It can be argued that one of the great problems with approaches to schooling is that the vision that underpins the work of an individual school is often based on ideas and beliefs rather than any experimentation to see if the idea works.
Indeed, even when such experimentation does exist, it can sometimes be the case that those who determine educational policy may set it aside when the experiment’s results don’t quite match their political beliefs.
But when it comes to behaviour and discipline there is research, the findings of which have never been countered, which shows that a key factor in determining the behaviour of pupils is not the syllabus of the school, the parental expectations or indeed the socio-economic background of the students.
Rather it is the view of the staff within the school. In fact, where different staff hold different views on the issue of behaviour and discipline, then behavioural issues increase. When the staff genuinely agree to and adopt a unified policy then the problems vanish.
What makes this finding so important is that it puts the power to change pupil and student behaviour totally in the hands of the school and its managers.
This is the starting point for the volume, Improving attitudes, managing behaviour and reducing exclusions, a book that builds from the original research which proved this finding and which applies it to contemporary schooling.
The findings of the original research reviewed in the book is very clear: schools improve when all those in the school decide to improve the school, not because of government initiatives, policies curricula, inspectors, naming and shaming or anything else imposed from without.
For, once a school has its own unified policy, if the school is able to project that policy to parents and students as an approach to which all staff agree, and which all parents and students are expected to adopt, the unity of purpose of the school is established.
The key issue thus becomes the implementation and maintenance of the policy every day of the school year. And it is the implementation of this approach that “Improving attitudes” describes.
You can see some sample pages at http://pdf.firstandbest.co.uk/education/T1813.pdf
Publisher’s reference: T1813EMN ISBN: 978 1 86083 821 7
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