Pupils are eager to promise not to do the same infraction again but their promise is often lip service if there is no agreement concerning what will happen should the pupil brake his promise.

 

Ask the pupil to promise not to do similar things again and make an agreement with him about what will happen should he not keep his promise.


Teacher:

Will you promise not to do it again?

Pupil:

I promise.

Teacher:

Shake hands?

Pupil:

Shake hands.

Teacher:

I believe you mean it but how shall we convince everyone else?

Pupil:

I can promise them too.

Teacher:

Hmm, that might not work cause you have promised before without keeping your promise.

Pupil:

But this time I will.

Teacher:

If you are so sure, perhaps we could agree beforehand what will follow if, despite all, you do something similar in the future.

Pupil:

That's OK with me, cause I wont do anything like that again.

When pupils commit similar types of misdemeanours time after time, it is common that they are persuaded to stop by using threats that take the form: "If you do this again... so...” These kinds of threats are often uttered in a state of irritation and anger and it is common knowledge that their effect is meager.

A better alternative is to have a negotiation with the pupil where it is mutually agreed what will happen should he commit a similar wrongdoing again. In such a negotiation a detailed plan is drawn as to what will be done in case of recurrence. It is suggested that a written document is made of the agreement that is signed by the teacher, the pupil and also some witnesses. It is of importance that such a treaty be public: all those concerned should know about the agreement.

Also of importance is that such a treaty is not an empty threat but a clear mutual agreement about what action will be taken should the pupil for one reason or the other break his promise and do some similar wrongdoing again.

Example
The pupil was caught snatching sweets from a store. He had taken responsibility for his action. He had spoken face to face with the shopkeeper and paid for what he had taken. He convinced that there was no need to fearing that he would ever do anything like that again. In order to seal his promise it was agreed that if for whatever reason he would, despite his wow, steal again, a meeting would be set up at the school for people to get together to think what should be done. To this meeting at least the following persons would be invited: The shopkeeper, the pupils both parents, his big brother, the policeman who was associated with the school, and at least two of his friends. The draft for the invitation letter was completed and signed by the pupil.

Next Step
Even if the pupil promises never to do anything similar again, it does not mean that other people will automatically start to trust him again. In order to be credible and to convince that what has happened has changed him, he should also demonstrate a responsible stand by finding a way to contribute to any work that is being done is the school to prevent similar types of wrongdoings. That issue is discussed last under the heading Sense of Responsibility.