As a Principal, I occassionally deployed the strategy of a Business Lunch. It wasn’t a reward. Luke knew that if he was called to share a sausage roll with me that there was something serious, something behavioural, on the agenda for that lunch.
So was this an appropriate, or even effective, strategy?
In the Restorative Practices framework we speak to the first principle of a Fair Process as being Engagement. We’ve simply got to get them involved by having the student think and talk with us about the problem?
So, what’s the best way to engage Luke? It’s away from the distraction of negative peer influences.
And then, what’s the best way to lure Luke away from those peers? With food – especially with a sausage roll. And so, I called Luke in for a Business Lunch and a little reset on the behaviours that we’d like to encourage rather than those we’re about to hold him accountable for.
There’s a temptation here for us to find reasons that the Business Lunch is an unjust way to tackle the challenge of Luke. We might say:
- “I’ve tried being nice to him before and he still plays up!” (The truth – of coursehe did! Behaviour almost invariably improves via frequency and severity improvements as opposed to miracle cures).
- “But then every kid will want a Business Lunch because now I’m rewarding bad behaviour.” (The truth – no they won’t! You just aren’t that cool or desirable a lunch date. Sorry!)
- “I don’t have time to be running Business Lunches for the naughtiest kids.”(The truth – you’re already spending an inordinate amount of time on your version of Luke. This is a drop in the ocean of the time you spend at school.)
There’s power in that sausage roll. If you’re prepared to spend $3.50 and a little of your time on prevention, rather than reaction.