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Safe and supportive environments, with coherent, clear and consistently enforced codes of behaviour and restorative discipline practices, contribute to learning gains for Pasifika students.
Leadership can facilitate the achievement of important academic and social goals by creating an environment that is conducive to success. An orderly environment makes it possible for teachers to focus on teaching and students to focus on learning.
"The findings suggest that leaders of effective schools succeed in establishing a safe and supportive environment by means of clear and consistently enforced social expectations and discipline codes. Restorative justice programmes are favoured, displacing punitive discipline practices.
When ensuring an orderly and supportive environment, leaders in high-performing schools:
- protect teaching time;
- ensure consistent discipline routines;
- identify and resolve conflicts quickly and effectively."
School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Identifying What Works and Why: Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration, page 43.
Coherence within a school at all levels is important to effectiveness. Coherence matters between levels in the school, across members of the school’s professional community, and between different instructional parts including teachers.
Research into Pasifika achievement indicates that :
“The coherence between teachers appears to be especially significant so that there is consistency in pedagogical approaches as well as in focus and goals.”
Ua Aoina le Manogi o le Lolo: Pasifika Schooling Improvement Research – Final Report, page viii.
Thanks to the principals, staff and students of Aorere College, McAuley High School, Mangere Bridge School, Sylvia Park School, Mary MacKillop School and Wymondley Road Primary School for their contribution.
Things to think about
Things to think about
- Do you have any behavioural problems with Pasifika students? Why? Why not?
- Restorative justice is more about solutions than punishment. What’s your approach to discipline? Why? Does it work for Pasifika students?
- Who do your Pasifika students look to for help when they get into difficulties? Is this what you want to happen?
- If you operate a restorative justice model, have your Pasifika students increased their achievement as a result? If you do not have such a model, would you consider introducing it? Why? Why not?
“The findings suggest that leaders of effective schools succeed in establishing a safe and supportive environment by means of clear and consistently enforced social expectations and discipline codes.”
School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Identifying What Works and Why: Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration,page 43.
- Would you describe your school as a safe and supportive environment for Pasifika students? In what ways? Are there improvements you could make?
Lynne Van Etten
The Restorative practice is about talking to the student, making them see what harm they've done to other people, and getting to restore that situation. And so often that could just be a one on one with the teacher, but also it might be in a bigger situation. It could even be a class conference where the student has done something that’s upset a lot of people in the class. So we often have a class restorative meeting. And often we will have parents as well involved in some of those restorative meetings.
You need to separate the action from the person, and again you're looking at the behavioural aspect of what a student might do if they’ve made a mistake, but still keeping the integrity of the person in highest regard. And again students will respond very positively when they know that they have an action to be accountable for but you are still caring for the individual.
Jacinta – student
It's a school thing, it's the Aorere way... attitude, organisation, respect, expectations, responsibility and enjoyment, so like it is a school wide thing so we all learn that and that is what we go by every day.
We have high standards and we expect them to meet the high standards, the girls know that. I am often at the gate in the morning if they're late. The parents know the high standards. McAuley is known as a strict school amongst the community and I believe if you look after the little things like uniform, lateness, moving around, then you're not going to have problems with the big things.
Mele – student
It's good for them to encourage us to keep going and remind us of our role in society and our value, how important we are to communities.
We call it the Wymondley, the Wynmondley way, and there’s four expectations that we expect the children to follow when they’re at school and one of them is around keeping hands and feet to yourself, and we often talk with the children why do we do that and they know it’s to keep safe, keep themselves safe and keep others safe. To being in the right place at the right time, to respecting people’s property, and the school’s property. And part of that expectation is one of the things that we talk to the children about is that it’s alright to say no. It’s alright for people to say no you can’t borrow such and such, and that you should be able to accept that. But I think the most important one for us in terms of the expectations that we have on our students is making good choices, and that’s sort of a theme that we have within the school. I rarely deal with behaviour now in this school which is acknowledgement of the consistent approach that the staff have with behaviour. When I do have to reprimand children, when they do come into my office, I only say a couple of lines and that is – are you here for a good choice or a bad choice?
The behaviour of our pupils has changed over the five years of our school. At the beginning it was punitive, detentions, so forth. We totally changed the model so we have a thinking model. So in the classrooms it's all focussed back on learning, so the teacher, we have a red card, yellow card, green card system. So great behaviour, positive affirmation, children love positive affirmation. A green card, positive response, if they're not on task, a yellow card, just think about what you're doing, no one's angry, no one is yelling it's all nice and calm, it's about learning, a red card means time out, have a think. So they have a thinking spot. There're a few questions there, where they think about what they are doing when they are asked to go down. What should they doing, and what are they going to do when they come back to the classroom. And the child and the teacher have a discussion about learning, and the child is back in to their work. The peer mediators are helping in the playground, keeping things down, we are addressing issues as they come along, so the tone’s changed.