Natural and Logical Consequences
Sometimes we have difficulty seeing the difference between consequences and punishment. A consequence can be natural or logical. For example, if you cut your finger, it will bleed and it will hurt -- natural conseqences. A logical consequence of cutting your finger might include someone reviewing proper cutting practices with you. You will no doubt do that mental review without prompting. There can be both natural and logical conseqences to actions, and more than one consequence for each act.
Punishment is usually inflicted by someone outside the situation. Behaviorally, it is intended to stop or lessen an act, but in practice, it often serves as an escape valve for the person who feels offended or responsible for the well being of a person or
group. Upset by the cut finger, a parent or teacher may verbalize feelings, expressing anguiish by saying, "That was stupid," or "What were you thinking? You know better than to use a knife that way." In addition, someone might refuse to let you use
a knife again until ... These responses, rather than natural or logical, appear punitive. They are one-sided venting of emotion, often put the listener on the defensive, increase the intensity of emotions and do not lead to better understanding of cutting practices, and tend to damage rather than build trust.
The following examples frame logical responses to common classroom actions. To work effectively as consequences, they need to be used dispassionately, without verbal remonstrance or blame. Example: A student shoves in line. The teacher says "Oops, let's move to the back of the line," or "Please walk with me so the shoving stops." The poor choice is circumvented, noted, alleviated, but the student is not punished, belittled or given undue attention for misbehavior.
- If you push or shove to get ahead in line, then you go to the end of the line.
- If you fail to put materials away you must practice putting those materials away for the rest of the week - or you will be instructed with lessons in stewardship.
- If you fall out of a desk or tip the chair, then you lose the chair until you are prepared to use it appropriately.
- If you vandalize the classroom or school you must make restitution.
- If you hurt others then you must make an honest apology and practice self control.
- If you talk back then you must make an honest apology and practice communicating feelings honestly and respectfully.
- If you use obscene language then you must make an honest apology and work on socially appropriate vocabulary words to express your feelings and needs.
- If you do not come to class prepared, then you cannot earn extra credit for that day.
- If you are careless or do messy work then it must be done over.
- If you do not do your work in class you must make arrangements to do it after school or at break time.
- If you talk out of turn during class discussion you will not receive an answer.
- If you act up on the bus, then you must find your own way to school.
- If you do not do your work you must make it up and assist another who is having trouble. (In some cases it will be important to do some fact finding as to reasons for failure to complete assignments).
- If you baby talk then others will not respond to you.
- If you borrow materials from me you must learn how I would care for them and return them as I wish.
- If you abuse materials you have borrowed, you must leave something of value as collateral in future lending requests.
- If you verbally fight on the playground then you and the other person must sit together and watch others for the remained or the play period.
- When it is obvious that two people have shared answers on an independent task, then the earned earned points will be divided in half and shared by both students and prove it was learned.
- If you disrupt a special class you will temporarily lose the privilege of participating until you have yourself under control.
- If you steal from another student then you must return the stolen object plus loan the other person something of equal value for the duration of the day.
- If you refuse to accept the consequences of your behavior then you lose the privilege of being an Honor Student for the duration of the day. In addition, you may receive assistance in learning and practicing self control.
- If you dawdle in the restroom then you will not be allowed to leave the room alone.
- If you disrupt others during class instruction time, then you will be moved to an isolation area area in the classroom until self composure and self discipline returns.
- If you misuse classroom equipment you will lose the privilege of using them until able to show stewardship skills.