Melbourne high school - Alia College - FAQ

Q: How do you deal with bullying and anti-social behaviour?

A: The generous and tolerant atmosphere at Alia has not been achieved by accident. It is the result of a thoughtful approach which involves listening to students, without jumping to hasty conclusions; understanding both sides of any story; and being considerate of the feelings and intentions of all members of the school community.

Teachers avoid bullying students. Teachers are bullies enough in expecting projects on time; attendance on time; giving tests; and, above all else writing reports and doing parent/student/teacher interviews regularly.

Teachers provide a clear example to students of reasonable and mature behaviour. However, there is no policy of 'anything goes': teachers guide students in their learning and maintain clear expectations. They insist that students attend all classes punctually, work steadily and complete assignments and homework when they are due. Tests are conducted regularly and progress is systematically reported to parents. In other words, teachers exercise leadership and professional responsibility.

Teachers at Alia try to make the rest of the school experience for students as cheerful as possible by not acting like jailers, or over zealous police officers trying to catch every infringement of a dress code. Students are appreciative of teachers who primarily aim to teach rather than to minutely control behaviour. They pass on this attitude to others in the school.

Parents often report that their children are much calmer and more cheerful at home only a short time after they start at Alia. Sometimes new students come to Alia with defensive or aggressive behaviours. Gradually they learn that the system here is different and they learn to join the group. The full story is too long to go into here.

If you are keen, have a chat with the Principal, Bob, but take care he loves talking about such things. Just to whet your appetite, consider the following. There are many definitions of bullying but no firmly and widely agreed litmus test of where joking around stops and bullying starts. [refer 1 below]

Almost every bully insists that "It was just a Joke". and that; "There's something wrong with them because they just can't take a joke." Sometimes even standing up for yourself can lead to accusations of bullying. All of this makes it really difficult to use rigid approaches to try to deal with bullying.

In fact overly firm approaches themselves tend to make teachers look like bullies and so tend to validate bullying attitudes! At Alia we prefer our version of the Golden Rule.

[1]Here is a link to a nice summary of the difficulty of trying to tie down exactly What bullying is by Dr. Ken Rigby a renowned expert on bullying.

Q: What is the Golden Rule?

A: It's something like: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Oh! And pay attention to what those others are saying, about what you are planning to do to them, preferably before you do it.

The Golden Rule is not a simple solution. You can see considerations for and against it

Q: Where does the name ALIA come from?

A:We had a great deal of trouble trying to get a name that everyone was happy with. We wanted a name that indicated that we had a different approach to schooling and that suggested that we engaged in a calmer and more academic atmosphere.

A parent suggested alia because we teach Latin language. It comes from the Latin phrase inter alia meaning among other (things).
So alia means other.

We have also been advised that: