From the Deputy Principal

Parents and carers have much to consider when choosing a secondary school for their child. Learning programs, VCE results, future readiness, co-curricular options. These complexities can mask perhaps the most fundamental aspect to consider, does my child feel happy at school? Students remark to me that they feel happy at St Aloysius College because they know they cared for, and they understand the importance to care and be considerate of others.

Empathy is an important stage of a child’s development, usually presenting around the age of two, sometimes earlier. If an older person makes an error of judgement and behaves badly towards another person, they will feel remorse due to tapping into their empathetic understanding. Empathy is something that should be regularly modelled by adults to our young people. We know penalising a person for a wrong doing often does not deter a recurrence of this behaviour, however reminding them of empathy can lead to a restored respect for the parties involved and markedly reduce poor behaviour and future errors of judgement.

Restorative Practice is the behavioural management system adopted by St Aloysius College to ensure students identify their poor choices made sometimes in the ‘heat of the moment’ and sometimes as a planned strategy. The next stage is to feel empathy, remorse and focus on reparations for the harm inflicted. Restorative Practice is not simply a conversation between parties seeking an apology, but it is based on an opportunity for learning. Understanding individuality, respecting others, and showing tolerance, self-discipline, self-control, and de-escalating emotions, are developmental lessons all young people need to learn. Letting go of past incidences and bouncing back are all benefits Restorative Practice fosters that cannot be addressed by such punitive measures as a detention.

Most importantly, after the agreed consequences have been completed, forgiveness and compassion applied and mutual respect has been restored, all parties move forward without any stigma. We separate the deed from the doer. We allow growth and we ensure the expectations and behavioural boundaries, and social limits are clearly understood and supported. Learning at school is not just about academics, learning about relationships and our role within them is crucial to create a future of inclusiveness, respect and empathy.

Ad Altiora

Rachel Valentine
Deputy Principal