‘The Golden Way’

The behaviour management system at St Josephs aims to constantly praise children’s good behaviour and their achievements in order to encourage and motivate more of the same. This theory can be seen in action throughout the school day in a variety of different ways: teachers speak to pupils gently and kindly letting them know that they are in a save and loving environment, they are awarded ‘dojo points’ for good behaviour and at the end of each week, there is an assembly to celebrate particular children’s achievements and display any ‘golden work’. However, each teacher follows the ‘three minors become a major’ strategy and so when it is required, children are reprimanded appropriately with a series of consequences (see below for more details). Something that is different to anything I’ve seen before is the strategy of awarding Golden Time. Instead of children automatically receiving the right to Golden Time with the threat of loosing five minutes for poor behaviour (which is what I experienced as a primary school pupil and during my MA1 placement), children start the week ready to earn their golden time. From Monday morning, teachers award dojo points for behaviour that follows the Golden Rules for example, by being kind and respectful, listening well, working hard etc. In order to achieve golden time, each pupil in the class must have earned 20 dojo points each by Friday afternoon. This is recorded via an online platform where each pupil has their own avatar that displays how many dojo points they’ve earned so far. They absolutely love looking at their ‘little monster’ and hearing the wee ding! that represents the giving of dojo points and it’s quite incredibly how effective it is. The system works incredibly well in the early years and I’ve not only seen it in action, but put it into action myself. Any time I’ve had responsibility for the children, it is always the offer of dojo points and bringing attention to those ‘sitting nicely’ or using ‘full body listening’ that motivates the class to behave the way I want them to. Out of all the practical tips and lessons I’ve learned so far throughout the placement, this is perhaps my favourite- effective behaviour management systems is a particular interest of mine as an enquiring practitioner and I would love to use dojo points in my classroom in the future. However, although this system is in place throughout the whole school, I can’t imagine it being quite as effective with the senior children. I haven’t had the opportunity to speak with senior staff members and ask how regularly they use this technique, but I would like to do this at some point during this week.

An example of a class of avatars

examples of reasons why children would receive dojo points

The following information was taken from the Catholic Review of 2015 document, available at https://sjswhakatane.wordpress.com/catholic-review-2011/

Behaviour Management

Expectations of good behaviour are well defined and encapsulated in the school “Golden Rules” behaviour management programme. These, together with the strong emphasis on lived Gospel Values and positive affirmation, result in clear expectations for all students

  • The behaviour management programme at St Joseph’s Catholic School is standardised and consistent in its use throughout the school
  • Golden points acknowledge servant leadership and Gospel Values in student conduct and behaviour. The weekly Gospel Values focus strives to enhance and nurture these values in the students’ behaviour and conduct.
  • The school’s behaviour management system known as “The Golden Rules” positively affirms Gospel values and reinforces the school’s Mission statement
  • Excellence in learning is acknowledged and celebrated through the student of the week and Principal’s award system
  • The school follows the behaviour vision and philosophy when dealing with conflict. This emphasises that each individual’s uniqueness will be acknowledged in a positive, Christian way and that the school will model fairness and justice.
  • It as a requirement of the school that students and colleagues are treated with respect and dignity.

This is an example of a senior Think Sheet. It’s designed to make children question their behaviour and consider how they could’ve acted differently in a given situation. Think Sheets are filled out and then sent home to be signed by a parent/guardian

Staff at St Josephs award their pupils regularly for good behaviour. There is a far greater emphasis on reward rather than negative consequences and children are regularly acknowledged for working hard or behaving well

The Golden Rules are always referred to when children are doing wrong- ‘what Golden Rule are you breaking when you act this way?’. They are also a point of reference for exceptional behaviour- ‘what Golden Rule are you honouring when you do this?’

Children start with one warning, a second warning which results in their name being written on the board and then finally they are given a Think Sheet if behaviour does not improve

The Golden Rules all work together to achieve the ‘Golden Way’. Each Monday there is a Gospel Value Assembly that draws attention to one particular Golden Rule, for example, being respectful of property which children get extra recognition for throughout that week if seen to be putting the value into practice

Through the use of Think Sheets and recording incidents, staff members were able to gather information on specific aspects of behaviour management that needed developing.

This document specifically outlines the expectations of the Golden Rules to ensure that the policy is consistent throughout the whole school.

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