I’m still in the process of reviewing Laurie Boyd’s book Beyond Classroom Management: Building a Schoolwide Discipline Plan (more posts to come on that).
This post isn’t part of that series, but as I get deeper into her work, a few thoughts are occurring to me, which I’ll lay out as follows:
- Boyd’s plan clearly works–the use of strict, tough, consistent consequences has reduced the number of unproductive/maladaptive school behaviors and generally made her school a safer, happier place
- Boyd’s plan doesn’t (or at least does not seem to) include efforts to teach violators the skills to better deal with challenging school situations
- Research shows (or at least the research that I’m familiar with shows) that discipline systems cannot truly work without that teaching/restoring/reintegrating element
- Therefore, based on research alone, Boyd’s system should not work.
- So why does her system work?
What if Boyd’s system doesn’t work for the reasons she thinks it does? In other words, what if Boyd only thinks that the toughness and strictness of her consequences are the drivers of the effectiveness of her program? And if these aren’t the drivers, what is?
I would posit that the most meaningful change that Boyd brought to her school was not the introduction of the strict consequences, but rather the general messaging sent by the new system that students were cared for and cared about, that their negative behaviors affected the school community as whole, and that teachers and administrators cared enough about the maintaining an inclusive and safe school community to create and enforce those consequences.
I’m not on the ground in her school, so of course this is only conjecture. But it’s interesting to think about.