Supportive school policies and practices
School policies and practises should promote a clear set of school norms regarding violence, beginning with mutual respect between administrators and teachers and among teachers. A Health-Promoting School can create student and staff conduct and discipline codes regarding violence and aggression. Teachers, for example, should know how to respond effectively when facing routine incidents of conflict and aggression, as well as with those children who show repeated and severe problems with aggressive behaviour. School policies and practises should advance relations between students that are respectful, nondiscriminatory and nonabusive. They should also enhance teacher-student respect and communication. Instances of discrimination or abuse among students, between staff, and between staff and students should be condemned openly to promote appropriate social norms.(19)
Discipline does not only derive from rules, punishment and external control. It is also learned from reinforcement, and by consequences which are fair, firm and clearly communicated. Disciplinary measures, such as suspending or expelling students, do not provide students with the opportunity to improve their behaviour. These strategies have not been shown to prevent violent or disruptive behaviour in school. In-school or after-school suspensions, on the other hand, allow schools to remove disruptive students from the classroom and provide them with counselling and individual or small-group academic tutoring.(40)
In general, try not to view discipline in terms of punishment, but rather as a means of upholding expectations for a code of decent conduct. Provide recognition, rewards and reinforcement for newly learned skills and behaviour.(35) Hold appropriate expectations for all students, beginning in early childhood, and help provide students with the opportunity, support and encouragement to meet those expectations.
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