How should I react towards this kid tomorrow?

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by oldstudent, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. oldstudent

    oldstudent Comrade

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    Jun 14, 2011

    I am usually in the substitute teacher forum, but I decided to get other's reactions and suggestions for tomorrow, June 15, although I know this is short notice.

    Today I was in a 6th grade class with three class rotations.

    The other two teachers were here today. Today was the first day of a two day assignment.

    The day was mostly going well, until an incident that affected me personally occurred outdoors just before the final bell.

    The classes were playing an organized round of nation ball.

    Just as we were about to go in to get ready for home, a student from one of the other rotations heaves the ball at me from about eight feet away that hit me squarely in the family jewels.

    I didn't even know this was our class ball, but apparently this was this student's way of "giving" the ball back to me.
    I was going to mention it to his homeroom teacher, but she was on the phone, so I chose not to bug her.
    I did put this incident in my class report that goes to the teacher I subbed for, but it may or may not reach the Principal.

    After three hours, I can still feel the discomfort to a slight degree.

    How should I react towards this student tomorrow? I hate to see him get away with this without any discipline, especially since he was the biggest, and really the only smart alleck in this teacher's class.

    I suspect that his aim was intentional, but I cannot prove it.
    Nevertheless, students should not heave balls at anyone, let alone teachers.

    This is a good school that is generally free of trouble makers.

    If a substitute told you that one of his/her students heaved a ball at their nads, what kind of discipline would you give the student?

    I will tell his teacher tommorow, but I do not want to come across as a whiner. I will choose my words carefully.
     
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  3. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Jun 14, 2011

    Well, as a teacher of Behavior/Emotionally Disturbed students, I have to say---you have to let it go, as far as how you react to the student the next day.

    I would tell his teacher what happened.

    If a sub told me this happened---I'd talk with the student. My students are a lot younger of course, and 24 hours later there wouldn't be much I could do---aside from take their recess away and write an apology letter.

    So sorry this happened to you!
     
  4. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Jun 18, 2011

    Any kid with half a brain will deny almost any act. This was not an accident. You know the difference as well as the student. If you felt it was truly a "mistake" -- "Gee teach, I didn't see you and the ball slipped" -- you wouldn't be making this post.

    If discipline problems happen in your presence, when you are charged with supervision, you should handle them. Telling the teacher sends the message you are incapable of handling your own problems.
     
  5. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Jun 18, 2011

    I would not only tell the teacher, but the principal as well. Technically, that was assault on a teacher. Even if it wasn't intentional (which I doubt), you do NOT throw a ball (or anything) at a teacher. This goes beyond just handling it class. His actions deserve at least an in-school suspension.

    I don't care that it is the next day, this happened at the end of the previous day, so you didn't have time to take him to the office then.

    The student needs to face some serious consequence for this action.
     
  6. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Jun 18, 2011

    I guess this is probably too late to be posting, but for what it's worth for discussion: I'm sort of with Zelda on this one in terms of letting the teacher know what happens, but letting it go. 2 specific areas of thought come to mind:

    1) The goal of discipline isn't justice - it's to improve behavior in the future. I don't approach discipline with "kids should have to..." or "he needs to..." with the goal of having the child answer for or pay for the "crime" committed. That way of thinking is indicative of a "retributional" style of discipline, which focuses on the teacher being the judge and jury, rather than the teacher being an educator.

    Power struggles stem from an underlying need from the adult to maintain power in interactions with kids - the same place that bullying stems from, and attention-seeking behavior stems from. Having a retributional style of discipline is very similar - teachers feel the need to realign the power distribution in a particular environment - by hurting the child/stripping them of power in order to take back some of the power that the child stole in the first place.

    2) It's over. Unless it was a very big deal, with other kids looking, many times when things like this happen it's a transition time and many things are happening at once, and the issue isn't really a big deal or focus on the group. If this is the case, I'd report it to the teacher and let him/her deal with it in a way that makes sense given the rest of the child's behavioral issues. The teacher will have a better sense of what would be an appropriate response because s/he can locate the behavior in the context of the rest of the child's overall behavioral profile. The only main reason to respond yourself would have been to achieve some sort of immediacy with the consequence, or to prevent further discipline issues with you. Giving a punishment the next day is really of no value over giving a punishment in two days (by the regular teacher), and I doubt that not responding to that one incident would "open the door" for many more incidents the next day.

    I realize the situation is over now, but thought it was worth bringing up some points that may be helpful when thinking about future incidents!
     
  7. oldstudent

    oldstudent Comrade

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    Jun 18, 2011

    Thank you for the unexpected responses.

    Since this was at the very end of the day, and this student was not in my homeroom, my options at the moment were limited.

    The following day, this student was part of the first hour rotation, so I never talked directly to the teacher before seeing this student again.

    Each rotation has a clipboard where each teacher records behavior violations for the homeroom teacher, so my first opportunity to mention it was in writing. I merely added the date 6/14 retroactively and wrote down what happened. In hindsight, I should have used the word "heaved" instead of "thrown". My general word selection probably did not make it sound as bad as it was.

    I did not raise my voice or make any threatening comments to the student. I told him calmly he was on a short leash today for yesterday's stunt, so he had better do well.
    To paraphrase, he basically said that that is how he gives the ball back to his teacher.
    Of course, since his teacher is female, it doesn't quite have the same painful effect.

    I made no more mention of it, but I was disappointed that this student participated in the day's nation ball tournament. Some students who had earned too many negative points over time, or who did not complete assignments, had to sit out the tournament.

    Apparently, this homeroom teacher, did not feel my comments had much merit because she allowed him to participate. She also did not mention it to me that day, or offer any form of apology for his actions.
    Nevertheless, the pain is long gone, so it is now water under the bridge.
    Of course, there is also the possiblity that whomever brought the clipboard back conveniently did away with the page with my note.

    I will never know.
     
  8. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Jun 18, 2011

    Sorry, but I completely disagree.

    The kid's response shows that he sees nothing wrong with what he did nor is concerned about the seriousness of his offense. So, yes, he does need to face the consequences of this action and it needs to be serious enough to make an impact on him. It has nothing to do with a power struggle. Instead, it has everything to do with a child deliberately assaulting a teacher (or anyone else) with the ball.

    We had an incident during recess back in the winter where 1 student threw a basketball at another, then student 2 got angry and "heaved" the ball back, striking two MORE students in the face and breaking the glasses of one. I saw the second throw myself and I immediately marched the offender to the AP's office. He told me Student 1 had started it, so I went back to the gym, got Student 1 and brought him up as well.

    Their consequences were not given as any form of power-control or retribution, but they did deserve punishment for their actions and that is what they got.

    I also disagree that it's "over", because the kid is still acting like he did nothing wrong. He is either being very coy or is very ignorant if he doesn't know how dangerous and painful that is. Either way, he doesn't see anything wrong with what he did, so he obviously has NOT learned this behavior is inappropriate and is very likely to continue it in the future, until he injures another teacher who does decide to do something about it.

    Sometimes, we get too caught up in trying to "understand" the child when it is the child who needs to understand "You can't behave that way - PERIOD!" There are some actions that are just NOT acceptable at all. The sooner he learns that, the better off he will be.
     
  9. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Jun 18, 2011

    Thanks for the follow-up - was interesting to read! Also, the teacher may have addressed the issue, but just not have removed the privilege you mentioned. It might be interesting to follow-up with the teacher to see what she had decided to do!
     
  10. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Jun 18, 2011

    Cerek, it's been a while! I hope you're doing well :). I'm not sure we substantially disagree here. I'm fine with consequences and punishments when given for the purpose of building positive behavior in the future, which is what is seems you are suggesting here - that the child needs to learn that bad behavior leads to bad consequences. However, I would considering the best way to get that message across. It very well may be punishment in this situation. My comments were mainly to address to reasons for approaching punishment. Have you ever seen people discuss behavior situations from a "justice" or "retributional" perspective, Cerek? Would you agree that approaching discipline from that perspective is not effective in building positive behavior? If so, I'd imagine we are on the same page.

    Here's a scenario which might highlight the difference - let's say, in this situation, the child could taught just as effectively by talking with him, rather than giving out a punishment. Let's say that the teacher did this, and noticed a substantial decline in the behavior in question (throwing balls aggressively). Technically, "justice" was not served because the child never "paid the price" for the behavior, but effective behavioral change occurred. From my perspective, I'd consider that to be an effective behavioral intervention. To others, they would consider it ineffective because the child "didn't get what he deserved." It's really that difference that I'm trying to highlight - not disagree with the ultimate decision to use or not use punishment as a strategy.

    Again, hope you're well Cerek...
     
  11. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Jun 18, 2011

    If this happened to me, my first instinct would probably be to "return the ball" back to the student. That would be retribution, but would also probably serve to teach the kid not to do that ever again. Of course, such an action would be completely unacceptable for a professional, adult educator to do.

    In this situation, I simply don't feel talking to the kid would be effective in this situation, because he is showing no remorse for the action and no indication he thinks there was anything wrong with what he did. If my only goal was to teach him a lesson, the most effective way, again, would be to let him experience the same action himself and then decide if it was alright to keep doing that to other people.

    By telling the sub "That is just the way I return the ball", he is challenging the authority of the sub AND his own teacher. I agree you don't want to get in a power struggle with a student, but one way to avoid that is by letting them know there is no struggle because the teacher IS the authority in the school or classroom, not the student. If you want to "challenge" a teacher's authority, you need to be prepared for the consequences.

    When I took martial arts (maaaany years ago), I was looking through a karate magazine and realized I could buy a black belt to wear, even though I was still a beginner. When I mentioned that to my instructor, he said "Yeah...you can do that if you want. But if you wear it to the dojo, then you will have to spar with ME or the other black belt students, since you're claiming to be on their level." The same principle applies here.

    So the consequences this kid faces need to be just as severe as the action he took to make him realize the seriousness of what he did.

    When I was subbing in a particular rowdy middle school class, several students kept throwing pencils to (and at) each other. I finally sent the worst offender to the office. The P came back down and was literally red in the face. He reamed the entire class for their behavior and told the class "If you throw a pencil and it hits another student or the teacher, that is technically considered assault and we CAN call the police for that action." THAT got the class quiet in a hurry. Hitting a male teacher in the privates on purpose would qualify even more as assault. If the kid had to explain his action to a police officer, maybe then he would think twice before "returning" the ball to another teacher the same way. BTW, I don't think he should be arrested or face charges for what he did, but having the police come to the school and question him would probably convince him very quickly not to do it again.

    As I said, we had a very similar situation happen at our school and I immediately took the offenders to the AP's office. The AP and P talked to the boys and then decided on an appropriate consequence (I believe Student 2 got OSS since his throw did more damage to the two students he hit and Student 1 got ISS). Towards the end of school, two of my students got in a serious fist-fight (in another room). Again, they were sent straight to the office for this. The first thing the P had both of them do was sit down and explain - in writing - exactly what happened that led up to the fight. Then the P talked with both boys individually to get their versions of what happened. In the end, the instigator got OSS and the other kid got ISS. While he did talk to both of them and give each of them to reflect on their actions, he STILL handed out a punishment to show how unacceptable their actions were. Whether that will create a permanent change in them or not remains to be seen.

    Thanks. I'm still having the health issue and it's caused me more trips to the ER and stays in the hospital than I really care for, but it is getting better, just very slowly. Overall, though, I'm very lucky.It could have been much worse than it is and may possibly have even required surgery. I've never been scared of surgery until my last one went really bad, so now I am very worried when that possibility is discussed.

    Right now, though, everything is progressing the way it is supposed to and I'm doing fine, for the most part. I usually have quite a bit of pain in the morning when I first get up, but it subsides after I get my medicine on board. The only other issue is my energy level, which still gives out on me quicker than I would like. I've not worked at the hotel since my first hospital stay, but will try to start back on a reduced schedule after next week. We'll see how that goes.
     
  12. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Jun 18, 2011

    There's an underlying issue here.

    Let me give an example. I once had a fifth grade student who took my gradebook from my desk and threw it into a sewer. He did this because he knew he was going to receive a poor grade in my class.

    The principal had the custodians retrieve the gradebook, dried it out and returned it to me. He then called the student into the office and talked to him. That was the extent of the consequence.

    According to your perspective, this would be considered an effective behavioral intervention, because this child never took another teacher's grade book.

    However, he did commit many other transgressions of a different nature.

    A child who commits such an act as described by the OP does so because of a serious underlying issue. He is crying out for help and attention. Talking to him may change his behavior, but does nothing to change the issue that is eating at him. He needs to come up against firm limits; in fact he is craving that.

    By giving him firm limits, you are showing you care enough about him to stop him from hurting himself and others.
     
  13. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Jun 18, 2011

    My main response to this is yes, the path of learning you've described is a possible way of successfully intervening, but not an automatic given response an adult needs to have. Not all wrong behaviors require a punishment, and there are multiple ways to teach things. In this case, you've mentioned that because the chosen strategy (or lack of strategy) did not produce observable remorse, a punishment is the given course of action required. My main response here is that it might, but it's not a given that an equal punishment is the only choice here. Overall, though, I get what you are saying - that the intervention must have a significant enough impact to produce a learning opportunity, and that an equally intense punishment might be the best way to do that.

    Well, I guess progress is good - good to hear that. Sorry it's not more quick for you. I've never been under the knife - not sure how I would respond to that, but it sounds like you have a great deal more courage that I would.
     
  14. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jun 18, 2011

    Why would SHE apologize for his actions?
     
  15. oldstudent

    oldstudent Comrade

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    Jun 18, 2011

    To each his own I suppose, but if the situation were reversed, I would apologize to the other teacher.
    This is analogous to a parent apologizing for their child in a restaurant if he throws food at another table.
    It just seems like the proper and tactful thing to do, but this is only my opinion.
     
  16. oldstudent

    oldstudent Comrade

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    Jun 18, 2011

    Thank you for your responses EdEd.

    After reading some responses, and putting myself in the position of his teacher, I think the most appropriate form of punishment would be to both inconvenience him, and educate him at the same time so he could understand the seriousness of his actions.

    With this is mind, I would have required him to research the damage that could result from hard contact with the male private areas, and to write me a one page report summing up the potential damage that can result, and why his actions were therefore abusive.
    If he turns it in, he is forgiven and is able to particpate in fun end of the year activities. If he refuses to turn it in, he is obviously not deserving of any activities. Of course, the quality of work expected would be relative to the students perceived abilities.

    I think this would balance the views of both Cerek and EdEd
     
  17. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Jun 18, 2011

    I thought it was a good idea making the two students who got in a fight sit down and write a full account of what happened. This made them reflect on their actions and realize they could have reacted differently. However, even though the reflection made them view their actions more objectively, they STILL had to face the consequences of their actions. Student 1 had instigated the incident by making several insulting remarks about Student 2 and/or his family and Student 2 finally heard enough and snapped. Can't really blame him for that, because this had apparently been ongoing for months. Even so, Student 2 still had to face a consequence for his actions, but his punishment was less severe than that of Student 1 and Student 1 supposedly did admit the fight was his fault in his written account.

    So I can accept that talking to the student or having them write and reflect on their actions can be helpful, but I still feel there should be consequences beyond that. Kids today generally do not have the fear or shame of consequences we had and it often shows in their actions and attitudes. That's why they DO need to face firm consequences so they can learn they will not always get away with just a slap on the wrist.


    I've had 7 major surgeries to date, so the idea of surgery itself doesn't bother me. The problem is my condition and the medicine I've taken over the years make it very likely any internal stitches will slip loose, which creates major complications. That's what happened last time. So I'm understandably nervous about any future surgeries.

    I do wish my current progress would go more quickly, but I've been in much worse condition many times, so this is really more of an aggravation than anything else.
     
  18. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jun 19, 2011


    I am the parent of my children all day every day, from birth/adoption until forever. We're constantly working on things like behavior. Their behavior now is a product of the lessons they learned when they were still in high chairs. If they ever threw anything at anyone at a restaurant, please believe that I would have thier little tushes out in the car before it could hit the next table.

    The kids I teach are "mine" for a maximum of 38 minutes per day, for 180 days.

    I enjoy the kids I teach and build a positive relationship with most of them. I hope I've influenced them by my words and, far more importantly, my actions. But, for the most part, I can only control their behavior while I'm the one teaching them.

    A few years ago some of "my kids" were giving another teacher a real hard time. They were delightful in my class, but went to English and were giving this first year teacher a real run for her money. I pulled 3 of the class leaders aside one day at their lockers. (As coincidence would have it, they all share the same last name-- it's a fairly popular Haitian name-- though they are unrelated. So their lockers were all together.) I told them that I knew they weren't the problem, but that I also knew they had the power to stop the problem. And that I wanted it stopped. And it stopped that day.

    I was glad I could help. But had I not been able to, it would never have occurred to me to apologize for their behavior.

    That sort of stuff is rare. Normally one teacher cannot control how kids behave for another teacher.

    I also agree with your assessment: saying he "threw" the ball sends a whole different message than saying he "heaved" it. Perhaps it was underplayed because the teacher simply didn't understand the seriousness because of the phrasing.
     
  19. UCLACareerChngr

    UCLACareerChngr Comrade

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    Jun 19, 2011

    I'm usually the least politically correct person I know, but don't you think it's even the least bit confusing/ironic for the kids that they have been playing a game where they are supposed to throw the ball at other people, and now he's getting in trouble for throwing the ball at you? During the game, there is no punishment for hitting the kids in that area, I would suppose, because it could be considered unintentional.

    In my opinion, he shouldn't be punished for hitting you in the privates, he should be punished for throwing the ball at you in the first place...If he had done that to me, I would've had him pick it up and HAND it to me, then explained that during the game he can throw, but after the game he needs to hand it in.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm sorry that it happened, and I hope you're feeling better.
     
  20. oldstudent

    oldstudent Comrade

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    Jun 19, 2011

    Even if my child did something while I was not present, I would still apologize whether it be as a parent or teacher. Especially if it happened to be a unique and painful event.

    Of course it is not the fault of the teacher if his/her student hurts another, but it is usually the authority figure that apologizes, or makes the student apologize.

    Of course, the key word here is "hurt". Teachers will generally not apologize to other teachers for general poor student behavior. This is a part of the job that is inevitable on occasion. Apologies in this case would be redundant and ridiculous.

    In my case, however, it was an unusual painful event, which I feel was worthy of some acknowledgement, especially since I am a "guest" of the school, which is what we subs are sometimes called.

    As an alternative, however, I would have at the very least acknowledged receipt of the violation, and assured the sub teacher that the matter has been dealt with.

    The word " apology", does not have to be taken literally. I was not bothered that the teacher did not say " I am so sorry for my student's actions..." However, I believe that some sort of acknowledgement that the violation has been noted and dealt with would be appropriate, even it she only spoke with him about it.

    I also think UCLACareerChanger had a good idea, but when one is caught off guard and in pain, the rational things to do are not always in the forefront of our minds.

    Nevertheless, I am also to blame for not using the word "heaved" instead of "thrown" to explain the event.

    I did use the correct words in my official sub report that goes to the teacher, and maybe the Principal, but this would not have been recieived until after the end second day when I checked out.
     
  21. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Jun 19, 2011

    Couple of responses here:

    Probably not - an effective intervention is one that produces the desired result. In other words, an intervention is effective based on the outcome, not the form. So, an intervention that utilizes punishment may or may not be effective. An intervention that achieves the desired result is effective 100% of the time, regardless of the form of the intervention.

    In this case, I'm not advocating against punishment - just advocating against seeing it as an automatic or given response - something a teacher should have to do. In this case, it may very well be warranted!

    You bring up a good point to look deeper than the surface level issue! I would further say that every behavioral case is different, and that a teacher should always look for the specifics of each behavior/child. I don't necessarily think that every child who throws a ball at a teacher "commits such an act as described by the OP does so because of a serious underlying issue."

    The big point I'm trying to make here is that we shouldn't box ourselves in to thinking about every child and every behavior in the exact same way. A punishment is not warranted for every bad behavior, nor is a "talk" appropriate with every student. In addition, some behaviors happen because of serious underlying issues - some do not, and just occur because a child doesn't know better, or does feel that there are consequences.

    You'll usually see my responses on this forum advocating considering broader issues in a situation, unconsidered variables, and flexible thinking. In your specific case with throwing your wallet in the sewer, I agree that the talk was insufficient - I'm not sure I'd automatically default to a simple consequence and call it a day. Like you, I'd want to know a bit more about any underlying issues or other variables that may be impacting the situation.
     
  22. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Jun 19, 2011

    Sounds like a good plan!
     
  23. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Jun 19, 2011

    In your particular situation, sounds like a great response. In general, I'd be curious if you have ever responded to a behavioral incident without using punishment, and if you felt successful?

    Continued positive thoughts your way, Cerek - definitely a lot to deal with.
     
  24. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Jun 19, 2011

    Crime and Punishment

    Is there anyone out there who went into teaching with goal of punishing kids?

    When a student does some act we do not want to happen again, what is the bottom-line regarding discipline management? I may be off, but isn't the real goal of discipline management to increase patterns of cooperation and time-on-task?

    Majority held belief crime equals punishment points most in direction of turning students around by using pain. It is hoped the punishment ("consequence" seems more in alignment with education) will cause the student to "reflect" so when/if another similar episode reoccurs pain suffered will act as a conditioning agent -- "Oh no! I won't do that again because the hurt far outweighs the pleasure!"

    Still others believe students must experience "consequences of one's actions" -- hence no prevention before touching the hot stove. If this, suffering, is the real purpose of classroom discipline it would seem we shouldn't be in the mess we are in noting how many schools and classrooms rely on it.

    Don't we really want the students to get their work done and cooperate? Are strategies from writing sentences to suspension really aimed at producing a class where all can learn and the teacher can teach? Or have we lost sight of goal and, too often, focus time and energy ensuring students feel the pain of their ill ways?

    As for "heaving a ball", question I would have to ask of myself is what could I have done or not done to prevent it? To be sure, some acts by students demand judgment by teacher to use school discipline code. More importantly, do I want to spend a good portion of my career reacting to problems or developing strategies to keep them from occurring in the first place?
     
  25. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Jun 19, 2011

    Some interesting thoughts here, for sure. I'm not sure the conclusions you draw between punishment and end results are necessarily accurate, though. More thoughts below.

    No, but while punishment might not be the goal, it might be a tool. For example, parents don't go into parenting to change diapers, but they do it because it's helpful

    Absolutely - not sure that punishment is contradictory to that goal though.

    Very insightful analysis as to the "psychology of punishment." I think you might have meant to suggest, though, that this never happens, when in fact it does often. Most people can recount numerous examples of having experienced a negative consequence of their actions, reflected, and behaved differently in the future. Would you not say that punishment can accomplish this goal, even if not always?

    Not sure how using one strategy (e.g., punishment) prohibits the use of another strategy before (e.g., prevention). Are you suggesting that the use of punishment prohibits the use of preventive strategies?

    I agree with what I think your point is related to how others believe students must always experience the consequences of their actions, which was my point before - that some people feel that punishments must always be used in every situation, which I disagree with. Sounds like we may be on the same page there.

    I think it depends on the person and the reason why consequences are use. To answer one of your questions, can writing sentences and suspensions produce a change in behavior? Yes. Do they always? No. Are there usually better strategies to try first? Yes. But, that doesn't mean punishment will always fail.

    Also, do some people use punishment as revenge against students? Absolutely. Does everyone? No. Are all instances of using punishment abuses of power and inappropriate disciplinary practices? No.

    Again, you seem to take an "either/or" approach with prevention and consequences, as if the use of punishment precludes the use of preventive strategies. I'm definitely with you when you suggest a focus on thinking about how to prevent future ball-throwing incidents, but I disagree that we should ignore the situation that has occurred, and instead focus only on future events. I do NOT believe, however, that we need to focus on the past event in order to correct that situation, but in order to prevent future events. However, prevention of future events can start with a response to this past event. To the extend that such as a response is preventive of future ball-throwing incidents, such a response would be likely be a helpful problem.


    I've mentioned this several times before, but all too often educators fall in the trap of overgeneralizing side effects of punishment - the truth is punishment sometimes is not good. However, many educators take some of the disadvantages of punishment and then advocate for the total abolition of the strategy altogether, which is of course not helpful.
     
  26. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Jun 20, 2011

    Hmmmm....I guess that would depend on your definition of punishment.

    One of my most successful interventions occurred at our alternative school, where ALL of the kids have "behavior problems". I was subbing for the middle school group (about 8-9 boys) and took them to the gym for recess. They were playing basketball, but being very rough with each other (which is normal for this group), but it eventually began getting out of hand. They were shoving each other down, throwing the ball at one another, etc. So far, it was still all in "good fun", but I could see the potential building for someone to get hurt or get hit a little too hard and retaliate.

    I warned them to calm down. When they didn't, I took my chair out to the middle of the floor and told all of them to sit down on the bleachers. I sat in my chair and didn't say anything else. Most of them sat down, but 2-3 of them still had to be moving around and talking. I simply said "We're not playing anymore until EVERYONE is sitting down and NOT talking. I didn't have to say anything else, because the kids that WERE sitting down kept getting onto the ones that were not. Well, I DID tell the kids "It doesn't matter to me how long it takes you to sit down and be quiet. We can just sit here for the rest of recess if that's what you want to do."

    Eventually, even the most defiant kid in the group realized his peers were getting mad at him and finally sat down. Once the entire group was sitting and quiet, I began letting the ones that had complied immediately get up and start playing again. I made the others wait about the same amount of time they had spent running around and talking after the others sat down. They didn't like it, but they still got to have at least some time left to play before the end of recess and the game was much more controlled after that.

    It was a great intervention because I never raised my voice, never made any "threat", or anything else. I just stopped the game, calmly told them what they had to do to continue the game and then didn't say anything else. It worked surprisingly well.


    Thanks.
     
  27. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Jun 20, 2011

    I would advocate the misuse of punishment. In my observations where punishment is "working" it seems to be built upon a solid foundation of discipline fundamentals demonstrated by teachers and administration versus reliance on punishment as the "stand-alone" method for suppressing student problems.
     
  28. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Jun 20, 2011

    I would agree that punishment is often misused, and I have also had similar observations that punishment is rarely effective as a stand-alone method.
     

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