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Zero Tolerance Doesn’t Work

Image School behaviours NotepadZero tolerance and hard discipline in themselves do not improve behaviour, according to a recent study by an American research organisation Child Trends.

Students need character development and to understand why they should behave positively.

Zero tolerance is the most widely promoted approach in the United States, though my own experience suggests we are much better in the UK at positioning our rules and policies with students.  However, in the busy world that we all operate in and with so  much to do each day I think there is much more most schools can do to develop the right student (and teacher) behaviours.

So what more can schools do?

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The Appetite is There

Resilience-For-Success-3dAfter my post last week there is a clear mandate for teaching character and resilience.  Of those voting 100% agreed that it is something we should be doing in our schools.

There were a few e-mails sent too – saying we were already teaching it, which is great news. A few of these seemed to think there was a criticism in what I was saying and this was not intended. So many schools do so much already and the profession is constantly being challenged and under review from the Government, Ofsted, the media and parents (to mention a few).

Given this and the changes to terms and conditions, pensions and the many initiatives, it isn’t surprising to find teachers and other staff feeling demotivated.  Despite this so many continue to give their best to students every day and you are our heroes as you strive to raise ambition and achievement.

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Building Character and Resilience in Schools

Resilience road sign

Should we use lessons and the time a young person spends at school to build their character and resilience?

We have recently seen the launch of the Character and Resilience Manifesto from the all Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Mobility, which has been produced in collaboration with the CentreForum think-tank and a call from Tristram Hunt, the shadow educations secretary for schools to focus more on this area because of the benefits it will bring, and particularly for those predicted to have more negative outcomes.

The parliamentary report suggests the need to concentrate more widely than just on academic measures of success as children move through the education system and into the workplace.

Among its recommendations is the extension of pupil premium into pre-school education, extra curricula activities should be a more formal part of teacher contracts and students should receive certificates in this area to demonstrate their experience and skills to employers.

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Positivity for Success

Positive Thinking, Mindset,  Showing Optimism Or self-BeliefOne of the most important traits of successful people is that they have a positive mindset.

No matter the challenges that come their way, they are able to face them down, keep positive and when they are inevitably knocked down they can quickly bounce back.

Are people born positive?  If we watch babies learning to walk, they will fall down time and time again and get up. We are all born with natural resilience and the ability to be positive and yet as we get older many people seem to lose this ability.

And while upbringing and the people who surround us clearly play a part, the great news is that a positive mindset can be developed and strengthened in the same way as we can build ourselves physically – read on to find one exercise you can do with your students.

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Win/Lose or Win/Learn

Win Lose Alphabet Blocks Vertical

Do you practice win/lose or win/learn?

As a society we tend towards win/lose. You can see it all around us.

In sport we have heroes and villains and very little in between. Andy Murray wins and he is a world beater (or British) and if not then he is portrayed as a loser (or being Scottish).

The England football team are either going to win the World cup or they are useless…I could go on. And it goes for so many things in life and is why so many people don’t try things – they are afraid to fail.

Many parents, teachers and leaders, the government and the media increase the focus on success or failure. Yet we want to create learners not losers (and winners).

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