Delay Consequences

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Love and Logic Skill: Delay Consequences

Discipline Myth: When students break the rules, consequences must follow immediately.

The reverse is actually true, consequences do not need to immediately follow the misbehavior.  Consider the following teacher response:

"This kind of talk is not acceptable in this classroom.  I'm going to have to do something about that. I don't know what it will be because I'm busy teaching right now. I'll let you know what I decide in the morning. Don't worry about it tonight."

Here are the many benefits of delaying the consequence:
  • You buy yourself time to think of an appropriate natural consequence instead of quickly assigning a generic punishment.  You have time to discuss consequences with colleagues and friends.
  • You have time to cool off and avoid speaking out in frustration.
  • The student will most likely be in a better emotional state when you share the consequence.
  • You can get back to teaching quicker.
  • You play a little reverse psychology with the student.  That last line ("Don't worry about it tonight.") will have the reverse effect.  It will cause the student to worry about what the consequence will be.
  • IMPORTANT: You have to follow-though with the sharing a consequence. If not, you loose your credibility and your talk becomes cheap.
Pick up a copy of Teaching with Love and Logic by Fay and Funk.  You will not be disappointed.