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Wanted: alternative sanctions to detentions

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by RabbiReid, Oct 5, 2011.

  1. First of all, I'd lilke to say thank you for the great advice elsewhere on the site. I'm an NQT in quite a challenging school and it really has been invaluable over the last couple of weeks.
    I have quite a specific problem though I was hoping someone might be able to help me with.
    My school teaches three 100 minute lessons per day, with a 30 minute break in between each. The sanction system (which, incidentally, has not changed despite the length of the lessons doubling) is two warnings in class, a third means removal to a colleague's class and a half hour after school detention. Failure to comply with this final request or any serious incidents mean a day in isolation.
    I, however, feel that a meaningful sanction ought to follow if any child receives two warnings. If the sanction was unpleasant enough and carried out consistenly, it's reasonable to assume that instances of such behaviour, which waste a huge amount of time, would decline.
    The problem is that, as a class teacher, I'm only able to give out a fifteen minute detention. I don't think this is enough. I would like to keep students for longer - 30 minutes, ideally. But doing this would deprive students of a break before another 100 minute lesson. In my opinion this is morally wrong. The problem could be solved by hauling them back at the end of school for half a hour if doing so didn't flout the whole school behaviour policy by handing down third warning punishments for second warning offences. Doing this would make me unpopular with kids and SLT alike.
    In summary, the whole school behaviour policy seems too inflexible to enable me to hand out the kind of detentions I would like. My question is: can you suggest any equally unpleasant alternatives to 30 minute detentions (which ideally can be carried out in 15 minutes!)?
    I realise it's a very specific problem but it's driving me mad!
    Thanks in advance for any help and all the advice so far.
     
  2. First of all, I'd lilke to say thank you for the great advice elsewhere on the site. I'm an NQT in quite a challenging school and it really has been invaluable over the last couple of weeks.
    I have quite a specific problem though I was hoping someone might be able to help me with.
    My school teaches three 100 minute lessons per day, with a 30 minute break in between each. The sanction system (which, incidentally, has not changed despite the length of the lessons doubling) is two warnings in class, a third means removal to a colleague's class and a half hour after school detention. Failure to comply with this final request or any serious incidents mean a day in isolation.
    I, however, feel that a meaningful sanction ought to follow if any child receives two warnings. If the sanction was unpleasant enough and carried out consistenly, it's reasonable to assume that instances of such behaviour, which waste a huge amount of time, would decline.
    The problem is that, as a class teacher, I'm only able to give out a fifteen minute detention. I don't think this is enough. I would like to keep students for longer - 30 minutes, ideally. But doing this would deprive students of a break before another 100 minute lesson. In my opinion this is morally wrong. The problem could be solved by hauling them back at the end of school for half a hour if doing so didn't flout the whole school behaviour policy by handing down third warning punishments for second warning offences. Doing this would make me unpopular with kids and SLT alike.
    In summary, the whole school behaviour policy seems too inflexible to enable me to hand out the kind of detentions I would like. My question is: can you suggest any equally unpleasant alternatives to 30 minute detentions (which ideally can be carried out in 15 minutes!)?
    I realise it's a very specific problem but it's driving me mad!
    Thanks in advance for any help and all the advice so far.
     
  3. PSK

    PSK

    How about simply making it known to the child that you will be calling home? In my experience, this is often more effective than detentions anyway, because they get pressure from both sides. I have a particularly difficult class at the moment and have introduced this as an extra step in the school's sanctions policy. It seems to be working: one particularly troublesome kid has had a call home every week so far - this week has seen a major change in behaviour and attitude, and today he asked me if I could phone home to let his mum know he was trying, as he'd been getting so much grief from her. The phone calls don't need to be long - just a quick, " little Johnny's behaviour was completely unacceptable in class today - I expect an improved attitude tomorrow."
    Good luck!
     
  4. Thanks for the advice. I have considered this. I agree, with supportive parents the benefit derived from the time it takes to make the phonecall means it's a no-brainer. Unfortunately, a lot of the parents I have spoken to over the last couple weeks don't appear to have been that helpful.
    The reason I prefer detention, or some kind of alternative sanction, is because it is in my control. Those that won't get it from their parents will definitely get it from me. I'm just looking for a way to be consistent really.
     
  5. "If the sanction was unpleasant enough and carried out consistently, it's reasonable to assume that instances of such behaviour, which waste a huge amount of time, would decline."
    You would think so, wouldn't you. But no. Punishments only limit behaviour long term, and don't change it. You need to stick with your school's plan. As you say, consistency is hugely important. If you are not consistent with the plan, then it will start falling apart, you will be earmarked as being unfair and then you will not only have students turning away from you, but other staff will, too.
    Phoning home is an excellent idea. As the previous poster says, it needn't be a long call at all.
    I think you need to think about ways to notice students who are doing the right thing, and frame your language positively. Kids in your classroom looking at the warnings are not thinking 'oh this teacher is strict, I mustn't mess around' they are thinking 'wow, this class behaves really badly in this room'.
    Keeping a student for 5 minutes at the end of the lesson into their breaktime is hugely effective as they are then at the back of the line to get food in the canteen or wherever they go. Tiny and consistent is what you need to go for. Don't bother thinking that in a long detention students will suddenly have an epiphany of realisation and not want to ever be in that trouble again... it won't work. Why not observe a teacher in your school that has good classroom control with the same class and see what strategies they employ. I can guarantee to you that a well controlled class is nearly always a positive place to be.
    Get kids to tell you who they would like you to call if they do WELL. That is the person to call when things go badly as well, because that is the parent they are most interested in impressing. When you call home, always sandwich bad news in 2 pieces of something good you have noticed. That way the parents and student realise that you do notice the good in them.
    Forget big long harsh detentions being your route to success. You'll be taken out on a stretcher by Christmas if you are constantly trying to plan Big Gun punishments. :-/
     

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