Policies are important in schools. When implemented correctly the provide a standpoint from which we can work work with students. The problem comes when there are too many policies and too many rules. Both teachers and students cannot keep up, resulting in policies being poorly and inconsistently implemented. The best classrooms are run on essential agreements reached between students and their teachers. Students have a pretty good grasp as to what is acceptable behaviour and what isn’t, they just need a supporting hand from their teacher along the way to keep them on-track. Furthermore, schools that are values driven and support their teachers in explicitly teaching these values through their everyday classes, will begin to positively shape student behaviour.
The best control for student behaviour is engagement and that is largely driven by the teacher. Though we do need to recongnise that engagement must be accompanied by challenge ensuring that learning takes place, as opposed to busy work. If schools placed more emphasis on improving teacher practice rather than trying to control student behaviour with policy, schools would most definitely be better places to learn.