Punishment Versus Logical Consequences (page 2)
The key difference between logical consequences and punishment goes back to the three R's: related, respectful, and reasonable. While the actual consequence may be the same in both situations, the way that the teacher presents it to the student and its relation to the inappropriate behavior is what determines whether it is considered punishment or a logical consequence.
Logical consequences outline the student's choices and their consequences calmly and factually, providing the structure for the student to make an informed decision. The adult's attitude should be of not personally being affected one way or another but hoping the student makes a positive choice for his or her own sake. A teacher who is angry, frustrated, or has the feeling of trying to win when giving an undesirable consequence is using punishment. Table 12.1 illustrates the difference between a punishment and a logical consequence, and Table 12.2 gives a checklist for delivering logical consequences.
Key Points to Remember
- Punishment rarely has long-term effects on the behavior, especially for students with chronic behavior problems.
- Punishment does not teach students replacement behavior, that is, what they should do instead.
- Frequent use of punishment often results in the student having a negative attitude toward educators and school in general.
- The most effective behavioral management plan provides a balance of proactive strategies, positive contingencies, and natural and logical undesirable consequences that teach students to take responsibility for their behavioral choices and mirror real-life situations that they will face as adults.
- Teachers should discuss and help students predict natural undesirable consequences of their behavior to assist them in making the connection between their choices and what happens to them.
- Logical undesirable consequences are planned by educators and should be related, reasonable, and respectful.
- The way that a teacher presents a consequence to the student and its relation to the inappropriate behavior is what determines whether it is considered punishment or a logical undesirable consequence.
Discussion Questions and Activities
- Explain the problems with punishment and the difference between punishment and logical undesirable consequences.
- What are some natural undesirable consequences that are a result of the following behaviors:
- Conner calls a peer names because he won't share with him at recess.
- Grant picks his nose at the lunch table.
- Priya cheats on her spelling test.
- Come up with a logical undesirable consequence for the following behaviors that is related, reasonable, and respectful. Write out what you would say to the student in each situation.
- Amit refuses to complete his assignment in math class.
- Jordan hits a classmate at recess following a disagreement.
- Maria runs out of the school when told to go to the principal's office after she yells at her teacher and uses profane words.
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