The discipline discussions I have with students are fundamental to the success of my Long / Short Forms. I’m going to keep coming back to this topic, but here are some of the important things I try to do when I talk to a student after class who received a Long / Short Form. By the way, for most students this converstion is straightforward, but for the most disrputive students it can be a bit tricky, so the details of it become very important.
The key to discipline discussions is to remember that the goal of them is not to convince the student that you are right and they are wrong. The goal is for you to let the student know why they received the Long / Short form, and why that behavior is not acceptable to you. This goal allows you to stay focused on what is important, and also avoid getting into an argument. Never get into a back and forth with a student on why they received the discipline.
Strike a positive tone. If the student appears upset, I will say something like this: “Don’t think of this form as a ‘I hate you, shut up, stop talking’, but rather think of this as ‘Mr. Miller wants me to be successful, and thinks that my behavior at this moment is not allowing me to be at my full potential'”. Remind the student that you want them in the class, you enjoy their personality, but it is this or that behavior that you will not accept. The behavior is separate from the person. Because don’t forget – you’re not mad at them.
Here’s the basic scenario: Tell the student why they received the Long / Short Form. Ask them if they understand, and if they believe you are being reasonable. Hear what they say. If they agree, then it’s all good. If they argue about why they should not have received the form, or how it was not their fault, then repeat back their point to them – tell them why it seems like a reasonable idea, but you can not have them do that for this or that reason. Conversation on topic ends. Do not get into a debate about what happened or what the rules are. If at the end of the discussion the student does not agree with you, that is fine. They just need to know why you gave them the form and that they should expect the form again if they repeat the behavior in the future.
Oh yeah, and if the student is correct, and you did make a mistake – maybe you gave them a form too quickly because you were angry for some reason, here’s what you do: Apologize.