The whole school community at Porirua College has been involved in creating a more successful learning environment after taking up the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) School-Wide approach.
Porirua College Principal Susanne Jungersen and Head Girl Olouta Faraimo, 2013.
The PB4L School-Wide approach focuses on teaching positive behaviour and developing a social culture that supports learning.
Funding from the Prime Minister’s Youth Mental Health Project will enable all secondary schools in New Zealand to access PB4L School-Wide by 2016.
Porirua College principal Susanne Jungersen says that the PB4L School-Wide approach has brought about real improvements in the college since its introduction in 2010. It has contributed to a significant reduction in stand downs and suspensions, and improved NCEA results.
‘PB4L has brought real clarity and cohesiveness,’ she says. The college adopted PB4L School-Wide because it is evidence based, focuses on building systems and complements the restorative practice approach the college was already using.
‘Teachers use the college’s revamped data management system to record information about behaviour incidents’
Using data to inform decisions is a critical part of PB4L School-Wide. Teachers use the college’s revamped data management system to record information about behaviour incidents, including time, location, level of severity and their response. This information is then used to help the college plan targeted behaviour campaigns.
‘The system is strongly embedded now, and these approaches are very powerful. The principles of what the escalating incidents look like have been established very clearly. Restorative chats and conferences provide the tools to repair relationships,’ Susanne says.
The college worked closely with staff, students, parents and the board to develop a unique PB4L School-Wide approach and practices outlining behaviours that support learning. This included instigating a school-wide ‘Pride Guide’, which clearly defined expectations. Students designed posters to explain the ‘pride principles’ and different aspects of positive behaviour were focused on each week in the programme’s first year.
PB4L School-Wide messages are consistently reinforced through the students’ posters, teachers’ responses, the school newsletter and ‘Karma Cards’, which are small reward cards that are handed out to students on a regular basis for positive behaviours.
‘The cards have high status and celebrate success,’ Susanne says. ‘It’s very important that we continue to reward, praise and acknowledge. The students are knowledgeable about the PB4L School-Wide approach, and they will sometimes even remind the teachers about the things on the Pride Guide.’