I am bad apparently.' The role of stand-down to manage behaviour in communities of learners

Learning and teaching Learning strategies Discipline of children School discipline Parenting Pacific Area

This study investigates how students renegotiate their membership of the school community following being stood-down from school. In New Zealand stand-down is the least serious of the school exclusion provisions available to schools under the Education Act (1989). By sending the student home at stand-down for unacceptable behaviour the school principal restricts the student's participation in the school as a community of learners. Wenger's (1998) Theory of Situated Learning in Communities of Practice suggests participation is closely linked to membership and identity and that restricting participation creates marginalized membership and outbound identity trajectories. This study uses Wenger's (1998) theory as a framework to understand the shared stories of school membership for ten students stood-down from school in 2008. The study found that stand-down provides both constraints and opportunities for schools. School principals are constrained by the need to make a clear statement that the school is a safe environment for learning. At the same time stand-down presents an opportunity to ascertain the school identity trajectories of students at risk of exclusion from school at an earlier stage of a student's school experience. By listening to shared storytelling it was possible to get a clear picture of the nature of each student's reintegration to school following being stood-down. A closer focus on the stories of all participants in a stand-down event, therefore, may increase the school's ability to retain students in school.

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