At Outdoor Education you are responsible for the physical and emotional safety of your cabin group. You must monitor and correct the behavior of the students. Rules and consequences provide important structure for children who are making decisions about how they act. Remember that when behavior problems arise, it is the behavior you do not appreciate. You have good children making poor decisions. The best way to handle discipline is as follows:
- TELL the students exactly WHAT YOU EXPECT. Be sure that you are very clear and that they understand. Set your tone early.
Example: "It is time for lights out and I want you to stop talking now." rather than "Behave yourself.
- PRAISE students when they are doing what you have asked. Let your students know when they are doing a good job. By acknowledging positive behavior first, you often eliminate the need to correct negative behavior.
Example: "Thank you John and Mike for getting ready for bed so quickly."
- ENFORCE A CONSEQUENCE if students are not following a rule. Repeated warnings will not change the students' behavior. Be clear in pointing out the consequence if the students choose not to behave appropriately.
Example: "Since you are choosing not to listen to my directions, you need to sit out for the rest of this game."
- BE KIND, BUT FIRM: Students need kindness, respect, and understanding, but, they also need firm guidance. A good leader will be friendly with students while at the same time set clear boundaries and expectations.
Example: "I would like to continue this hike with you. Do you think you can continue it with out throwing any more sticks?"
- BE CONSISTENT AND FAIR: Nothing is more confusing to students than a leader whose standards are constantly changing. Operate by treating all children equally.
Example: "I realize everyone would like to go first. So I'll pick a number between 1 and 20, and the person with the closest guess will start."
Ideas for Reinforcing Appropriate Behavior
- Compliments and Thank You
- The Giant Slipper
- Games During Cabin Time
- First to Shower
- Special Jobs for Students
- Feedback to Teachers
- Time Out
- Separate Friends
- Lose a Privilege (last in line, early to bed, no flashlight...)
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