4/14/2017 17 Comments
Logical Consequences for Teens
Classroom Management for Middle & High School Based on Love & Logic
Principles Behind "Love & Logic"
In parenting, the idea is that we love our children enough to have strong, consistent expectations and enforce reasonable guidelines. A child who knows what is expected and has clear procedures in place is actually happier.
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:
Learn more about love & logic approaches here:
But How Do Logical Consequences Apply in the Teen Years?
So, instead of kicking them out of their usual class routine and locking them in a detention room or even worse, sending them home, why not try something else? Instead, have the student either come in early or stay late to clean their graffiti from the bathrooms with the janitor. They not only have consequences for their actions, but they also learned that they are going to be in charge of cleaning up or fixing it. This effect is the natural and reasonable result of the behavior that the student chose to participate in.
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.
According to professor and education expert from California State University John Shindler, there are definite differences between consequences and punishments.
● 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.
3 Types of Logical Consequences
1. You Break It - You Fix It
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.
As you can see, the main point of logical consequences is conveying a lesson and not just doling out punishment. Adolescents not only have a chance to see the error in their behavior, but they see how to fix it, see how it affects them and others, and also a chance to learn and improve their actions in the future.
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.
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More on Management to Read Next:
1/5/2018 10:37:17 pm
Please elaborate on moving a student to the hall and how you keep him or her on task while also managing the rest of the class. What do you do when you have more than one student who needs to be separated from the group?
1/7/2018 08:07:32 am
1/7/2018 01:58:09 pm
If you are referring to a high school student, which I think you are, the term time-out is not appropriate. Instead of a "time-out", maybe you could send the student to the hallway and have the student write out the rule they disregarded multiple times.
1/9/2018 09:54:16 am
Thanks for the thoughts, Sally!
4/1/2018 10:49:18 pm
I'm not sure I am a fan of those phrases you provided. They are "you" statements, and I would try turning them into "I" statements. Just like the first sentence in my comment, "I" statements take the accusation away. Teens get a lot of "Why did you do that? What's wrong with you?" They don't need even more of that type of language to put them down. If they messed up, they know they did. "You" statements just reinforce the idea that they can't do anything right. By using "I" statements then you are putting yourself into mix, and showing the student that the conversation or consequence is due to your own concerns, and not because you think the student is bad or incompetent.
4/3/2018 11:58:51 am
Wow, You are absolutely right!
7/26/2018 09:29:04 am
6/16/2022 10:39:26 am
Unfortunately, I do not have windows to the hall from my classroom. But, I do have good relationships with the teachers next door to me. If a student needs a "time-out" I have them complete their assignment in my neighbors classsroom. It is a great alternative to the hall. I wait at the doorway as class lets out so I can speak to the student before they leave for their next class. I simply tell them I missed them during the activity and I look forward to better day tomorrow. Very rarely do I have to resort to this. A warning usually works to stop the behavior. Thanks for posting about natural consequences.
8/13/2018 03:35:53 pm
7/17/2019 09:55:42 pm
Wonderful ideas, I almost felt like you were watching my classroom a few years back! I had half a class of Thomases and I had the other half trying to fly under the radar with not doing work and using the disruptions to their advantage...I used the hallway for two one on each side of the door, with the door open to isolate them, and then I had a privacy desk pushed against the wall and one more could go there. I had another area of computers against a wall and placed one more there. Then I had two more facing other walls. If they were placed that way they knew they had been disruptive. They could listen to the lesson or activity but could not participate. If they had questions they had to write them down and wait until the end of class to ask them if I had time. If not, they joined me for a working lunch with their trays. This gave the nondisruptive students opportunities to get help. The time out only happened for students disrupting and I would fill areas as needed. I also walked around and disbursed Skittles, Starbursts, or Jolly Ranchers for desired behaviors, they seemed to love that. I always had a signed permission for the candies/mints when school started. I kept order for the most part but they were a challenge with good and bad days. I found they were my best workers if they were asked to do any furniture moving or errands. They just didn't enjoy sitting and doing anything related to academics. I believe they will all be successful adults that do a trade and probably make more money than me!
7/18/2019 11:40:42 am
Thanks so much for your comment Cary!
1/10/2020 09:49:29 pm
Thanks for the reminders! John Schindler from Cal State LA was my teacher for classroom management class. I 'm a brand new teacher and hoping to put this stuff into practice.
10/12/2020 04:02:04 pm
A school can’t require a student to show come to school early or to stay late. Parents would have a failed day with that logic.
6/1/2021 12:19:58 pm
I have made a personal goal for next year of refreshing my classroom management skills. I have ADHD, and I find that my inconsistency in classroom management has been hard for some of my students that thrive with structure. Thank you so much for this post and all the positive comments from other educators. I plan to use Love and Logic (which I have used with my biological children at home with excellent results) with my school children next year. I am going to attempt to have a mini lesson for parents as well at the Meet the Teacher event the week before school starts. I home this home-school connection can help all of us recover from the emotionally charged COVID year! Thank you!
9/20/2022 01:27:48 pm
Thanks for all the info. It will help me out.
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