Social-Emotional Education

Behaviour Education and Self-Management

At MCES, we see BESM (Behaviour Education and Self Management) as a responsibility of the entire school community.  Students, parents and teachers need to have a clear understanding of what is expected in regard to how we treat each other to ensure a welcoming learning environment that is supportive and safe.

“Behaviour education is most effective when built into, not onto curriculum”

“Behaviour is shaped by the sum total of regular and frequent lessons that create small but meaningful changes over a long and sustained period of time”

“Falsely rescuing children from emotional discomfort and difficulty weakens their resilience and lessens their capacity to persevere”

-Wilson McCaskill

Training students to be in control of their thoughts, feelings and actions allows them to harness their many and varied abilities and skills to pursue the abundant pathways to success in life.

Through Social-Emotional Education, we aim to:

  • develop positive social behaviour
  • create a shared body of experience that is used to build relationships
  • highlight the benefits of managing emotions and working together
  • develop optimism and the ability to bounce back
  • encourage self-motivation and the capacity to persevere
  • initiate a process of self-awareness and discovery
  • create a positive tone and safe school culture
  • promote fun, excitement and challenge


We believe that the language we use, when correcting children on their behaviour, is key to creating opportunities for students to accept responsibility for their actions, make correct choices and develop resilience. Every teacher at MCES uses a common language approach as part of our BESM policy.

Teachers must talk in a way that allows students to reflect – not react, and should behave in a way that allows students to accept – not defend.  Teachers use language prompts and language that encourages self-control.  They also take the time to use language prompts to re-direct behaviour both in front of the class and individually.

Reflective Language

  • “Right thing or wrong thing to do?”
  • “Strong decision or weak moment decision?”
  • “Feelings or thinking in charge?”
  • Am I trying to hurt you or help you?”
  • “Are you running away from the problem or dealing with it?”
  • “Being your own boss or asking me to be the boss?”


Every teacher does focus on the acknowledgment and reinforcement of good manners in our community. We believe manners help maintain a positive school culture and facilitate strong relationships.


Every attempt is made to keep parents informed at every level of the BESM process.  It is vital to cultivate a productive link between home and school, as this is a determining factor of success when improving a students’ behaviour. Newsletter inserts are provided regularly to explain the different parts of the BESM process and more importantly to share the powerful language used at Merritt Central Elementary School.


Praise needs to be specific and sincere, with the intention of giving meaningful feedback to a child.

At MCES we are working towards developing self-motivated learners. We believe using rewards and punishments to manipulate students’ behaviour is objectionable and counterproductive. It takes talent, effort, and patience to help students develop the skill of self-control and the commitment to manage their own behaviour. Instead of using rewards, praise and punishments, we need to teach children to reflect upon their actions and to learn more about themselves.