Author: Mr Reid Dobson, Acting Director of Student Services
As the College continues to engage with and implement Restorative Practices as a key element of our Pastoral Care processes, the mid-way mark of Term 1 provides us with a great opportunity to reflect on our journey so far this year.
At Faith, Restorative Practices (RP) focusses on developing solutions to concerns regarding behaviour and discipline; however, more importantly RP is about the restoration of relationships when conflict arises. Whilst this can be confronting for some students, we have found that it helps develop empathy, resilience and an enhanced understanding on how a student’s choices can affect the world around them.
Key to the success of RP is the continued inclusion and active engagement of students in the relational management process. Students at Faith share in the opportunity to develop classroom expectations, regularly engage in conversations on a range of ethical and social issues during Circle Chat, take on lead roles in the delivery of pastoral care programs, and are active participants in relational management processes when challenging situations arise. This increased ownership and accountability by students has had a profound influence on developing College culture and improving aspects of communication and support between staff and students.
This term through our Pastoral Care programs we have focussed on helping students understand how their choices impact others and contribute to the culture, feel and overall College environment here at Faith. Of importance for many of our students has been supporting them in maintaining respectful relationships with one another by working through conflict calmly and respectfully, by considering the impact of their words and conversations and avoiding the temptation to lash out physically at one another in frustration.
Schools are organisations based around relationships and keeping these largely positive relies on students maintaining high standards of application to their studies and implementation of the basic rules and procedures of College. It has been great to see teachers and staff supporting students throughout the beginning of Term 1 to help get basic expectations like uniform, following simple directions, mobile device use and classroom behaviour up to high standard. For RP to be successfully implemented these high expectations need to be continually reinforced by staff and parents through high levels of care and support.
Lastly, an ongoing message for our students this term has been around appreciating and respecting the opportunity that they, as learners, have here at Faith. Year Coordinators have been busy encouraging students to employ a positive growth mindset, a diligent application to their studies and a willingness to find an appropriate balance between their work, social and school lives so that they can maximise their potential in 2019.
A strong partnership between students, parents/carers and staff is vital in helping us support our students as they continue to grow as holistic learners in this ever-changing community landscape.