Monday, 5 August 2013

Our Student Engagement Policy

As a result of our participation in the RAP program, we had a shift in our thinking in regards to managing student behaviour. This started with renaming our Discipline Policy to a Student Engagement Policy. This shifted the focus away from an autocratic, authoritarian approach to a democratic, restorative and authoritative approach. In making this shift, we became more mindful of how the teacher directly influences behaviour and how important it is that the teacher models the skills he/she expects from the students.

Our Beliefs:
  • Treat all students respectfully and with dignity
  • Treat each student as an individual
  • Focus on the reasons "why" the behaviour is occurring (Attention, Competence, Power/Control, Belonging)
  • Consequences should be respectful, related to the behaviour and restorative
  • Fairness over equality

Our Student Engagement Policy, developed by the staff of Sacred Heart, follows.

Sacred Heart Primary School, Highgate
Student Engagement Policy
Policy Statement:

Students are engaged when they are fostered with a sense of Belonging ("I am important to someone"), Mastery ("I am able to solve problems"), Independence ("I am in charge of my life"), Generosity ("I am considerate to others").

A Positive Learning Framework For Teachers

Prevention - Teacher 
Self Awareness 
Prevention - Lesson Design
Corrective Actions
Teach the behaviour you want to see.
You cant always treat everyone in exactly the same way. Fair versus Equal.
Stay in control of yourself - poise. Keep Calm
Optimism is crucial, take good emotional care of yourself.
Classroom physical environment is engaging and organised/practical.
Stay personally connected to students without taking misbehaviour personally.
Model the skills you want students to use.
Be willing to work with all students.
Create community networks.
Always treat students with dignity.
Practices at the Start of the Year and/or Day
Foster relationships with students. Get to know to them
Begin the day by welcoming each student by name.
Recognise absences.
Have the learning agenda for the day visible for the class. Include switch off/cool off time
Develop class expectations with the student ownership.
Lesson Design
Whole class attention
Explicitly state the learning and behaviour expectations.
Give clear outcomes of the lesson. By the end of this lesson...
Model the learning by example or thinking out aloud.
Student motivation- hook for learning.
Recall prior learning
Be organised!
The teaching and learning strategy has student involvement.
Incorporate informed collaborate learning strategies when appropriate.
Use questioning and responding strategies
Provide variety of learning strategies.
Allow for student choice and autonomy when appropriate.
Promote student success, make it hard to fail.
Check for understanding against outcome.
Student self-reflection
Teacher reflective practice.
Link the learning to the students' world.
Link to further learning.
Consequences should be respectful, related to the behaviour and restorative.
Fairness over equal.
The types of consequences are left to the teacher discretion.These can be developed with the student and foster a sense of responsibility and learning from the behaviour.
More for serious misbehaviour the leadership team and parents may become  involved.
Low Level Responses
(minimal/no disruption to lesson flow)
Keep calm
Use dignity
Use minimal language, avoiding talking too much, listen more.
Eye contact  - non verbal
Use Privacy Communication/gestures/signals.
Redirect students back to learning.
Regular positive feedback.
Moderate Level Response
Keep calm
Circle time
Acknowledge and empathise but redirect back to learning.(I
understand that...but lets back to learning)
Diagnose why the behaviour is occurring. (Attention, Competence, Power/Control, Belonging)

Offering choices - giving students responsibilities for actions.
If necessary, use consequences.
Consequences should be respectful, related to the behaviour and restorative.
Fairness over equal.
For serious misbehaviour, the leadership team and parents may become involved.
Restorative Responses.
Avoid why questions
Use restorative questioning.
What happened?
What were you thinking at the time?
What have you thought about since?
Who has been affected by what you did?
How can we fix the problem?
Use the LAAD Strategy for conferencing with students.


Carr-Greg, M. (2012). Conflict Resolution. Retrieved from: Last accessed Sep 2012

Circle of Courage (2008). Response Ability Pathways - Guidebook. USA: Cirlce of Courage Institute.

Mendler, B, Mendler, A and Curwin R (2008). Strategies for Successful Classroom Management . California: Corwin Press.

McDonald, T (2011). Classroom Management: Engaging Students in Learning. Melbourne: Oxford University.

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