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Warn, Then Punish

 

Disciplines > Teaching > Classroom management > Warn, Then Punish

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

When the class or an individual is being disruptive, give them one warning, telling them what will happen if they continue.

Then, of course, you must carry out the punishment exactly as you warned.

Example

I am going to write instructions on the board. If anyone is talking by the time I finish and turn around, then everyone will have to stay in five minutes at break-time.

...well, you seem to have chosen to stay in for five minutes. I hope you are not going to choose to stay for another five minutes, because if you keep talking I will add five minutes more.

Discussion

If you dish out unexpected punishment, then you may well get complaints that they were not warned. Giving a simple warning prevents this -- they cannot say they were not warned.

A warning makes it their choice. Continued wrong-doing leads knowingly to punishment. It is as if they are choosing negative consequences.

When you make such a threat, you must always carry it out. Not to do so, for example 'letting you off this once' will create expectation that they can get away with even more, and you job will just get harder.

Do not use 'three strikes and you are out', as this says 'you can have two free warnings'. One warning is always enough.

When you know the class better and you have taught them what punishment to expect for bad behavior, then you can punish without warning.

Some behavior must also be dealt with immediately, such as harming others (physically or psychologically). This 'warning' approach works best for more moderate disruption such as talking, inattention and not doing allotted work.

See also

Authority principle

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