Think FIRST Before you Punish
Sometimes things happen in our classrooms and we have to punish our students. Hopefully these instances are few and far between, but more than likely, each one of you have had to punish a student for their negative choices. The topic of punishment was brought to my attention by brain researcher, John Medina. John is the author of the books Brain Rules and Brain Rules for Baby.
He also has an interactive website, Brain Rules, which contains videos and articles on brain research. I recently watched this video on his website regarding the importance of creating consistency when punishing our children.
It made me realize that we need to be aware of how we are punishing our children and our students.
John Medina uses the word FIRST as an acronym for remembering how to make punishments effective.
F Firm– punishment must mean something. It has to be firm and aversive to be effective. Be sure not to scare your students or intimidate them so they feel uncomfortable.
I Immediate– the closer the punishment is delivered at the point of infraction, the more effective it becomes.
R Reliable– punishment must be consistently applied whenever the obnoxious behavior is displayed. Inconsistently applied rules are confusing and lead to uneven moral development.
S Safe– the rules must be supplied in an atmosphere of emotional safety. Children have a hard time internalizing moral behavior in of constant threat.
T Tolerant– this is a call for patience. Children rarely internalize rules on the first try, and sometimes not on the tenth.
So as you begin to think about the start of the school year, remember the word FIRST as you are creating rules and expectations for your classroom.
What are some of the consequences you have in your classroom?
Do you agree with John Mdeina’s acronym FIRST?