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‘Caught-being-good’ card reward for obeying rules

Aug 18th, 2011 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

BEING good has become second nature to these pupils at Newtown School, thanks to a government programme aimed at managing disruptive behaviour.

Rosetta Stone (7) (left) and her fellow students  – from left: Matthew Lauridsen (7), Jordaan Airhairde (8), Neve Tassicker (5), Liam Bedford (5), Kahurangi McCaskill (10), Tom Cole (10) and Davin Ojala (10)  – have just succeeded in getting to second “prize” in Positive Behaviour for Learning.

Their reward is an activities day, and they get to choose the activities: “Sewing, skipping, cooking and mini golf,” says Neve.

“It makes us feel happy because we’ve achieved something,” says Davin.

The pilot scheme, running since last year, is designed to improve student behaviour and achievement by reducing suspensions, increasing learning time, which leads to improved literacy and numeracy.

One strategy being tried is making school rules simple and memorable, says deputy principal Sheree Garton.

“Pupils aren’t going to remember a whole list of rules,” she says. “We have main rules that are shown around the school so students will remember.”

These include “be safe, be respectful, be positive, be a learner”.

She says teachers give “caught-being-good cards” to pupils who have reinforced school rules or made an achievement.

The cards are stored in a container shaped like a kahikatea tree. It has three levels and as each is filled with reward cards the students as a group achieve the next prize.

The first prize was a movie day, the second is the upcoming activities day, and the third will be a trip to H2O swimming pool in Upper Hutt.

The school has a student council that meets once a week to discuss problems. 

Crowding at drinking fountains and rubbish in stairways have been addressed by putting up signs that show relevant school rules.

“At the drinking fountain we count to 10 [to limit time spent],” says Neve.

“We keep left in corridors and walk, not run,” says Davin.

Some pupils reinforce school rules by telling others they are doing something wrong.

“Sometimes we have to individually tell students, but people have become good,” says Rosetta.

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is a Whitireia journalism student. Holds Bachelor of Communications, major in Journalism Studies, composite minor in Media Studies and Expressive Arts.
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