maple leaf 5-7. Negotiating

Students need to know how to discuss their actions and be a part of the solution. If a consequence is forthcoming, students need to be involved in deciding what it will be.

Example #1:

A student has been in the principal's office for the second time this week (and it's only Wednesday!). Both agree this is unacceptable. The principal asks when should the student's parents become involved. The student recognizes that it will be inevitable but doesn't want them in because he will loose too many privileges at home. They talk and it's agreed that the behavior needs to change. They also acknowledge that the disrespectful behavior will not stop immediately, as the student has been doing this for years. They agree that if the student can control himself for two days (the student choose the length of time) then he starts with a "clean slate". The student is to check in with the principal each day to discuss how his day went.

Analysis:

The student is being respected, but his disrespectful behavior is being analyzed, with his input. The student understands the role of his parents as well as other adults in helping reshape his disrespectful behavior. By choosing how many days he needs to behave before his parents are involved gives him some responsibility, and ownership, in the decision-making that impacts upon his life. Checking in with the principal gives his some accountability, and opportunity for counseling by the principal. The principal would ensure the appropriate people were informed of what was decided.

Example #2:

A student pushes and shoves in the gym during recess. A logical consequence would be the student being banned from playing in the gym during recess for x days. The student accepts the consequence but a few days later asks if he can play in the gym during recess. He promises to behave. The principal/teacher involved with the student agree/disagree to reduce the length of the suspension.

Analysis:

The logical consequence was imposed. The student accepted the consequence but later felt he could behave, because he learned his lesson faster than the time of the suspension. He negotiated with the person in charge for a change to the consequence. This time, the person agreed and changed the time. This teaches the student many things. Being rigid about a consequence is not the issue. Learning respectful behavior is.

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