Monday, 17 August 2009

What is not negotiable in a school?

Are there any things that are not negotiable in a school?
For me, there are three things that are not negotiable,
  • No harm to self, others or property (aka care, safety,...)
  • No disruption to work or safe play (consideration, learning...)
  • No offense to other members of the school community* (courtesy, respect, friendship....)
(* Includes neighbours and visitors)
In fact, these are the three school rules. These rules are derived directly from the rules that apply in our society - the school does not invent these. And they related directly to the two key outcomes
  • success
  • well-being
There are several supportive ways in which we interact with students. The main ways include
  • coaching
  • negotiating
  • mediating
  • befriending
  • advocating
  • ...
In fact when it comes to the not negotiable three school rules, the bottom line is that at times we will just need to be assertive. Of course there are children who, based on their other life experiences, expect all things to be negotiable. And others who dismiss all support other than befriending... And yet others who simply don't understand. But these things don't change the rules.
It is best to achieve as much s possible on the basis of our working relationships with students (coach, friend, mediator...). However, when our working relationships break down, we may need to be assertive and our right to do so comes from our role: Principal, Class Teacher, Duty Teacher, Teacher Aide...
Making the role explicit while being assertive can help reduce the student's confusion.


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