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The 4R's that show the way to better behaviour

Huge drops in the number of pupils monitored for bad behaviour have been reported in one Welsh county where schools prescribe to the 4R's - resilience, resourcefulness, reciprocity and reflectiveness. The building learning power methodology, the brainchild of Professor Guy Claxton from Bristol university, is now adopted in 75 per cent of secondaries and 84 per cent of primaries in Newport.

Debra Guy, acting headteacher at Malpas Court primary, said that while some children were "naturally studious," others find it hard to concentrate on work. She said there had been a 33 per cent decrease in the number of pupils needing tracking because of disruptive behaviour since they adopted the technique more than two years ago.

At a conference organised by Newport county council and the General Teaching Council of Wales, Mrs Guy told how giving children ownership of learning had helped improve their behaviour. "More than half of Malpas Court's pupils receive free school meals and 39 per cent are on the special needs register. Now they are more reflective in their learning and listen to each other, valuing each other's opinions," she said.

Among tactics used by the schools is a learning wall where achievements are recorded. Pupils also have a say on what they want to learn - posting questions on "wonder walls".

St Julian's infant school in Newport uses animals to illustrate the meaning of the 4R's to its children. A salmon represents resilience, a robin resourcefulness, a tortoise reflectiveness, and ants working together demonstrate reciprocity.

* aled.blake@tes.co.uk

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