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Disclaimer. The author is not a lawyer and this article should not be construed as legal advice.

Sometimes, instructors must reprimand students. Most students start their training with proper behavior, but along the way they sometimes misbehave. Students need to know that the consequences of improper behavior will be swift unpleasant, but just. Every student is a potential winner, but some are disguised as losers, don’t let their disguises fool you.

A parable

Once upon a time, an Emperor appointed a second in command and called him the Prime Minister. The Emperor said, "Why don't we divide up the tasks? Why don't you do all the punishing and I'll do all the rewarding." Soon the Emperor noticed that when he asked someone to do something, they might do it or they might not do it. However, when the Prime Minister spoke people moved immediately. So, the Emperor called the Prime Minister back in and said "Why don't we divide the tasks again? This time I'll do the punishing and you do the rewarding." Soon the people noticed the change. They said, "The emperor was such a nice guy, now he is always punishing us, we need a new Emperor." Then they said "The prime minister would be a good emperor, he used to punish us all the time, but now he is really a nice guy. " So, they made the Prime Minister the Emperor.
The moral of the story is: if you are first tough on enforcing good behavior and then supportive of the student when he or she exhibits good behavior, you get better results.

How to reprimand

Tell students beforehand, in no uncertain terms, that you will not tolerate misbehavior and that they will be held accountable for their actions.

First Half of the Reprimand:

  • Reprimand them immediately.
  • Tell them what they did wrong—be specific. Tell them how you feel about what they did wrong and express your disappointment in no uncertain terms.
  • Stop for a few seconds of uncomfortable silence to let the seriousness of the situation take effect and to let them "feel" how you feel.

Second Half of the Reprimand:

  • Shake hands or touch them in such a way (such as a pat on the shoulder) that lets them know you are honestly on their side.
  • Remind them how much you value them.
  • Reaffirm that you think well of them but not of their behavior in this situation.
Remember, when the reprimand is over, IT'S OVER!

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