Wherever humans are, there are also rules, standards, and procedures. Their purpose is simple: they provide guides for how we should act to accomplish our goals without in any way interfering with others who are trying to achieve their goals. This is how all of us can live in harmony with each other.
As part of our Learning Engagement Policy, the Responsible Thinking Process (RTP), is the preferred program for managing disruptive behaviour at St Columban’s College because we believe that it is most consistent with Gospel values and the Catholic Mission of the College. RTP is also very consistent with our current philosophy of Restorative Justice which asserts that nothing worthwhile can be achieved outside the concept of respectful and quality relationships.
RTP is based on these guiding principles:
- Students have the right to learn and teachers have the right to teach in safety.
- No one has the right to disrupt, to prevent others from learning, or to violate the rights of others.
- RTP, rather than being a set of rules, is an attitude about how a person interacts with others.
- RTP is a process that teaches respect for others through responsible thinking.
- RTP is not about how students behave, it is about how students are treated.
- It creates mutual respect by teaching students how to think through what they are doing in relation to the rules of the particular situation. This gives students personal accountability for their actions, thus teaching self-discipline.
If a student chooses to disrupt the classroom, they will be asked some specific questions that are designed to help them think about what they are doing and give them the opportunity to choose more appropriate behaviour.
- “What are you doing?”
- “What are the rules?”
- “What happens when you break the rules?”
- "Do you want this to happen?"
- "What do you want to do now?"
- "What happens if you disrupt again?"
If a student continues to disrupt, he or she has chosen to go to the RTC and follow the process.
At the Responsible Thinking Class (RTC), the student is required to seriously reflect upon their behaviour and take responsibility for their actions. They then formulate a plan that will assist them to not repeat the disruptive behaviour again. The RTC Supervisor would evaluate the student’s plan before the latter presents the plan to the teacher to be re-admitted to the class. This discussion with the teacher is a vital component in rebuilding a quality relationship.
Consistent with our Partnership of Excellence, if the pupil persists in disrupting lessons, their parents or caregivers would be asked to come to school for a discussion on how we can better support the student to respect the rights of others. If the student disrupts in the RTC, the parents of the student will be asked to take the student home until they are ready to re-engage in the process.
If a student can’t be in class, and can’t be in the RTC, they can’t be at school.
Specifically, the program:
- Protects time for teaching and learning
- Teaches students to exercise self-control, respect the rights of others and respect rules
- Helps students see that they are responsible for their actions
- Helps students think out ways to cooperate, set limits, compromise, plan and manage their lives.
The Responsible Thinking Classroom (RTC) is a dedicated quiet room designed to provide students with the opportunity to reassess their choices and to focus on thinking responsibly. It is not a detention room or a withdrawal room. If a student chooses, by their behaviour, to go to the RTC, they will be treated with respect and with confidence that they are very capable of managing the process of re-entry to the class.
Students who go to the RTC are not excluded from any classes other than the class in which the disruptive behaviour occurred.
Ms Margaret Galvin