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Classroom control – Why consequences should always be meaningful

Teach your students some important lessons about cause and effect with Robin Launder’s quick tips for busy educators...

  • Classroom control – Why consequences should always be meaningful

Always (always, always, always) follow through with consequences.

Whatever the consequence might be – if it’s stipulated in your school behaviour policy or in your classroom contract, or if you’ve said it’s going to happen – be sure to make it happen.

That means no idle ultimatums, no empty words, no false promises. What you say and what you do must be one and the same. If they are, then what you say will carry the weight of what you do. If they’re at odds, then you’re lost.

Something else to consider.

Some teachers believe that the power of a consequence lies in its severity; that the more severe it is, the more powerful it is – but that’s simply not true.

The power of a consequence (to quote Bill Rogers) is in its certainty. Always keep the consequence certain, but also keep it proportionate.

Finally, make sure you follow up the consequence with a conversation. Not a telling-off, not a finger-wagging, not an ear-bashing, but a conversation.

It doesn’t have to be long – a minute or less is often sufficient – but keep it focused on the student’s behaviour and how it needs to be different from this point onward.

Robin Launder is a behaviour management consultant and speaker; find more tips in his weekly Better Behaviour online course – see behaviourbuddy.co.uk for more details

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