What makes a good school environment? Who can create it? What is needed? These are some questions that school leaders, teachers and parents frequently ask.
Without a doubt, a positive school environment is maintained by setting standards against violence in all its forms. This can only be achieved through a systemic and comprehensive whole school approach to developing and implementing a behaviour policy. However teachers have a special role to play.
In their everyday settings, teachers need to set personal examples to create an environment where positive and pro-social approaches are used to address interpersonal problems.
Reducing and preventing violence in all its forms demands that teachers – and other adults - demonstrate through personal example - that they are guides who lead pupils through the process of solving problems. They need to be teachers of emotional and social skills, adults who guide pupils through resolving conflict situations.
However, they are more. Teachers – like other adults - are role models for the pupils. However, sometimes they unintentionally display "power" based behaviour.
In everything they do – from managing the classroom, intervening when conflict and problems arise, to the teacher styles used - teachers need to be mindful of the environment they are creating and the impact they have on pupil's behaviour.
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