Whole school considerations
Many schools adopt a popular (but massively problematic) ‘mass-detention’ system of some sort, which works something like this:
- The student receives the requisite number of ‘warnings’ in a particular lesson which lead to a break or lunchtime detention being given
- The student is sent to a room with other students from the school who’ve also received detentions
- Teachers supervise the ‘detention room’ on a rotating basis, thereby (in theory), sharing the workload across the staff body
- The students are given generic tasks to do during the detention time, which may include filling in a form, completing homework or in the very worst cases just sitting still and being quiet for twenty minutes or so.
The problem with systems like this is that they are not personal to the students receiving the detentions. They do not follow the ‘golden rule’: that detentions should address or solve the problem that they were given for.
What’s much more effective in the long-term is to trust individual teachers to administer their own detentions. Perhaps provide a quick training session based on good practice (feel free to use this article if you wish), and allow the teachers to then use their judgement to decide when and how detentions should be given.
Student detentions are only effective when they have the ‘personal touch’. When detentions address the original issue by allowing more time to complete homework or classwork or allow for a one-on-one discussion about behaviour, the following magical things happen:
- The detention is given from a standpoint of care and concern, not confrontation and aggression
- Students realise the reason why the detention was given as this reason is reinforced by the activities given during the time of the detention
- Students improve. It’s that simple. Mass detention systems rarely work because they don’t pinpoint the personal reasons behind why the student is under-performing. Detentions with the ‘personal touch’ cause students to realise their errors and most, if not all, will improve in a short space of time.
This article was originally published at https://richardjamesrogers.com/2018/05/13/the-effective-use-of-detentions/
Illustrated by Pop Sutthiya Lertyongphati