It’s a big question and one I certainly won’t be able to answer in this brief post.

But at the same time as I’ve been reviewing parts of Boyd’s book on schoolwide discipline I’ve also been reading Greene’s Lost at School. Boyd and Greene have pretty radically different takes on consequences in school.

For Greene, consequences don’t work because the consequences don’t teach students the skills that they need to behave productively. Thus, the post-consequence student is no better equipped to deal with the same problem or situation that caused the maladaptive behavior that brought on the consequence in the first place.

For Boyd, consequences–clear, consistent, logical consequences–are the linchpin of an effective schoolwide discipline plan. Boyd claims that creating and enforcing tough but fair consequences decreased unproductive behaviors in her school by orders of magnitude.

Can both be right? If Greene is right, then why did the level of unproductive student behavior in Boyd’s school decrease after consequences were implemented? With the exception of extreme repeat offenders, Boyd’s system doesn’t involve teaching students the skills to encounter and overcome difficult situations. So why did their behavior change if their skills didn’t? If Boyd is right, her experience disproves Greene’s idea that “kids do well when they can” instead of “kids do well when they want to” or “kids do well when they are afraid of what will happen if they don’t.”

There’s a lot going on here. More to come.


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