How to Make Detention Work
May 02, 2012
Detention works quite well if it includes a brief processing of the behavior followed by sitting (and, if the student wants to, working or reading but not talking and definitely not helping around the classroom). Processing has worked well for my students when we talk, and I take notes so there is a written record for that all-important paper trail and so the student sees it as a serious plan.
We start with what rule or guideline the student failed to follow and why that rule matters. Then we talk about what the student could do instead and how I can help him remember to do that. We also talk about how the student can make restitution for any injury he caused another person and what he will do when confronted with a similar situation in the future. I also make sure to point out for the student what he is doing well and how those skills and strategies he already possesses might help him with this other situation.
After this processing has taken place and the student is back in class, it is extremely important to notice when he makes better choices and let him know that you noticed. This doesn’t have to be a big deal, just a smile and thumbs up or a quick quiet comment or a brief note often work very well.