Praising good behaviour
In the interest of delivering an enjoyable learning experience and creating an environment conducive to high standards of learning, Apricot recognises the importance of promoting good behaviour and proactively encourages good online etiquette. We self-consciously extend our praise to include how their good behaviour will serve them in relationships, once they are reunited with their peers in school, and in the workplace.
Why students engage
Students who may present challenging behaviours in the context of a traditional learning environment often engage readily in the online learning environment for the following reasons:
- The use of technology is a strong motivator
- The physical distractions of a traditional classroom are removed
- The transactional distance between student and teacher is distant and allows the student to engage
- The stimulating nature of the online classroom increases attention span
Many teaching skills and strategies transfer readily between the bricks and mortar school and the online classroom. However, without recourse to the traditional indicators of eye contact and body language as a means of communication to express recognition of behaviour and our consequent approval or disapproval, Apricot relies on verbal and written reinforcement of behaviour. Praise and positive reinforcement are continual via audio and the chatbox (text and emoticons). Apricot’s Student Awards are used to celebrate a host of achievements: academic, effort, engagement, behaviour, etc., and are truly valued by most students and parents. Increasingly, however, we find it is equally important for students to express their own pride in achievement rather than simply hear it from their teachers.
Managing behaviour that is attention seeking, rude, or disruption that escalates or becomes persistent, is handled by simply removing classroom privileges for a few seconds. Losing a privilege for only a few seconds can have a significant impact on someone in the throes of an online rant.
Apricot teachers understand the need to display empathy in recognition of language and behaviour that may represent normality for some young people referred to our services. Teachers are also assured that it is not our expectation that they should tolerate being the direct target of abuse. Context and circumstances are always taken into account, but building positive relationships and focussing on learning is always our priority and poor behaviour will not be allowed to occur at the expense of learning.
Apricot promotes good behaviour
- All students agree to an acceptable use agreement that defines Apricot’s expectations of behaviour in the online learning environment.
- We Involve parents, carers, and commissioning bodies (as appropriate) in promoting good behaviour.
- Apricot teachers model excellent online behaviour at all times in accordance with Apricot’s Code of Conduct.
- Teachers learn a range of strategies for behaviour management in the online classroom.
- Positive behaviour is always reinforced through praise and recognition. Students are reminded that this is the kind of behaviour that will allow them to be successful when they reintegrate back into mainstream.
- SMSC is embedded into each course and explicit reference to both SMSC and British Values is made at every opportunity.
Commissioning bodies will always be notified of incidents of unacceptable behaviour. All reported incidents will be considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the circumstances and the known needs of the young person. As a general rule, students are made aware that we (and the next learning environment to which they reintegrate) will not accept the following behaviours:
- Rude or inappropriate language if targeted at teachers
- Aggressive language or threats of physical violence
- Bullying or intimidation
- Racist, sexist, or homophobic comments
All lessons are recorded for safeguarding purposes and any instance of unacceptable behaviour demonstrated by any party is captured in its entirety.