Friday, March 16, 2012

Logical Consequences

Before I begin, I want to apologize for not maintaining my regular frequency lately. I'm nearing the end of my program, so I've been focusing on the last couple major assignments that I have left. I will be finished with my credential program by April 6th. 

As you might know, my blog is about what I am learning as I student teach. I write about what I learn during my student teaching to the extent that I think it is helpful for anyone who is currently a teacher or wanting to become a teacher. From time to time, I won't just write about what I learn from my experiences in student teaching. I will also write about books that I'm reading because I also read books to inform my teaching. I will begin my first book related blog post right now.

Right now, I'm reading an eBook called "Setting Limits in the Classroom" by Robert Mackenzie. I just pull out my smartphone, read it, and take notes on my pocket notepad whenever I have some down time. Recently, I came across the idea of "logical consequences." Logical consequences are a type of reaction that is elicited from a teacher for a student displaying inappropriate behavior. The purpose of a logical consequence is to eventually negate inappropriate behaviors. And thus, it would promote that a student displays the right behavior.

In the first appendix of the book, Robert lists some behaviors and some logical consequences associated with them. For example, the first one is that a student either runs in, shoves other students, is loud, or whatever else. So, the logical consequence would be that the student would be sent back outside. Then, that student would need to reenter without displaying any of those behaviors. Proceeding in that way emphasizes to a student that they cannot be a threat to others' well-being or learning. Of course, it must also be communicated why they are being sent back outside.

There are a few other reactions which would not be conducive to learning appropriate behavior. The reaction that is most obviously unhelpful would be merely ignoring the behavior. That would be an unhelpful reaction because that is basically condoning the behavior. It allows the student to assume that such behavior is permissible.

In my view, students should generally be given a maximum of 1 warning of what kind of behavior is expected of them. Afterward, the logical consequence should be triggered. Otherwise, you implicitly convey that students can have multiple chances before they are called out and given consequences for their behavior.

Finally, I don't think it is very helpful to respond to behavior like running, being loud, and shoving while entering class by giving a detention. Perhaps sometimes, giving a student a detention is appropriate, but definitely not always. The first thing wrong with a detention is that it is delayed. It is not an immediate consequence. It would occur at recess which could be an hour away. So, it would be more difficult for the student to tie detention to the inappropriate behavior than a logical consequence that is an immediate reaction to that inappropriate behavior. Secondly, giving a detention would be most effective at conveying that if a student does not enter the classroom appropriately, they will lose recess time. That is certainly an incentive to not display the inappropriate behavior, but it is not quite so effective at communicating how a student should enter the classroom. Nothing is more effective at communicating how a student ought to enter the classroom than having that student properly reenter the classroom right away.

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