Five Things You Should Know about Natural Consequences in Your Classroom – Teacher’s Corner


Teacher’s Corner

Five things you should know about NATURAL consequences in your classroom:

  1. With “natural” consequences, the teacher does not make up a “punishment to fit the crime.”  Instead, something unpleasant happens automatically when a student doesn’t follow the rules.
  2. For some issues natural consequences can be just what are needed to “teach” the student about rules. For example, when
    • a student doesn’t turn in an assignment and misses recess to work on it;
    • a student’s grades are poor and she can’t play in her sport.
  3. However, sometimes natural consequences are too severe – or even unsafe. For example, we can’t let a student have no way home from school because he wasn’t at the bus stop when he was supposed to be.
  4. No matter how much students protest, consequences are the way to go.
  5. Consequences teach students that they can make mistakes, learn from them, and get back into the good graces of his teacher.

(See Sticking to the Rules for more information about consequences.)

Writing Prompts and Discussion Topics 
The following are based on the blog, “Sticking to the Rules
  1. Compare and contrast “natural” consequences for breaking rules and punishments for breaking rules.
  2. Do you think natural consequences will teach students a lesson better than punishments will? Why or why not?
  3. Describe a school rule that often gets broken by students. Also describe a “natural” consequence that could be applied to a student who breaks that rule.
Teachers, you can use this blog in classrooms. Here are two ideas about how.
  1. For middle or high school parenting or child development courses:
  • Use the blog for discussion topics
  • Require students to research the topics and agree or disagree with what the blog is suggesting.
2.  For all courses, especially English Language Arts:
  • Use the blog for writing prompts for paragraphs, theme papers, journal entries, class starters, etc. Have students read the blog and respond to:
    • Do you agree with what is being said about kids? Do kids really act, think or feel that way?
    • Do you agree with what is being said about parents, grandparents, teachers and child caregivers? Do or should they act, think or feel that way?
    • What would be your advice on this topic?
    • What was left out of this article?
    • If you were a parent, would you use any of this information? How?
Why can this blog be a useful teaching tool?
  • Students that see connections between their coursework and their lives do better in school.
  • Most students will either be parents one day or have children in their lives that they care about, so the topical information can help them build their knowledge about children and parenting and develop a positive image of the type of parenting they want to do.
  • The new core literacy standards adopted by most states call for frequent writing in all courses.
  • Newly developed end-of-course assessments to be used by many states will require that students demonstrate that they can think critically. These prompts help students practice critical thinking.
  • Newly developed end-of-course assessments to be used by many states will require that students demonstrate that they can analyze what they read. These prompts help students practice analysis.

What do you think?

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