Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Encouraging Positive Behaviour

Recently I've been reflecting on some of the media attention that was focussed last term on the issue of bullying. This was the result of some rather nasty stuff that happened in the north island. You may have noticed some of this discussion. I agree with our Minister of Education's statement:
"...bullying does not occur solely on school grounds, but I do believe that schools have a leadership role to play in their communities on this issue." [stuff.co.nz 5 May]
We want everyone to be safe at our school and we take this issue extremely seriously. In fact, all schools in New Zealand are charged with ensuring a safe physical and emotional environment for children and staff (refer to National Administration Guidelines 5 for further reading). It is timely to remind you of some of the key messages relating to this:

What is bullying? Bullying is ongoing persistent behaviour that is negative towards another person or people. It can be verbal, physical, emotional and includes digital communication such as email/chat. While it can lead from a one-off interaction, it is generally negative behaviour that is ongoing or continuous.

How do we help children cope if it occurs? Children are coached in a range of ways to effectively deal with issues as they arise. We ask children to report negative behaviours they can't deal with themselves to a safe adult. We support students (and family if need be) in the most appropriate way and this could happen in a wide range of ways following our discipline policy. As part of our curriculum we teach Kia Kaha and Keeping Ourselves Safe programmes alternate years which allow us to explore these issues in depth to empower children to deal with them in positive and healthy ways.

How can parents/family help with this? We ask parents to reassure children to tell a safe adult as soon as possible so action can be taken to ensure their child is safe. We encourage families to use our school values of Respect and Responsibility when dealing with issues such as these. As always, if you have concerns please come and speak to us so we can help resolve them with you.

As an aside, when doing some background reading about bullying, I discovered that the word 'bullying' actually used to mean sweetheart! Who would have thought that!!

I think teaching our children to be resilient, confident and assertive when faced with adversity is really crucial in helping them learn to effectively deal with problems. It is also an important part of growing up and becoming independent and mature. This ties in with our goal for student learning for children to be self-directed learners as well as being prepared for the future (these are two elements of our vision for student learning). This secondary student is someone who epitomises taking positive action on this issue.

Here is our school procedure relating to bullying, it includes links to our behaviour management procedure and other useful references.

What do you think? Feel free to send us your views or make comments on this blog post.

Here are some good links I've come across relating to bullying. They include books, web sites, downloads and more.


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