A stereotypical punishment does not necessarily help build sense of responsibility. A tailor-made reparation is often a better alternative.

 

Ask the pupil to volunteer to repair his wrongdoing.
1. Have the suffering party
think of a fair reparation.
2. Help the parties negotiate a reparation.
3. If necessary, invite also other people to take part in negotiating a fair reparation.


 

Teacher: What do you think, will it suffice to apology?
Pupil: What else can I do?
Teacher: You could offer to compensate in some way.
Pupil: How can I compensate? I don't have any money!
Teacher: You may not need money to do it. Perhaps you should ask the person you did wrong what she thinks would be a fair reparation?

Even a sincere apology doesn't necessarily convince people that the same or similar wrongdoing does not recur. Also, an apology doesn't necessarily suffice to help those who suffered to feel that justice has taken place. That is why the apology should be reinforced with a consequence or reparation or making up.

A consequence works best (in terms of preventing recurrence of the wrongdoing) if it is not stereotypical (always the same punishment from the same wrongdoing) but negotiated with all parties and tailor made to the specific situation. When discussing what would be a proper way for the wrongdoer to make up for his actions, the victim (or person who was in danger or was caused to suffer) should always be consulted. When necessary, even a larger meeting can be summoned to discuss an appropriate consequence. In school, for example, classmates may be an invaluable resource in coming up with creative ways of making up wrongdoings.

In general the consequence should be of the kind in which the wrongdoer is asked to do something to make up for whatever harm he has caused. In the best case, the making up will help the victim forgive the wrongdoer and improves the relationship between the two.

A successfully reparation does not only improve broken relationships, but also influences favourably the reputation of the pupil who did wrong. When people find out that he has taken responsibility of his action according to a mutually agreed upon plan, his honour in the eyes of other people improves.


Characteristics of Consequences
That Help Build Sense of Responsibility

The victim takes part in the discussion concerning what would be such a consequence that it will have a reparatory effect on the relationship between the person who did wrong and the person who suffered from the act.

The consequence is not dictated to but negotiated with the perpetrator.

The consequence is likely to be creative and tailor made to fit the specific situation.

When necessary, members of the immediate community takes part in the negotiation concerning what would constitute a fair and appropriate consequence.

The consequence is such that it improves the relationship between the person who did wrong that the person who suffered thereof.

The person who did wrong accepts the consequence and considers it fair.

Carrying out the consequence has a favourable influence on the reputation of the person who did wrong.

Example
A girl became mad at her teacher for getting not a very good grade for a test and as she raged she called her teacher "bitch" and "whore" on the school corridor. When she was later talking about the incident with the headmaster she was sorry for what she had done and she understood quite clearly that what she had done was defiantly wrong. She apologized and said she would be willing to make it up to the teacher if it was possible. The teacher said that apology is sufficient but with the headmaster's request accepted to think overnight for some way the girl could make it up to her. Next day the teacher informed that she would want the girl to bake her a cake. The teacher intended to share the cake with her colleagues during break time.

Next Step
A sincere apology coupled with an agreed upon reparation is a major step in the process of taking responsibility. But in order to restore his trustworthiness, the pupil should also convince others that he will not do anything similar again. That is the topic discussed in the step of Commitment.
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