By: Ben Flood

Kaitao Intermediate principal Phil Palfrey aims to reinforce positive teacher and pupil relationships. Photo/Ben Fraser

A Rotorua school principal believes schools nationwide need to adopt new ways of thinking to ensure they abide by the standards for physical restraint.

Kaitao Intermediate’s staff went through the Understanding Behaviour, Responding Safely (UBRS) workshop on Thursday to better teachers’ understanding of preventing and de-escalating negative behaviour from their pupils.

The full-day workshop is run by the Ministry of Education’s Incredible Years Teacher programme and focuses on preventive and de-escalation techniques for student behaviour.

It was promoted to schools after the regulations for physical restraint were updated in August.

Principal Phil Palfrey said his staff responded extremely well to the workshop and were on the same page when it came to controlling their pupils’ behaviour.

“I wanted to ensure there was consistency among the teachers’ understanding, that you have to love and treat your pupils as if they were your own kids. Because if you don’t, this is the wrong profession for you,” he said.

Mr Palfrey said it was important for all schools to adopt this programme since the physical restraint regulations were updated.

“The rules of restraint have changed so much and you have to be careful as a teacher to not grab a student, which is why I think this programme helps. It shows teachers constructive ways to talk to children and de-escalate situations,” he said.

The Ministry of Education’s guidelines on the use of physical restraint states it should only be used as a last resort and in emergency situations when a student’s behaviour poses an imminent danger of physical injury to themselves or others.

“It’s important to talk to kids with a quiet voice rather than yelling and being aggressive because then you have no control over the situation,” Mr Palfrey said.

Kaitao Intermediate year 7 and 8 teacher Denise Sharp said the UBRS workshop was an awesome chance to reinforce focusing on positive student behaviour rather than negative.

“The things we learnt aren’t new but it helped us pick out what is already built into us as teachers. It helped us figure out how to better understand and relate to our kids and which teaching methods work best for them,” she said.

Although Kaitao Intermediate is the first Rotorua school to take part in the programme, other local schools have shown interest and booked workshop dates as well.

Source: NZ Herald


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