Supporting Teachers and Enhancing Student Behaviour

Monash University’s Innovative Project assists teachers with disruption in their classrooms.

Monash University, in collaboration with the Victorian Department of Education, is launching a valuable set of resources designed to assist both teachers and education support staff in managing disruptive student behaviour.

The Challenge of Disruptive Behaviour

Recent data from the OECD highlights that Australian classrooms experience some of the highest levels of disruption globally. This issue is not only detrimental to the learning environment but also contributes to high teacher turnover rates. Monash University aims to address this challenge in partnership with the Victorian Department of Education.

Introducing BASIS: Behaviour Assessment and Supports in Schools

The project will introduce a series of units known as Behaviour Assessment and Supports in Schools (BASIS). These units will offer professional development opportunities for Victorian government schoolteachers and education support staff.

Empowering Educators for Inclusive Education

BASIS will focus on enhancing the knowledge and skills needed to create inclusive educational environments. It aligns with the Department of Education’s Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO 2.0) and the Victorian Teaching and Learning Model. These units are crucial in equipping educators to support the academic, behavioural, and well-being needs of all students.

A Holistic Approach

Professor Umesh Sharma, the Project Lead from the Faculty of Education at Monash University, emphasized the innovative nature of this project.

“Rather than a transfer of knowledge, our aim with this project is to change practices and beliefs of educators by using a heart, head, and hand approach. What this means is that each unit will incorporate content and activities that focus on changing the heart (i.e., beliefs), the head (i.e., new knowledge) and the hands (i.e., practice) of educators,” said Professor Sharma.

Connecting with Existing Initiatives

Project Co-lead Dr Erin Leif, also from the Faculty of Education, explained that the project is designed to integrate with other department initiatives that support student academic engagement and achievement. The resources will help educators recognize the strong links between academic instructional practices and classroom behaviour support practices, empowering them to employ practical strategies for teaching social, emotional, and behavioural skills within everyday classroom interactions.

Responsive to Diverse Needs

To ensure that the units cater to the diverse needs of students, BASIS will provide examples of how evidence-informed behaviour support strategies can be delivered in trauma-informed and culturally responsive ways.

Customized Strategies

These units will equip educators with the knowledge and tools to use a decision-making framework and adapt strategies to meet the unique needs of their students.

Creating Alignment, Not Burden

Dr. Russell Fox, from the Faculty of Education, emphasized the importance of creating an approach that aligns with existing practices and department initiatives rather than adding a new burden to educators. Consistency across various settings is crucial.

The program’s design will incorporate input from a diverse group of stakeholders, including Victorian school leaders, teachers, education support staff, Certified Behavior Analysts, indigenous leaders, disability advisers, and parents.

Department’s Support

The Victorian Department of Education is enthusiastic about this collaboration and anticipates the delivery of BASIS units over the next two years. This project engages with various stakeholders, including Aboriginal, parent, and disability representatives, to create valuable resources for teachers and education support staff. The ultimate goal is to enhance the educational experience and outcomes for all students.