At some point in the school year you will have to deal with students that break the rules and challenge authority. And it can be difficult to know how to respond.
Approaching situations with an attitude of logic helps you stop and think: What type of response could turn the infraction into a teachable moment or into an outlet for resentment? Instead of “by the book” punishment, there is a better way.
It’s based on the parenting philosophy of logical consequences for discipline. This is where responsive classroom management comes in (where every day lessons include academics as well as social and emotional impacts of individual actions).
This type of management or discipline is based around forming and maintaining a respectful relationship.
Principles Behind "Love & Logic"
The logic part comes in when we allow kids to learn decision making, benefit from their mistakes in the long run, and experience natural repercussions of their actions. When the logical consequences are balanced with love and empathy, the child grows and is able to learn to make smart choices and live a happy and fulfilled life.
To teach students self-discipline in the same way, we can approach classroom management with a similar balance of love and logic. The following benefits will be a result:
- Students who feel respected, or even loved, will be less motivated to intentionally cause discipline problems.
- They feel more relaxed when they know that they have a good blend of both choices and reasonable limits.
- Problem solving and decision making skills are nurtured over time.
- Misbehavior is actively prevented, removing the need to constantly address it.
- In cases where consequences are needed, a teacher can effectively guide the student to see the natural repercussions, learn, and grow.
Learn more about love & logic approaches here:
But How Do Logical Consequences Apply in the Teen Years?
It’s no secret that parents, teachers, and even students are not fans of suspension as a form of punishment.
However, it still seems to be one of the most common forms of punishments that schools offer.
For example, if a student is caught graffiting the bathroom, they are often suspended. Whether it’s in school or out of school suspension they are missing important class discussions, the heart of learning.
What’s great about logical consequences is that they can be applied in so many areas. They are perfect for the classroom, with your own children, or for school wide policies. The consequences don’t just punish, they teach.
● Intend to teach lessons
● Are logical and related
● Are proactive
● Promote responsibility
● Foster internal locus of control
● Work in the long run
● Intend to give discomfort
● Are unrelated and often personal
● Are reactive
● Can promote obedience, but sometimes also resentment
● Fosters external locus of control
● Works in the short-term
That’s why logical consequences are a far better way to deal with unacceptable behavior. Making them a proactive learning moment will stick with students far longer than punishment will.
Whether it was accidentally or intentionally, this deals with situations where something broke or a mess has been made. It assigns the student responsibility of righting the situation as best as they can.
For example: A student running in the hallway knocks into a student, breaking their project for next period. Instead of sending the student to the office for punishment, have the student help fix the project. Then have the student at fault explain to the teacher of that class that it was their fault for anything that may have not be fixable.
A student throws garbage instead of getting up to take it to the trash bin (or leaves scraps on the floor and walks out of the room when the period is over without cleaning up his/her area). Now, at the end of class, that student will have to stay for a minute and pick up any garbage on the floor in the room and get it all into the bin (or be on the recycling team for a week).
2. Loss of Privilege
This works great in the classroom to help dial in student’s behavior. Adolescents are pretty much hardwired to challenge the rules at some point in time, and in doing so they have to face a consequence of losing a privilege.
For example: Students that didn’t turn in their homework or complete the assignment will not get to participate in the fun activity or game that is planned. Instead, they have to spend that time to complete the work. Or when a student fools around too much in class, they have to sit by the teacher for the rest of the class (or week).
3. A Positive Time Out
Sometimes students can’t control themselves. They start to disrupt class with outbursts and other antics that hinder everyone’s ability to learn in the classroom. That’s when the student will need to “take a break” and recover self control. It is important that the students know this time-out is only to allow a chance to check their behavior before they spin out completely.
For example: A student won’t stop talking out of turn during class, they ignore instructions to be quiet and keep talking out of turn. Remove them from the immediate area and have them sit in a designated “time out spot” so that they can calm down before it escalates. This is exactly the type of student who does not want to miss out on the community and discussion! They will quickly learn to follow the guidelines for participation so that they do not miss out again.
TIP: Whenever I prep a fun review game or activity, I also copy a few worksheet versions of the same type of practice. This makes it so easy to keep the class under control during something fun. They know I already have a more “boring” option ready for them, and a student who cannot handle the fun game with self-control will be immediately handed the worksheet option and pulled from the class activity to go sit in the hall with a clipboard to do the quiet worksheet with the same practice. They are motivated to stick to my expectations for behavior because they do not want the consequence of missing the fun.
The key is to keep it streamlined, simple, and straightforward. Stay consistent, and use a calm voice to explain that now this is the consequence.
That’s just how it works. Leave no room for argument or negotiation.
Try phrases like:
- Clearly, you cannot handle this right now, so as a result, ,you'll need to grab that sheet from the corner of my desk and take it over to…
- You will need to show me that you have the self-control to participate in an activity like this next time. (afterward / at the end of the class period)
- Since you made the choice to ___, now you will have to _____.
- Now that you've caused __(problem)__, you'll need to fix it by __(natural consequence)__.
Stay calm and clear.