Negative Punishment in the Classroom

    Negative punishment is a form of Operant Conditioning. By definition, it means taking away something that the person does like, in order them to change their behavior to be better. Within the classroom, the negative punishment has to be immediate to show how serious the situation is and how the new behavior should be. It also needs to be consistent, so you can't just let one student do a bad behavior, and then let another student get away with the same behavior without also giving them a negative punishment. Kids need guidance, correction, and encouragement to shape their behavior in line with the moral and social standards.

    Some examples of negative punishment in the classroom can include:
  • If a student is using their phone in class, taking it away
  • Taking away and good-behavior tokens they have earned, possibly lowering a grade
  • Not allowing the student to participate in an activity, like recess because they were misbehaving
    Unfortunately, these should be used in combination of multiple other approaches, like including positive reinforcements as well. A combination is what is going to work best, and show much-improved behavior in a classroom setting, so you would also need to reward good behavior with maybe extra recess or something like that.
    When I was in school, I definitely benefitted from positive reinforcement, but I would try and be on my best behavior in fear of the negative punishments because I was terrified of getting my phone taken away or losing privileges so I definitely think that having the combination of both would benefit students into wanting to be better behaved.


Dimochkino. (2023, March 31). What is Negative Punishment? Theory, Practice & Examples. HIGH5 Strengths Test.


  1. Hello Emily! This post is extremely educational, negative punishment in the classroom is definetely required at times. I remember being in middle school and having my seat moved because I was talking to the person next to me too much. After I got my seat moved, I definetely wasn't talking while the teacher was anymore.

  2. Hi Emily! I really enjoyed reading about negative reinforcement in the classroom. I similarly wrote about this in my blog post about Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism. It is very interesting to see that negative reinforcement is actually beneficial when used alongside other tactics. I work at a special education school where negative reinforcement and positive reinforcement go hand in hand. Overall, I found your blog post to be very fascinating.

  3. Hi Emily, I found your post educational and interesting! I also posted about negative punishment, but linked it towards children's home lives while growing up. Very interesting stuff!


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