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Accentuate the positive key to behaviour management

Accentuate the positive key to behaviour management in schools, conference told

Restorative practices, resilience programmes, anti-bullying fostering care, support and connections at secondary schools might not be the topics most people would expect at a conference focussing on behaviour management in schools, but these are some of the session themes at the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) School-Wide conference that closes in Wellington today.

Keynote speaker Susan Barrett works at Sheppard Pratt Health System, a private non-profit health system located in Baltimore, Maryland where she leads their work with the University of Oregon and Johns Hopkins University to implement and evaluate Positive Behaviour Interventions in Schools (PBIS).

Dr Terry Scott has expertise in teacher education, teaching methods, and pre-school education and is president of the US-based Council for Children with Behaviour Disorders. His key messages include the importance of simple things such as adults acknowledging good behaviour with comments like "Thanks", "I appreciate…" and "I’m impressed…" and correcting inappropriate behaviour in a constructive way with questions such as "Is that the right way…?" and "What is a better way…?"

The third keynote speaker, Judge Andrew Becroft has recently been appointed New Zealand’s Children’s Commissioner after 15 years as the principal Youth Court Judge and is well known for his compassion for the youth offenders he dealt with in his role as Principal Youth Court Judge and his advocacy for better ways to work with high-risk young people in a way that's not stigmatising, or labelling or patronising.

PB4L School-Wide looks at behaviour and learning from a whole-of-school as well as an individual child perspective, reaching down to ECE settings. By strengthening relationships and creating more positive home and school environments PB4L schools remove barriers to engagement and improve students’ chances to achieve both at school and beyond.

Addressing the conference yesterday, Minister Parata told delegates that one of the initiatives, the Incredible Years Teacher Programme has recently been evaluated by the New Zealand Council for Education Research. They found that 90 percent of ECE teachers and 75 percent of primary teachers reported less disruptive behaviour in their class after taking the course.

There are now over 600 School-Wide schools in New Zealand.


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