Understanding punishment consequence and behaviour

Post on Fb by a parent “Today some children were given PHYSICAL PUNISHMENT in Aarohi. They were made to do 50 sit-ups for not maintaining silence during silence time. Is anyone else aware of this? Plz share your thoughts.”

When we read this post, it created an opportunity for us to know what made kids to give and accept this punishment? We took up this incident for discussion in our Thought Club session. On Friday, 1st August, we discussed this incident in our Open House session.

In thought club. We asked “what all kinds of punishment do you experience?” The list was not very shocking,

  • Scolding
  • Stay outside home (another child, shared staying out of home is good, how is that a punishment)
  • No stories at night
  • Sit and study
  • Study for 3 hrs
  • My mother doesn’t talk to me for days
  • Reading and writing extra for 5 hrs
  • No playing with friends for 2 days
  • Cancelling pizza parties
  • Asking to get out of the house
  • Slapping
  • Not going to friends house
  • Making playtime less.
  • If I do not do learning about maths or reading then no watch T.V .
  • If I did not pass my exam, I can not buy myself a pspa.
  • If do not do my homework, I can not go to play
  • If I go to play I won’t get food.

If you think we are diverting from the topic, wait read open house proceedings. Next day, on Friday we started with reading mail sent by parent. It was declared a “case”. The group of children who wanted to solve this case came in action to work on this. We decided to go through four stage

  1. First, Collect details
  2. Second, we asked questions
  3. Third, we debated
  4. Fourth, what else, what other options

First – Case details collection – All kids who were part of the case solving shared their knowledge of the case, following are their statements

This started with one child making actions only during silence time and other children were following him. this happened many a times. We had many a times had discussions on the same,

  • We decided the consequence “Whoever will do disturb will do 50 sit-ups”.
  • Aunty suggested “how about sit-ups?” and everyone agreed for the consequence.
  • When it was implemented many were enjoying – other also joined, and it was very fun.
  • It was not a punishment, it was consequence.
  • Nobody told that I am not convinced with it. The conclusion we gave that it will not harm anyone
  • It is only done one time.
  • It came because some used to make action to make other laugh
  • It had been happening many times, we had many dicussion on this. None of the discussions we put any consequence before. After the discussion for few days it did not happen, but it started again.
  • Repeating again and again.
  • When consequence was set, many said we want to try this,
  • We came to this consequence after many warnings.
  • Some children who were absent they were informed.
  • O-campus children were not informed.
  • All faculties were not informed
  • Everybody who experience this consequence was present the day we discussed about the consequence.
  • Some children were who were absent when they come to know were happy that this punishment is there
  • The child whose parent sent mail was also present and she agreed.
  • Absent people were not given a choice to share opinion, they were just informed.
  • More options were not thought through, no one came up with any more options
  • 50 situps had to be done
  • Punishment was done for awareness

SECOND STAGE – Questioning done by kids to each other

  • How this conclusion was made? Ans – Verbal ya ya
  • How did we ensured that all were asked – Ans – Only verbal
  • What others were doing when some were doing sit ups – Ans – laughing, chatting, counting in chorus or joining.

THIRD STAGE – Debate (children thought)

How are consequences or punishments same or different?

  • Both are same
  • Not same – punishment is “if you do not read five chapter, then no TV” is punishment while “I will fail is natural consequence”.

One child said “I did not agree to it”
Others asked – Why didn’t you raise your voice ?
Child – When all decide, there is no use of one person objecting.
Others – Why you did not take it to thought club, We had had discussed that even if one person does not agree we can raise our voice. Were you waiting, some else to object?
Child – No, I could not.
Others – You had different options to express.
(the child who was not able to express earlier was now expressing all others, still he was the only one who was expressing his objection against others 😉

Some other kids shared on what makes one not raise opposition

  • I feel a bit guilty to express my opposition
  • I feel uncomfortable
  • I am scared of rejection

By now the time was over. We closed the hearing for today. We will continue in next open house on 12th sept. Children who were involved in taking this decision invited parents to meet and take this case forward.


  • When something goes wrong, or we feel is wrong- how to approach each other?
  • Faculty does not make learning space alone, parents are partners and in case of any misstep, shall we start doubting each other?
  • To eradicate punishment from society, how do we remove punishment from our homes and our environment?”.
  • For kids to not punish others, they need to know/ experience what else they can do?
  • How parents look at aarohi – a school who will serve them? or a learning space which we co-create?
  • How does one word “punishment” creates and carry images? and the word “school” associates in our mind?
  • What does democratic environment means and how it leads to learning?
  • Empower kids to understand this topic/ how a democratic environment means or should adult control it?
  • Are we creating some hierarchy or status difference between child and adult by saying/thinking “If faculty (adult) says then,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,if a child says then………….”. Lets churn our mind in Mantahn


  • What else? – for any opinion / learning / content / topic / method ?
  • How else to take opinions- what about the kids who do not share verbal opinions?

The whole case opened many chapters at Aarohi. Left pondering, it opens up many other avenue for us