Whole Class Punishments - What issues does it cause?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by a2z, Jul 23, 2020.

  1. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Some employ whole class punishments for the actions of one or a few. What is your opinion and why are whole class punishments helpful or harmful?
     
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  3. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    I personally don’t do that. I don’t see the point of punishing the whole class for the silly behaviours of a few. What’s stopping the good kids from misbehaving if they are gonna get consequences either way? And this concept just doesn’t sit right with me. As adults we wouldn’t like it if the collective community received consequences for the transgressions of a few idiots, so if I don’t like it being done to me, I wouldn’t do it to my students. That’s my mantra.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2020
  4. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Whole class punishments take away the incentive for students to behave. I remember when I was young in school, there was a teacher who used this method. At first, many well behaved students tried to get the students misbehaving to stop. They didn't listen. Soon many well behaved students gave up and figured if they were going to get in trouble, then why try so hard to follow the rules. It is also incredibly unfair. A child can only control his/her behavior and not others. Whole class punishment systems should go the way of the 8 track player...to be only a distant memory.
     
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  5. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Whole class punishments are used to focus peer pressure on disruptive students. It's probably the least effective way to bring about behavior changes, and punishes all the students who following directions.

    In my experience, it's far more effective to have students work toward a reward. If the disruptions are caused by one student, have a whole-class reward when that student reaches an attainable goal.
     
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  6. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

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    I don't believe in whole-class punishments, but on occasion, whole-class consequences are effective or at least appropriate. A lot of my students weren't fond of independent reading, so when I'd have articles for them to read, I'd put it to a vote whether they wanted me to read aloud or read it themselves. Most the time, they'd want me to read. I'd warn them that if they weren't being attentive I'd stop and they'd have to finish on their own and I held to it. I wouldn't call that punishment, but a logical consequence to disruptive behavior.
     
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  7. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    The closest thing to a whole-class punishment I have done is when my students have not been quiet enough walking in the hallway when we are heading outside for an activity during class time. When we return I make the whole class practice walking in the hall without talking. They are generally pretty chagrined, but also find it a little amusing. Many of the students were being quiet, but they all have to practice. I'm not sure I'd call it a punishment, but that's what came to mind.
     
  8. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    I stopped taking minutes away from class recess for the reasons others have mentioned. However, it was something I used very sparingly in the past, and when used rarely I did find it effective. The peer pressure to follow the rules was a big motivator. There were always a few students who took it really personally, though, and that’s rough. I only used it when the vast majority of the students were off task. There have also been a couple times when my class has had to practice lining up during recess. Again, this is not often used, but it can be effective.

    I suppose I still do use group consequences in some ways, and I suspect many do without thinking about it: for instance, if I’m doing a group or out of your seat activity and the entire room gets loud, I’ll often have a three strikes rule. I’ll give one warning about room volume, give a second warning, and if I have to stop a third time they’ll all go back to their seats to take a break and refocus. Another example of this would be the popular Stamina Building routine that’s a part of Daily 5. Teacher stops independent reading for the whole group as soon as the first child is off track, at least at the start when teaching students about stamina and reading routines.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2020
  9. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Other questions regarding the "peer pressure" when whole class consequences are used....
    Is manipulating the peer pressure by punishing those who are not offending the same as other types of peer pressure?
    Example, students wanting another to stop talking so that they can learn vs students wanting another to stop talking so they don't have a negative whole group consequence.
    Does this manipulated peer pressure evoke a different type of pressure on the offender that is more vengeful (negative) rather than a figurative push in the right direction? If so, how does that impact the social structure of the class?
     
  10. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    In my opinion whole class punishments should only be used if in the fact the entire class deserved it - for reasons mentioned above.

    I did use whole class rewards though and when they didn't earn the reward it seemed lie a punishment, but it wasn't. they just simply didn't earn the reward. In this case peer pressure worked wonders, and those kids who just didn't care (bad day, etc), I handled them separately, assigned detention (often that stopped the behavior) or in bad cases had to send them out of the classroom.
    The reward was always delivered Fridays, (what Fred Jones calls Preferred activity time) and sometimes it just killed me that the worst kid who made them lose so many minutes was there enjoying it, but my principal said every day is a new day, he got his punishment on the day he misbehaved, we can't hold it over him for ever. She was right
    I used this system for about 6-7 years and it was very effective.
     
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  11. tuankiet153

    tuankiet153 Rookie

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    It is definitely harmful and gets you in trouble in terms of classroom management. In other words, students escalate to misbehave if the whole class punishments are conducted. They feel like not one or 2 students are being held accountable for misbehavior but the whole class so they feel they are safe to keep doing that again. I wont do that.
     
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  12. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Thanks for your responses so far. I was hoping people would chime in on post #8.
     
  13. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    I’m not sure I totally understand that post.

    Are your asking whether an irritated student turning and saying “Will you stop taking already? I’m trying to work!” has a less negative impact than “Will you stop talking? We’re going to have to stop the game / miss part of recess!” That’s how I read your post but not sure if it’s entirely right.

    Either way, I don’t think it impacts classroom culture more negatively. Annoyed kids are annoyed kids. For the most part, the annoyance is placed on the “perpetrator”, not the teacher. Yeah, if the whole class gets a consequence, they’ll be annoyed. But the class is also annoyed by the students who won’t stop talking. I don’t know that one is inherently more damaging to a classroom environment than the other.

    In fact, I think in some cases it’s easier for students to stand up to those classmates if there’s a consequence on the line. Even when you’re bothered, telling someone off because you can’t focus on your work might get you labeled as a teacher’s pet, versus telling someone off because you might lose recess seems entirely reasonable for almost any student.
     
  14. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Thanks for asking:

    Scenario 1: You want to hear the lesson so you tell your classmate to stop talking so you can hear. You are irritated at them for talking and see the classmate as an annoyance, but that is as far as it goes.

    Scenario 2: In addition to not being able to hear the lesson, you know you will be punished if your classmate doesn't stop talking. You are irritated at them for talking and you are irritated that you will now have to bear a logical consequence of punishment for the classmates misbehavior. Double whammy.

    How do you see that student? Will most kids have more animosity toward the classmate when they know they will be punished for the misdeeds of others? Will they treat the classmate differently based on how the classroom is run? Will the class turn on the student in revenge and escalate social discord?

    What if the teacher were to notice and just handle the student appropriately? Move the student, give a consequence to that student?

    Does that make more sense?
     
  15. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    It does make more sense but for me the point is more or less moot because I would never assign a whole class consequence for the actions of one or two students. The only time I’ve done so is when the vast majority of the class is deserving of whatever the consequence is (practicing lining up at recess, going back to seats during group work, etc.) If it’s just a few students, then those students would typically be handled individually. Even in the case of a whole class consequence, I sometimes write down the names of the 5 or so students who were doing a great job and they either don’t practice later or at least get recognition/thanks. It’s a tricky line though, because again not all students want to be seen as the teacher’s pet / goody two shoes.

    But to answer your question, absolutely, if a whole class was punished for one student’s actions, it definitely would create some hard feelings or a “double whammy” effect like you stated. Maybe not for all students, but definitely for some. Again, though, the classmates are most likely already annoyed with that student if that’s the case.

    I’d say that I don’t know of many teachers who would give the whole class a consequence for one student, but to reframe it again: all actions have consequences. I give positive class points towards a reward or PAT... the exact method switches up year to year. I give points for excellent class behavior. Not good, but great. We/I often choose a class goal: every student has eyes on the teacher when I use an attention getting signal, or every student stops talking right away when I use a signal. Most of the time, if even one student is still talking/not meeting the expectation, the class doesn’t get the point. So, the absence of the point/reward is like a class consequence, even though I’d frame it much more positively. And yeah, they do get irritated with the one classmate who decided not to follow directions. But I don’t see that as particularly bad.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2020
  16. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Otterpop, I put this out as a general discussion topic. I am not looking at any person and what they do or do not do in their classroom.

    If this does take place in a classroom (any classroom), how do you think it changes dynamic?

    When I saw the topic of clip charts and behavior management, I thought about whole class punishments and thought it might be an interesting topic to discuss.

    I do want to thank you for your well thought out responses.
     
  17. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    One argument I've seen for whole-class punishments and consequences is that, like it or not, the class is a team. Such punishments should still be used sparingly, but sometimes the class simply needs to be working together and the silly perpetrators do need to experience belonging to the group and any consequences related. Yes, a class is a bunch of individual students, but it's also a whole.

    While I do think this idea likely has some merit, in the lower levels I teach at least, that responsibility to the group may be too much for your perpetual trouble-makers, at least without help and support.

    To put the fate of the entire class on their wavering ability to control themselves is may a bit much, even unfair.

    Example: "I am a student with one or more of the following struggles of sensory issues/attention difficulties/compulsions/trauma/minor weights of the world piling up and can't even control myself without help half the time and you're having recess or whatever depend on me?!"

    I admit I've used whole-class before.

    More recently, I've tried to change the intent behind "Everyone quiet!" Rather, enough of us are off our rockers enough we need a reset.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2020
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  18. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    I understand that you put this out there as a general topic and I’m trying to answer generally/hypothetically in the second paragraph of my response. But what I mean is when saying the point is moot is: is anyone actually giving whole class consequences for a single child’s actions? Or is the question as hypothetical/non likely as asking, say, would it negatively affect a class if you made them eat broccoli each day? I’m not sure there are many teachers out there who would punish an entire class because one student misbehaved. However, I could be wrong.

    To answer that question more directly, I don’t think it would be a positive thing to punish a whole group for the actions of one. But I also don’t think many teachers would disagree with that. There are better strategies for handling one unruly student.
     
  19. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I would daresay many teachers have done it. I would also flip that around and say that most teachers don't like doing it and don't believe it to be the best practice.

    I personally have never met a teacher who gives whole-class punishments as basic classroom management.
     
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  20. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    What percentage of the class would have to be misbehaving to warrant whole class punishment? Just wondering. Half? Three quarters? A quarter?
     
  21. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    If I were to go with the "you're a team" philosophy, I'd say I might feel comfortable doing it when it's around the half-way mark.
     
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  22. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    About the same for me. Anything over “majority”.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2020
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  23. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    In the situation when I have the majority of students not follow a rule, I switch tactics. I start keeping track of those who are behaving. I then can implement the consequence to all of the students except for those students who I saw following the rule. Maybe not perfect, but as fair as I can get in that situation.
     
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  24. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    It is tough because if you were to pick out the few students who are actually following the rules, that may cause social problems for them also. This really is a difficult topic, isn't it?
     

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