The goal of logical classroom consequences is to stop student misbehavior and help them make more constructive choices. Effective consequences preserve the student's dignity and increase his or her motivation to behave appropriately.
Similar to rules, consequences work best when they are:
Below is a short video that I think does a fantastic job of explaining how to deliver consequences effectively whilst still maintaining both teacher/student respect and a positive classroom atmosphere. I have also included below an example of a consequence hierarchy for elementary students.
Some important points with effectively delivering classroom consequences:
- Some behaviors require an immediate consequence e.g. destroying equipment/property, violence
- You need a stepped hierarchy of consequences (start with something small, and progress up in a series of steps before reaching the ultimate consequence e.g. principal's office). A warning usually needs to be given first so that students have a chance to redeem themselves, and somewhere to move up to if a behavior escalates. You always need somewhere else to go if the behavior continues.
- Develop a list of logical consequences for certain behaviors (check out my next blog post for an example).
- Deliver consequences with care - be fair, be respectful, stay calm and be consistent.
- In your warnings, clearly and calmly inform the student of the undesirable behavior and what the consequence will be if they choose to continue. Move to action if the undesirable behavior continues.
- Try not to send students out of the classroom environment too much (keep this for the higher end of the consequence hierarchy).
- An effective statement to say when delivering a warning - "If that is what you want to happen, it is your choice."