Thursday, December 11, 2014

Five Key Ideas About Consequences

Five Key Ideas About Consequences

Article from School Improvement Network
There’s no magic wand for helping students maintain discipline in the classroom. And if you think about it, such a magic wand would probably do more harm than good. Effective classroom discipline is less about keeping students in line and more about helping students understand their behavior, their priorities, and the value of their relationship with you.
Consequences are one of the most powerful tools we can use to help students make good choices in the classroom. Rather than being methods of control or punishment, they should be seen as learning opportunities that help students understand the relationship of behavior and outcomes. Keeping these five simple ideas about consequences in mind will make them easier to use properly and with the most benefit. 
1. There are no punishments, just consequences
Punishments don’t teach the truly valuable lessons, especially when they demean, demoralize, or shame. On the other hand, if we keep in mind that we’re providing consequences, it’s easier to approach every step of discipline as a learning experience.
2. Consequences are used as a pause to get our students’ attention
Sometimes a quiet conversation is all it takes to get a student’s attention. Other times, it takes a more severe consequence—like a trip to the principal. Either way, a consequence should serve to give a student a pause to reflect on their choices and to remind them that they are hungry to learn.
3. Consequences should be organized in a tiered hierarchy

Use a hierarchy of consequences, starting with the mildest first. Then slowly and calmly increase the consequences as necessary, stopping with the first one that gives the student the pause you’re looking for.
4. We have no control over our students
It’s important to remember that ultimately, we have no control over any of our students and following the rules is their decision to make. Yes, as educators we have the power of suggestion. Yes, we can influence decisions with our voice, our tone, the redirection strategies we employ, and the consequences that follow. But in the end, the decision is theirs. The deeper our respect for this, the easier it is for us to remain calm and supportive in moments when we might wish we had more control.
5. Consequences teach students that they have the power of choice
When your consequences provide students an opportunity to pause and reflect, it affirms to them that they have the power of choice. They become aware that how they choose to behave determines the consequences (good or bad) that follow. They have the choice to misbehave, accept consequences, and calm down. Or, they have the choice to abide by class rules and experience the positive consequences.
If you’re looking for a great resource on classroom management best practices, you can check out Rick Smith’s new edition ofConscious Classroom Management by clicking here.

Using Nonverbal Praise Routines to Improve Classroom Discipline 

One great strategy for promoting classroom discipline and good behavior (and thereby negating the need for consequences) is through nonverbal praise routines. These facilitate student-to-student praise and encouragement that doesn’t interrupt instruction.
Effective routines are:
  • Quick, quiet, and simple
  • Promote engagement
  • Involve all students
You can watch a video on Edivation (formerly known as PD 360) to see effective nonverbal praise routines in action in the classroom.

This video also comes with a guidebook that shows how to establish and improve routines in your own classroom.