Consequences are the positive or negative results of the behaviour choices a person makes. According to a number of psychologists and behaviour theorists, there are natural consequences, and there are logical consequences. As adults, we know all about them… if you play with fire, you will get burned (natural); if you eat those extra cookies, you will need to exercise to avoid putting on weight (logical).
At school, positive consequences provide encouragement and motivation to achieve. At Wellcamp, students are praised and rewarded for their good behaviour choices, for achieving goals and for working and playing cooperatively within the classroom and playground settings.
However, students also need reassurance that the staff will protect their safety while guaranteeing their right to learn. Therefore, there must be negative consequences that discourage and aim to eliminate any negative behaviour.
From behaviour theory, we know that one of the most important things about giving consequences is ‘certainty rather than severity’ (Rogers, 2004). If students are certain you will follow up on inappropriate behaviour they will be more likely to respond to warnings and change their behaviour.
Some behaviour requires immediate consequences. For example, if students are expected to walk out of the classroom quietly and some run out noisily then an immediate consequence may be to ask the students to come back into the classroom and leave the classroom a second time in the appropriate manner. Students soon learn that unless they leave the classroom as expected, they will always have to return and do it again.
Some behaviour requires a deferred consequence. Glasser's "Time Out" theory suggests providing a time out area where students are encouraged to reflect on their behaviour and work out how they can solve the problem. At Wellcamp, a consequence of this kind requires a student to sit on their own during some of their play time. They are required to complete a reflection sheet on which they answer questions such as "What happened....?; "What rule or right was affected by your behaviour...?"; What can you do to change things...?".
Consequences are not only important in the school setting. Many parenting experts encourage parents to use consequences. There is an article on our website (under ‘Forms and Documents’), written by Michael Grose that you are welcome to read if you would like further information.