Behavioral Consequences

Few would argue that a major task confronting our schools is to induce individuals to behave responsibly and to demonstrate a degree of self control. Traditional methods adopted to achieve this aim emphasized pressure from without, the use of rewards and punishments which attempted to make students behave in certain ways.

According to Balson (1992), the most powerful technique which is available to teachers to induce responsible social behavior in their students is the use of behavioral consequences. The rational of this approach is that all behavior is shaped and maintained by its consequences, and that individuals will not continue to behave in ways which distress or harm nobody but themselves. There are two types of behavioral consequences: natural and logical.

Natural behavior consequences represent the routine effects of reality or the natural flow of events without interference from parents or teachers. The technique of applying natural consequences of behavior; the student acts or does not act properly and the teacher permits the student to receive natural consequences of the behavior Teachers do not scold, threaten, argue, or preach, but simply express their regrets.

There are, unfortunately, few natural consequences available within classrooms, while some which are, would involve an unacceptable element of physical danger. However, the application of logical consequences are guided and arranged by the teacher, the group, or another adult, and are designed to let the reality of the social order impress the child, rather than the authority of the teacher. Many teachers find it difficult to distinguish between punishment and behavioral consequences. There are a number of important distinctions between the two, examples are:

Punishment Behavioral Consequences
Teachers are responsible for student behavior Students are responsible for their own behavior
Concerned with past and always retaliatory. Concerned with the present and not retaliatory.
An arbitory connection between the behavior and its consequences. A logical connection between the behavior and its consequences.
Based on superior-inferior relationship between teachers and students. Based on concept of equality and worth between teachers and students.
Always personalized and involves moral judgment. Impersonal and involves no moral judgments.
No alternative or choice of behaviors is given by the teacher. Students always have the right to decide between several behaviors
Voice, relationship, and atmosphere reflect anger and resentment Voice, relationship, and atmosphere are friendly when consequences are invoked.
Expresses the power of a personal authority. Expresses the reality of the social order or the situation.
Implies that teachers know what is best for students. Implies that students are capable of managing their own lives.

To clarify the differences between punishment and behavioral consequences, read the following incidents and indicate whether the teacher used logical consequences (LC), natural consequences (NC), or punishment(P).

Instructions:

Simply click on your choice from the options provided, your score and answers will be provided at the end of the quiz.

You have seen an animal use a ‘play dead’ reflex, children have a similar reflex which may be referred to as a ‘play stupid’ reflex.

1. The teacher gave John a detention because he arrived late.

 
 
 

2. Although warned, Tim used the saw carelessly and gashed his hand.

 
 
 

3. The teacher refused to accept Jane’s assignment which was offered one week after the due date.

 
 
 

4. The teacher would not allow Nathan to use the box of mathematics games because he had failed to put them away yesterday.

 
 
 

5. Tim left his lunch at home and the teacher refused to lend him money to buy lunch. Tim became hungry.

 
 
 

6. When Sam slammed his desk top, the teacher made him write out 50 times, ‘I must not slam my desk top’.