In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments; there are only consequences. - Robert Green Ingersoll
There is a rare change in the schedule. The students will be going directly to lunch after the next lesson. The next period, the one before lunch, will be in another room. The teacher instructs the students to bring their lunches. The instructions are repeated several times and the teacher even had three different students repeat the directions in an effort to ensure all understood. Upon arriving at the lunch room one student, who was completely off task while the schedule change was explained, informs the teacher that he has forgotten his lunch and asks if he can run back to the classroom to get it. What should be the teacher’s response? It’s one of those incidents that may not necessarily require a disciplinary action. Does the school’s discipline system have a scenario for this?
A young boy sits in the back of the class. It’s the third place he has been moved this school year and it’s only October. He is not very disrespectful nor is he all that talkative, it’s more of a cumulative thing. Everyday it’s the same, small, yet disruptive behaviors. The teacher has made sure to have the red yellow and green cards in plain view and the rules leading up to card pulling clearly posted in two different spots in the room. The class even helped decide on the classroom rules and consequences at the beginning of the year. What can keep this boy on green instead of yellow and red? What can be done so that he sees what he’s doing and quickly learns to self-regulate?
Love & Logic is not a discipline system. It’s a way to help kids see and take responsibility. It can be used alone or with other programs. If it were the only thing implemented in a classroom or even a home family environment, the need for a more affective approach would become unnecessary. And if a school has been switching discipline systems frequently in search of something more affective, they could keep parts of what may have worked in the past. The Love & Logic approach is like the umbrella system under which all other programs can work. It will accomplish the same goal without the mental exhaustion of other systems.
According to Jim Fay and David Funk, Fay & Funk (1995) “All effective systems (behavioral/discipline) allow people to learn from the results of their own decisions.” (p. 26). Why is it that most children have to learn that an iron will burn their finger if they touch it despite being asked or told directly, not to touch it? There is a very powerful force at work in people called free will. It is what sets humans apart from everything else on Earth and when a system that we have to live by runs contrary to it, our natural inclination is to fight that system in an effort to make the decision on our own. People are naturally curious, especially children. One could argue that touching an iron to see if it is hot is driven by a human’s natural sense of curiosity more-so than our free will because free will requires an intentional act: making a decision, however, one does not necessarily lead to the other. A decision can be made without being curious. The act of being curious is not observable without making a decision. And making a decision is absolutely required in order to observably act responsible, moral, ethical, to be polite, to have empathy, and to follow both implied and explicit rules.
A car will be towed if parked in a no parking zone. It is possible to play-the-odds and park in a no parking zone without being towed, but the potential result or consequence of the action will be a natural one – the car gets towed. The next time an option to park in a no parking zone presents itself, it will be less appealing and the decision to find another spot will more-than-likely be the choice made. Almost as if it were written specifically for the Love & Logic method, (Brady Forton, Porter, Wood 2003)
Used well, logical consequences help...
References: Fay, J., & Funk, D. (1995). Teaching with love & logic: Taking control of the classroom. Golden, Co: The Love and Logic Press.
Jones, F. (2000). Tools for teaching. Santa Cruz: Fredric H. Jones & Associates.
Wong, H. K., & Wong, R. T. (2001). The first days of teaching: How to be an affective teacher. Mountain View CA: Harry K. Wong Publications.
Lemov, D. (2010). Teach like a champion: The 49 techniques that put students on the path to college. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Ford, E., E. (1997). Discipline for home and school. Scottsdale, AZ: Brandt Publishing.
Brady, K., Forton, M., B., Porter, D., Wood, C., (2003). Rules in School. Greenfield MA: Northeast Foundation for Children.
Northeast Foundation for Children (2007). Responsive Classroom: Level 1 Resource Book. Turners Falls, MA: Northeast Foundation for Children.
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