01 July 2014

 Boy throwing a paper plane in a classroom.The University of South Australia’s School of Education will stage a national summit this month, for the first time examining the issue of student behaviour in schools from a big picture perspective.

Summit convenor Dr Anna Sullivan says the comprehensive program of public and conference events will look at the issues in a human rights context.

“There is growing international public and political debate around the issue of student behaviour in schools that focuses on children’s rights, the responsibilities of educators and the educational setting and how the ecology of the learning environment impacts on educational outcomes,” Dr Sullivan says.

“We are bringing together policy analysts, academics, teachers and educators, and public intellectuals to look at student behaviour in the broadest possible light.

“So we will look at managing behaviour, what works and in which circumstances, but we will look more broadly at school leadership, student engagement, inclusion, relationships in the school environment and how all these factors impact on student behaviour.”

The summit delivers a comprehensive program including a public lecture from the National Children’s Commissioner, Megan Mitchell on the topic of the Rights of children in schools: A human rights perspective on behaviour.

Dr Sullivan says the summit opens up opportunities to look at research and practice, challenge current thinking and policy, raise questions and innovate.

“I think as communities evolve and societies change we need to move beyond traditional approaches to behaviour in schools,” Dr Sullivan says.

“Ideas about the position of children in society changed so dramatically in the last half of the 20th century and are continuing to change rapidly as 21st century social norms evolve and as educators we need to respond to that both in how we teach and how we relate to our students.

“This summit gives us an opportunity to look at new thinking, new ideas around education and the dynamics of school communities and the environments we need to create to ensure students can get the most out of their experience of school and the best learning outcomes possible.”

The Behaviour in Australian Schools: current trends and possibilities national summit will be held at the Hawke Building at City West campus on July 15 and 16.

The summit has participation from Catholic, Independent and Government school sectors and is sponsored by the Department for Education and Child Development South Australia.

Media contact: Michèle Nardelli office: 08 8302 0966 mobile: 0418 823 673 email: Michele.nardelli@unisa.edu.au

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