Homework at Arlington

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Topics that are often raised in discussions between Preshil and current families are the School’s approach to managing behaviour and homework.  Preshil avoids the imposition of arbitrary rules that require unquestioning obedience and that invoke automatic punishment when children fail to comply.  In line with the approach of the International Baccalaureate our communities establish agreements in a consensus approach to protecting the rights of individuals and identifying the responsibilities to make this possible.

Class discussions and discussions between teachers and children regularly monitor if the agreements are working, if individuals are adhering to the agreements and if they need to be changed.Behaviour management at Arlington is based on the idea of ‘setting things right’ – a restorative approach, rather than a punitive one.  However, this does not mean that negative interactions, bullying, aggression or abusive behavior are not taken seriously.

Parents always ask about homework at Arlington.  At Preshil children are not expected to do set amounts of homework every night.  More and more educational research shows that there is little if any positive impact on learning.  Many educationalists accept that homework is more aligned with other conventional school practices that enforce rigid adherence to conformity, compliance and enforced discipline than encouraging a love of learning and individual motivation to master a particular challenge.

At Preshil we believe that any homework should be purposeful, differentiated to individual needs and personally relevant.  Parents have the right to decide on how their children spend time outside of school and children have the right to playtime, extracurricular activities, downtime and adequate sleep.

No child should dread coming to school knowing that they were not able to complete a set task and that they will be punished.  Children should be able to devote some time to the things they love; those things that nourish them and give them an individual experience of the real joy of learning.

Reading at home is a very powerful way to assist all children to learn and to build their confidence through reading material that is genuinely interesting to them and accessible.  Too many school ‘readers’ considered ‘worthy’ by adults often fail these criteria, being both too hard and too boring at the same time!

It’s great, of course, if parents take the time to hear their children read, even better if parents also read books to their children that they cannot read themselves, but the real winner is when children get to see their parents – and other adults they love – reading themselves for the sheer pleasure of it.

Although the Preshil way is to try to understand and work with difficult behaviour it does not accept persistent transgressions.  Strategies are employed at all age levels to promote behaviours that are pro-social and in the best interests of the whole school community.  Preshil also has a Behaviour Management Policy and a Mutual Respect Policy that favour a model of restorative justice.  When required, this policy can inform and shape very firm consequences.

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