Second Chances are often a source of conflict and disdain in the teaching world between students and staff or internally between the groups- Why should we give the kids another chance? Shouldn't they have learnt their lesson the first time ??
I have a few reasons why you should give kids and young adults second chances.
One is a physiological reason -
Have you ever thought "what was he/she thinking????? Why did they do that?" - Well lets just say the kid doesn't know either.
The connections that are made between different parts of the adult brain that let us be rational ( sometimes!) and direct adult decision making are still being forged in teenagers.
Yup so it really isn't their fault.
So sometimes when they tell you - they don't know why they did something - its probably true. The teen was probably experiencing emotional input overload - they weren't thinking - they were feeling the emotions and acting from them.
Knowing this - how can you not give the teen the second chance?
Two is the emotional reason
Giving a second chance is a sign of forgiveness and forgiveness is an essential part of human relationships. (Hanke & Vauclair, 2016).
If the child student doesn't feel supported or that they can take emotional or educational risk then I don't think that there will be growth or a nurturing of a relationship. Kids need to know that should they make a mistake then there are ways forward - So giving a second chance is recognizing that students have made a mistake and we will learn from it and move onto a new way of doing things through communication.
Saying this....the mistake could lead to a consequence that the student doesn't naturally like or it could build relationships.
- My school is using restorative practice and implementing more and more consequences that are meaningful and I am so for this - So when kids make mistakes and they do --- that is why we love them, they are forgiven and given a second chance, a third chance or however many is needed in my classroom.
This doesn't negate the need for consequences rather,
-the consequences are meaningful to the kids.
Practical ways I do this in my classroom:
I find the kids currency and work with it in my classroom.
What is a currency?
To use a crude example -
take my Dog buddy :) - here he is in his younger days -
He will not go outside, ever! once he is in the house, he is in. Under the table, under the kids beds ripping up the kids toys!!!
but HEY HEY HEY - break out the Cheese or
say Cheeseand that dog will do a triple front sault and shake your hand all in one go! He is outside before you say "OUT Buddy". His currency is Cheese - I can get him to do anything for that cheese -
I will give kids as many chances as they need but I rarely need more that one - because I work out their currency even before they have made the mistake - it will be different for each kid.
- Is it the length of the tuck shop line?
- Is it time on the Computer?
- Is it sitting next to their friend?
- Is it a night off homework?
- Is it making them hand write the lesson OMG !!! no imagine
They know they come back with a clean slate, that I don't hold grudges and we move forward instead of backwards in my class - you can lose anything you have earnt, but it could take a little longer than others - I'm talking the R word here RESPECT.
Students will always tell you if they are treated differently by different teachers - they know who is consistent and who is unfair and they know who cares and who doesn't? If you didn't know this just ask them, they will tell you, I am sure of that. So it is really important to let the kids in your class know how you work -
be consistent and also be transparent.
Equity and Equality are terms the kids in my class groan at! but I also make sure the kids know what this means - I do it at home too - age appropriate equitable treatment of students is essential and that means second chances.
There are a load of images that explain this concept - I found this sciencey one & then another & there are soo many more. have a look for yourself.
What is fair for one is not for all - getting your students to understand this helps when giving that kid the second chance that they need to succeed.
Hanke, K., and Vauclair, C. (2016). Investigating the human value 'forgiveness' across 30 countries: A cross-cultural meta-analytical approach. Cross-Cultural Research: The Journal Of Comparative Social Science, 50(3), 215-230. doi:10.1177/1069397116641085