Writing as Punishment

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by katrinkit, Mar 21, 2007.

  1. katrinkit

    katrinkit Comrade

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    Mar 21, 2007

    I have posted before (uneasily) that a teacher in my school has students write essays each time they are in detention. While I know it works for some, my questions are...

    Aren't we teaching kids that we think they "hate" writing, so our goal is to find what they hate and make them do that?

    Isn't the goal to figure out what is going on with the student, so we can help them behave/follow simple directions?

    What are some things you do when students join you for detention?

    Do you ever try to add another n in detention? (dentention - I have done it every time I typed the word!)
     
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  3. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Mar 21, 2007

    Perhaps you're typing "dentention" because it bites?

    (Sorry. Bad joke.)

    I agree that, if essay writing is known as a punishment one gets in detention, that's likely to color how students view essay writing. There's an uneasy tension between possible goals for detention - punishment vs. learning opportunity - and I'm afraid I don't have any good answers for that.
     
  4. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    When our kids get sent to study hall for behavior, they often have to write a letter of apology, but I can't imagine assigning an essay as a consequence. That's all the kids need. Another reason to hate writing.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    OUr kids have to copy a page from the dictionary for an hour. Aside from the off chance that they'll learn a new word, it's a complete waste of their time-- exactly as it's intended to be.
     
  6. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Mar 21, 2007

    Ouch. So now we have kids who end up hating the dictionary...

    That was supposed to be a joke, mostly.

    If what's wanted is a certified time-waster, what about having kids copy out the school rules?
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Mar 21, 2007

    Our handbook is a BOOK!

    Actually, though, that's not a bad idea.

    My own personal favorite is more of a threat; I'm not sure whether I've actuallly ever used it:

    Multiply your phone number (with area code) by your zip code. If there's a second offense, check by division.

    I've threatened it once or twice with Junior and Senior classes, and I've never had to follow through. :)
     
  8. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Oooooo, Alice, that's hard! (I like it.)
     
  9. Katerie

    Katerie Rookie

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    Mar 21, 2007

    I think that things like detention are a waste of time if things are not being accomplished, but I also believe that writing essays is far from a fit punishment to be giving high schoolers. There are so many different things they could be doing that would be better than writing a pointless essay, and making them hate to write even more than they do already, which in some cases, is insatiable.
     
  10. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    It's funny. I mentioned it today to one of my Senior Precalculus classes. (It's our 3rd day of solving systems of equations using matrices. Those kids who understand it are starting to get bored.)

    One kid actually started doing the multiplication. I reminded him that if he didn't get back to Precalc, he would be doing the division after school, and back to matrices he went!:D
     
  11. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    I wish I can do something like that... but for fourth graders, it's just a tad :D different.
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Ohhh, times tables!!!

    How about the elevens to the twenties? (Or less-- I don't know the age group like you do!)
     
  13. ms_chandler

    ms_chandler Comrade

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    Mar 22, 2007

    Well, I have mine write their weekly definitions 3X each. They end up with 30 definitions. I don't think this makes them hate vocabulary. I mean, they're supposed to be punished! What punishment is it to have something unproductive? I would rather them learn from punishwork rather than write lines. Basically, the whole point is that they're being punished, so won't this mean anything they do is viewed as negative?

    My punishwork is effective because it makes them memorize their vocabulary. They've already done their definitions and flashcards, so they've written them 2X already. After punishwork, they're written each definition 5X. If they view that negatively, I have no idea what could actually be positive!!!
     
  14. CoolTchR

    CoolTchR Rookie

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    Mar 23, 2007

    I'm new to teaching (I've come from industry), so I don't have much experience with classroom management and how to punish students so it fits the crime. I do know that they are acting a particular way for a reason. The reason could be for attention or it could be due to frustration. It could be for many reasons. I do, however, agree that we are sending a message to the children that learning or doing classwork is a punishment. Perhaps the students should be counseled and assisted in understanding why they behaved the way they did. Are there any videos out there on behavior? Perhaps they can spend the time watching a video on the difference between proper and improper behavior. Maybe they could have these students attend workshops in groups (after school) so that they can get the students to look inward instead of acting outward. Perhaps, to send the message loud and clear, the parents should have to attend as well. I bet the students will change their behavior sooner. Any thoughts?
     
  15. hatima

    hatima Devotee

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    Mar 23, 2007

    I worked at for a city rec program over the summer. The director and my coworkers were ever so ready to have the kids write for endless amounts of time "I will listen to the (or my) rec leader." "I will not fight." I hated this. It never worked not with a single one of the 150+kids and was often used as a group penalty for undisired behavior. Even then the main "rule offenders" were the ones let out early. Rec leaders "pets"

    I only had the kids fill out what amounted to a refocus. I had them write it as a letter. They had to say what they did wrong, what they should have done, and what they would do next time. This seemed to work, even when one kids wrote. "I was fighting with 'Max' because I thought he knocked me down on purpase I didn't know he falled. Next time I won't get caught by rec leader." He did not feel he did anything wrong but it at least helped him think.
     
  16. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think a lot of it has to do with:
    a) the age of the child
    b) the offense.

    I use the threat with my high school aged kids as a deterrent. The assignment is do-able, but certainly not how they hope to spend their time after school. And I'm usually pretty sure of the motives for their misbehavior: they're teenagers and they want to do something else more than they want to do math. So for a kid who is overly chatty, the mention of the upcoming punishment is normally enough to make him reconsider his priorities.

    For something like fighting or other serious offenses, or for younger kids, I can see that something else would be a better idea. But this works for me :)
     
  17. La Profesora

    La Profesora Cohort

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    Mar 23, 2007

    In our ISS, I suggested that the teacher show motivational videos and audio tapes. Make the kids into better citizens and teach them about goal setting and organization. Make it something positive.
     
  18. PurpleTweety

    PurpleTweety Companion

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    Mar 24, 2007

    You can always check out this website: www.evildetentions.co.uk
    I've never actually used any of the ideas, but I've certainly had a good laugh imagining my students' faces if I ever did!
     
  19. CoolTchR

    CoolTchR Rookie

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    OMG!:eek: I love it! I never laughed so hard. I like the Dr. Evil detentions the best. I'll have to show these to my high schoolers. Hahahahahahaha! :D
     
  20. Bogart

    Bogart Rookie

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    Mar 24, 2007

    I think the worst punishment would be to make a child sit in detention with absolutely nothing to do. No reading, no writing, no sleeping, no doodling; they just have to sit there for the length of detention.
     
  21. CoolTchR

    CoolTchR Rookie

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    It happens in ISS. The kids will finish the work, then just sit there. They are not allowed to put their heads down. Total torture if you ask me. :tired:
     

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