The Advantages of Punishment in the Classroom

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The teacher's job expands beyond simply educating students. Teachers must also manage student behaviors so that everyone in the classroom has a fair and effective learning environment. When administered appropriately, there are advantages of punishment psychology. For example, positive punishment as a form of conditioning delivers a negative consequence immediately following an undesired behavior. Short time outs and losing privileges are common forms of positive punishment. The result is a measurable decrease in the rate of occurrence for certain undesirable behaviors.

1 Role of Punishment in Learning

Punishment in the classroom is used as a behavior modification technique. While punishment is not a cure-all for poor student behaviors, the advantages of punishment psychology are supported by evidence. Constructive punishment that is focused on natural consequences shapes childrens' behavior in the desired direction. It can also eliminate or prevent disruptive acting out when students know what the consequences are for their actions. Teachers who set clear expectations for behavior are helping students understand what behaviors and actions to strive for that are positive, as opposed to negative. Children learn that negative behaviors equal punishment and disciplinary measures, while positive behaviors are rewarded. For punishment to work effectively in the classroom setting for behavior modification, teachers must also institute reward systems for good behaviors, so that students learn the difference and want to achieve positive behaviors.

2 Enhances Learning Environment

The need to maintain classrooms conducive to learning underscores the importance of punishment in school. Students who act out in class are disrupting the learning experience of classmates who are trying to concentrate on their work. Punishment in the classroom is a means to help control the environment so that those students who wish to do well in school have the opportunity to do so in a classroom that is effective for learning. Punishment techniques help keep the environment quiet and professional to enhance studies. This might be done by removing the students who are disrupting others, placing them in time out in another section of the room, or, in severe cases, getting children suspended.

3 Increases Respect for Authority

Students who witness or experience classroom punishment develop an understanding of what it means to respect authority. When students learn that they cannot get away with disrespecting teachers and other classmates, they can start to appreciate the concept of listening to the adult in the room, following orders and abiding by the rules. This is a valuable lesson that students can apply to all phases of their academic careers, and it can also be applied to students' parents and other adult figures in their lives.

4 Supports School Safety

Safety is of paramount importance when weighing the advantages and disadvantages of punishment. Many teachers believe that punishment in the classroom can help keep students and teachers safe from threatening behaviors. Students who act out violently or in a verbally abusive way can jeopardize the well-being of others in the environment. Punishment activities eliminate such threats from the classroom, thereby preserving the safety of others.

Kyra Sheahan has been a writer for various publications since 2008. Her work has been featured in "The Desert Leaf" and "Kentucky Doc Magazine," covering health and wellness, environmental conservatism and DIY crafts. Sheahan holds an M.B.A. with an emphasis in finance.