A detention is a period of time that is purposefully taken away from a student’s extra-curricular or non-curricular time. It may involve a teacher-supervised activity during a morning break, lunch or after school.
Detentions are given to students for a wide-variety of reasons; some of which are more logical than others. Reasons for detentions (starting with the most logical and useful) can include:
- Failure to complete homework or classwork
- Poor attendance
- Persistent lateness/lack of punctuality
- Disruption to class activities through poor behaviour
- Receiving a certain, set number of ‘warnings’ or ‘demerits’
Christopher’s case as an example to follow
The most logical and useful way to use detentions is time-for-time: time not spent completing homework or classwork should be compensated by time spent on detention.
In Christopher’s case, I decided to give the break-time detention. Here are the reasons for my choice:
- The Science lesson ended at break-time, so it was convenient for me to keep him behind in my class (I didn’t have the problem of, say, giving him a lunchtime detention for the next day and then having to remember that he is coming and maybe chase him up if he doesn’t come along).
- Christopher would be exchanging his break time for time spent completing his classwork. He must do this, as he will fall behind if he doesn’t.
- The detention serves as a reinforcement of the teacher’s authority, and a stern reminder that a poor work-ethic just won’t be tolerated. It turns out that after only two such break-time detentions, Christopher pulled up his socks and began working at a reasonable pace during lessons.