own behaviour.
If the unwanted behaviour has been deliberate, repeated or very serious, however, there will likely be a sanction as children still need to learn that there are consequences to our actions, both positive and negative. We teach children the language of emotion in many different lessons using our Mood Meter. By developing vocabulary we can then accurately identify and name emotions. This is where children especially need adults to help them.
The Anti-Bullying Alliance defines bullying as:
We take a zero-tolerance attitude towards bullying and educate children to spot it and speak up about it in a variety of ways as part of our curriculum and in assemblies to empower everybody in our school community to value and respect themselves. This includes online behaviour.
Bullying is a deliberate, repeated act by one child (or children) towards another to physically or emotionally hurt them Several Times On Purpose. We use STOP to remind children about what bullying is and how to address it. Thankfully, behaviour at our school is excellent and episodes of bullying are very rare. However, children will, on occasion, fall out with each other, may occasionally be unkind to each other, or play becomes too rough. These are beyond the boundaries of acceptable behaviours in school, can cause upset to children and parents and will be dealt with seriously by staff, but one-off, isolated incidents are not bullying.
When we discover bullying in school we will always deal with it in the most serious manner. This does not mean that we automatically suspend or exclude children. That will always be a last resort. Our aim is to help all of our children to become the best person they can be and to care for everyone.
We also challenge children to be kind to each other using STOP: do or say something positive for someone else Several Times On Purpose and then Start Telling Other People about the kindness shown.