A 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. Positive punishment techniques are instituted by teachers who wish to manage their classrooms in a way that encourages students to make better behavioral decisions, so that they learn to respect authority and their class peers.

Behavior Modification

Punishment in the classroom is used as a behavior modification technique. While punishment is not a cure-all for poor student behaviors, it can eliminate or prevent it 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.

Enhanced Learning Environment

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.

Respecting 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.


Punishment in the classroom can 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.