May 8, 2012

The new classroom abandons rules and consequences

Photo credit: ShareTv
If you are a product of Teach for America, you likely have all sorts of rules and consequences posted around your classroom. Your students may routinely write their names on the board -- branding themselves as troublemakers on the verge of doom.

Subscribers of assertive discipline allow their students to think they are part of creating the discipline system -- a subtle manipulation. Teachers in these classrooms may be caught lavishing praise on the do-gooders and giving gentle reminders of punishments to the offenders.

In a classroom based on results-only, there are no posted rules, and there is no praise when Sally brings her materials or Johnny comes  to class on time. This new classroom disdains these embarrassing methods, completely eliminating rules and consequences.

A rule and its accompanying consequence is  nothing  more than a crutch for a teacher, who struggles to provide effective guidance within a learning community. Rules and consequences give a teacher a perceived sense of control.

If you are skeptical about eliminating rules and consequences, try it for a while, even if you don't announce the experiment to your students. Replace reminders of rules with one-to-one discussions about the mutual respect that makes a learning community successful.

For specific ways to eliminate rules and consequences, refer to this post.

So, what do you think? Is a classroom with no rules and consequences possible?