Boyd’s plan begins with a progressive four-step discipline process within the individual classroom. Once students reach the fourth step, they are assigned a “time-owed,” a two-hour detention to be served either on Monday or Thursday. If students further disrupt this time-owed, they are assigned a full day of out-of-school suspension.
This is a crucial aspect of the schoolwide discipline plan that Boyd seems to gloss over in favor of delving deeper into the specifics of policies and consequences. Perhaps I am alone here, but it’s this practice–the recovery room teacher “triaging with the student about how to avoid consequences in the future”–that seems to be the key point here.
How does this triage work? Is it effective? This is what we need to know!
Here we finally get some insight into the rehabilitative nature of Boyd’s schoolwide discipline plan. Impersonal consequences are simply a burden to be borne–if you can sweat it out through the two hours, you’re in the clear. But establishing or mending the trusting relationship during the consequence serves a double purpose–the consequence is still onerous and thus still serves as a deterrent (for most, at least), but while the consequence is being served the student and teacher can begin to work on a plan to prevent future occurrences of the unproductive behavior.
Using the anecdotes offered, I was able to distill some of Boyd’s principles for those working with students while serving consequences:
- express genuine empathy for the student’s situation
- do not speak with sarcasm or display exasperation
- communicate authentic care for the student’s future
Boyd goes on to say that approaches that seek to curtail suspensions at all costs actually undermine effective school discipline. Suspensions should be a last resort, but the possibility of a suspension shows students that we do have a “bottom line” beyond which no behavior can be tolerated, she says.
It’s interesting to see Boyd acknowledge that her schoolwide discipline is aimed at the “95%.” This makes sense. Unfortunately, she says that most of her strategies for working with the other 5% are in her next book (I’ve got to check Amazon, but I’m not sure it ever came out…).