Best Practice Pastoral Care in the UK, USA and Australia

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Emerging Best Practice Pastoral Care in the UK, USA and Australia. By Meg Orton

This article provides an overview of the current position and recent developments in chaplaincy and pastoral care in health care settings in England, Scotland, the United States of America and Australia.Overall, the picture is one of significant change.


A report on Pastoral care in Western Australian Schools

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A report on Pastoral care in Western Australian Schools

This report presents the findings of a study into parents’ expectations and schools’ understanding and delivery of pastoral care, into how students experience pastoral care provision in schools, and into how district directors assess school effectiveness in this area.

This report is the culmination of over ninety focus groups and interviews across twenty Western Australian public schools, involving a cross-section of the school community, including district directors, principals/administrators, teachers, students and parents.

What was found?

Parents generally expected schools to provide a caring and supportive environment for their children and believed that this was achieved by school staff, particularly teachers:

  • showing a genuine interest in students by being approachable and sympathetic.

  • being present and available to talk with students, helping them with their problems, and

  • providing support as needed.

  • knowing their children as individuals and responding to their unique needs.

Students also expected schools to provide a caring and supportive environment and in this,emphasised the role of school staff, in particular teachers. Aspects they singled out included:

  • School staff being approachable, relating to students, listening to them and understanding their needs.

  • Treating students fairly and consistently in their day-to-day dealings, irrespective of their background, academic ability, or any prior reputation.

  • Effectively resolving issues which negatively impacted upon their quality of school experience, such as school “bullying” or playground “teasing”.

Evaluation of Skylight’s Travellers programme

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Travellers is an early intervention programme run by Skylight for students (generally in Year 9) in New Zealand secondary schools.In order to build on existing studies on Travellers, Skylight commissioned the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) to conduct an external evaluation that explored the short- and medium-term outcomes for the young people who took part in this programme in 2008 or 2009. This study
began in April 2011 and finished in January 2012. The overarching evaluation questions were:

  • What are the short- and medium-term impacts of the Travellers programme for young people?
  • How well is the Travellers programme meeting the needs of particular target groups?
  • How can the Travellers programme be improved?

The Wellbeing@School website

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The Wellbeing@School website provides schools with self-review tools to build a safe and caring climate that deters bullying.

Wellbeing at School: Building a safe and caring school climate that deters bullying –  This booklet is a summary of the key ideas from a literature review of New Zealand and international research about ways to create a caring and safe school climate that addresses bullying behaviours.

Discipline, Democracy, and Diversity: Working with Students with Behaviour Difficulties

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Completely eliminating behaviour difficulties in schools is probably not possible but reducing them is a realistic aim. This book provides a useful range of practical approaches, responses, practices, and procedures that teachers can use in their everyday work. The main focus is to illustrate the links between behavioural theory and competent teaching practice. The combination of research scholarship and on-the-job experience will support teachers to be more skilful managers of students with challenging behaviours.

The title, Discipline, Democracy, and Diversity recurs as a theme throughout the book.

  • Discipline is about teaching and modelling responsible individual and collective behaviours that will encourage students to become self-motivated and self-regulated learners.
  • Democracy is about putting into practice skilful and respectful approaches for meeting the needs of students experiencing behaviour difficulties.
  • Diversity is about creating an inclusive and safe environment: one that stimulates the development the development of knowledge, creativity, acceptance, and participation, and encourages the expression of feelings. 

Angus Macfarlane affiliates to the Te Arawa confederation of tribes in the central Bay of Plenty. He is an experienced teacher and educator in secondary schools, Special Education Services, and the Ministry of Education. Currently, he is an associate professor at the University of Waikato where he co-ordinates teaching and research in the Master of Special Education programme. His research has focused on the classroom management skills that can make teaching and learning more culturally relevant. In 2003 Dr Macfarlane was awarded the inaugural Senior Research Fellowship by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research. His landmark book Kia Hiwa Ra! Listen to Culture: Maori Students’ Plea to Educators is also published by NZCER Press.

Responsive Pedagogy

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Teachers are looking for new ways to respond to challenging behaviour. The premise of the book is that teachers can make a difference and that schools and early childhood education settings can be places where behaviour is addressed with courage and conviction.

Both the education sector and wider society are increasingly exploring culturally responsive and relationship-based principles and practices. This booksets out the theory and practice of a range of restorative practices and shows they can work in education settings. There is discussion of issues such as building systems-level engagement, leadership approaches and adults modelling restorative practice. 

The editors have drawn together educators and researchers who are experts in their field and who care deeply about students and teachers.

A health promoting schools approach to bullying

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Media headlines ensure that we are constantly reminded of the presence of bullying in our schools. This article draws on responses to a national survey on barriers to student learning. The strategies that primary and secondary schools that responded are implementing to address bullying are discussed in relation to the approach known as “health promoting schools”—an approach that is internationally recognised for its effectiveness in addressing mental health issues in schools.

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