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Too many students live in fear in schools today. They do not want to raise their hands or go to the board in fear of making a mistake in front of the others. They live in fear of failing, fear of not being accepted, and fear of being in trouble and receiving punishments. Stopping the use of punishments is the critical step.

Schools should be about learning. Reasoning is what is needed to solve problems, not punishments. Using consequences and teaching are the reasonable things to do. Prisons are full of people who have been punished throughout their lives. Even following the punishment of prison, most return to prison after parole. Obviously, for those students who consistently misbehave, punishments do not work.

Many teachers assume that the punishments they now use work. This is because approximately 80% behave appropriately. The truth is that a teacher can use almost anything, including punishments, and this same 80% will behave appropriately. But, these students also receive little or no punishment. One could logically argue that the fewer the punishments, the better the behavior.

As we will discuss later in this book, the greatest harm with using punishments is the breaking down of positive relationship between adults and students. One does not have to receive many punishments before disliking the punisher. Following dislike for the principal or teacher, the student loses motivation to listen or learn from them. Often things begin to snowball with poor social behavior negatively affecting academic performance and decreased academic performance negatively affecting social behavior. The student gets worse in both.

Another obvious harm to students receiving punishments is the lack of opportunity to meet two of their greatest needs–recognition and belonging. Punishments are embarrassing and being kicked out of school or kicked out of class make students feel like they do not belong to the school or classroom. Long after particular problems have occurred, these feelings of low self-worth and not belonging remain.

Practical application

The task here is to review all the methods you now use and change any punishments to consequences . If they need to be removed from the group or class, remove them until they have problem-solved and commit to a new behavior. If they need to be placed in a detention-type setting, place them until they have problem-solved and committed to a new behavior. If they need to be removed from school (suspension), remove them until they are ready to return and problem-solve and commit to a new behavior. Some students will only need a brief time while others will need more time and assistance.

Again, using consequences instead of punishments will not result in lower student expectations. With enforcing expectations and teaching, a principal or teacher can actually raise expectations. They can also use problems to show the student that they expect much more from them (raising self-esteem ), and that they want them back in school or class (increasing sense of belonging). The principal and teacher are now in the position of being the ones to help and assist in getting the student back into school and/or class - not the punisher who believes they should not be there.

In the alternative school where these methods were first implemented, the student handbook’s first sentence was Our School Has No Punishments. It went on to explain that students would be removed from class or school if they presented harm to self or others or if they needed to solve an important problem prior to returning to school or class.The school taught the students the difference between punishments and consequences . Parents often asked about the first sentence in the handbook and the principal or teachers were able to teach many of them about the practice.

Expected outcomes

  • The principal and teacher never have to punish again.
  • Students never have to fear or receive punishment in the class or school again.
  • Students learn to accept the consequences of their actions and how to overcome them and gain back their rights and freedoms .
  • Students learn self-control.
  • Students have a higher self-esteem .
  • Students have a greater sense of belonging.
  • Students who need to vent their frustration or anger vent it at themselves, not the principal or teacher.
  • Students are in class a greater amount of time and do not fall behind academically.
  • Principals and teachers and students form more positive relationships.

Questions & Answers

Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
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Brian Reply
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industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
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scanning tunneling microscope
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Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
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Stoney Reply
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yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
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biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
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sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
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nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
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Source:  OpenStax, A learning approach to school discipline: problem solving instead of punishing. OpenStax CNX. Sep 07, 2007 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10443/1.5
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