Silent Lunch

Discussion in 'General Education' started by SF_Giants66, Jun 4, 2014.

  1. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

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    I hear it said a lot, but don't know exactly what it means usually. Does it mean they have to sit at an isolation table for lunch where they can't talk?

    I have read a lot of differing opinions over it, such as not allowing kids to socialize is too cruel of a punishment. Does it really have that negative of an effect, or does it really help improve behavior, or is there any general consensus of it at all?
     
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  3. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    I **hated** silent lunch as a kid. Hated it. I would NEVER use silent lunch as a disciplinary measure for my kids.
     
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    My class decided that they should have about 10 minutes of silent lunch last week after I blew up at them when grape pop was sprayed "accidentally" all over the floor.

    I would never impose it--they need that time to talk to each other.
     
  5. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    That's the point. They're supposed to hate consequences. As for it being too cruel to take away socialization time, again that's the point.

    If students enjoyed consequences there would be no point to them. As a society we're becoming too fluffy and afraid of enacting any real consequences, just like how we complain about parents who don't hold their students accountable at home so they act out in class.

    If you make the consequences clear in the beginning of the year, if they end up earning them, that's their problem not yours. They know the consequences and decided it was worth it to earn it.
     
  6. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I wouldn't be willing to have 28 children in a room who had been deprived of any social interaction.
     
  7. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I wouldn't use a whole class consequence in any case. It would be for individual students.
     
  8. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    I have not really seen an example of where punishments such as silent lunches or similar tactics (like placing whole classes/grades on lockdown) really help to improve or change behavior long term.

    I've only seen silent lunches tried a few times, but have seen whole class/grade lockdowns plenty of times. I don't think either consequence was effective for changing students' overall behavior and so these punishments were abandoned after a few days (silent lunch) or a few weeks/months (for lockdowns). Just not effective.
     
  9. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I am a firm believer in the fact that kids need recess and lunch time to socialize, play, and be kids. There's an administrator in my district who takes pride in having a completely silent cafeteria during breakfast and lunch. I hope I never have to work under him!

    Yes--my cafeteria may be a bit loud, but the kids aren't rowdy or disrespectful. They follow the PBIS model we have in place.

    In short, I don't agree with the philosophy behind kids having a silent lunch.
     
  10. K1teach

    K1teach Companion

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    I agree that consequences should not be comfortable. However, if we expect the children to not socialize in our class, we need to give them opportunities to socialize. I have seen students expected to be silent waiting in the halls before school and silent in the lunch room. While I know they can't use loud voices during these times, I think that it is during these times that we need to teach and expect appropriate behavior.
     
  11. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

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    You seem to be describing more of a Hammurabi approach than anything. I don't see more harsh punishment as a way to improve behavior. I actually would have preferred detention over silent lunch and think it to be less demoralizing to the kids, even though I don't think detention does anything either.

    I guess the way I phrased the questions seemed to be looking more for a debate. Since we are at a consensus that most people don't prefer to use it, a debate I guess isn't necessary. However, I also meant to ask what seems to work better and is less cruel in situations where teachers would normally give a silent lunch.
     
  12. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

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    Also, if it helps, I might add that having grown up with Asperger's Syndrome, the loss of recess had little effectiveness when I was in grade school K-4, and no effectiveness once I got to 5th grade. I found recess to sometimes be fun, but mostly a target for ridicule and set up for getting into arguments and fights that I didn't mind avoiding. I think a more collaborative approach would have worked for me as a child.

    I just think certain punishments teachers give kids is demoralizing and regresses children to the level of lab rats.
     
  13. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    If you think 6 people on a message board constitutes consensus you may have a long, troubling career ahead of you.
     
  14. Reality Check

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    A few years ago, a nearby high school was having so many fights at lunch, the principal arranged the class schedule (periods, not blocks) so that the entire school would dismiss around 1:45 and they counted 1:45 to 2:30 as the lunch period. The ones who needed free lunch naturally had the option to stay.

    Our own school was having so much violence at lunch that the principal was going to schedule lunches (again, periods) starting with second period (about 8:45 a.m.) to sixth period, with a regular class for seventh period. This was a crowd control measure - to make the numbers smaller in the cafeteria at each lunch session.


    :mellow:
     
  15. greendream

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    See, that's interesting. I've never seen silent lunch employed as anything but a whole-class consequence, almost always for being too loud in the lunchroom. To make just one kid eat in silence while everyone else talks actually seems a lot worse to me.
     
  16. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

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    I remember that usually the whole class consequences when I was a kid were really the only times I wasn't misbehaving. For that reason, getting in trouble all the time in addition to getting into trouble for behaviors that I wasn't part of seemed rather unfair. I don't think punishing a whole class for the behavior of the majority is ever a way to get respect from students.
     
  17. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    What's the difference between a detention and a silent lunch? In both cases, the student spends time with me and has to sit silently.

    If a student wants to earn their privilege to socialize with their friends during lunch, they have to realize that it isn't appropriate to socialize during class time.

    I have DEFINITELY seen it improve behavior. I have had kids spend one silent lunch with me, and never want to do it again, and so their behavior improved.

    Greendream: Students don't have lunch in my classroom. They eat out in the quad. I have students who have earned silent lunch escorted to my class. They sit for 20 minutes in silence and can eat lunch. Then they can leave and enjoy their lunch for the last 10 minutes.

    From what it sounds like, we could be talking about very different things. I remember silent lunch in Elementary meant that the entire cafeteria needed to eat silently. That would be impossible in our Middle School where they essentially have free roam of the school during lunch.

    I hold specific students accountable for their specific transgressions. I believe whole-class punishments do more harm than good for the reasons stated previously.
     
  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I believe that kids should be given an opportunity to socialize during the school day. I don't think that this socializing time should be removed as a punishment except as a natural consequence when the infraction occurred during that socializing time.

     
  19. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    I'm an advocate of silent lunch. It was the first line of discipline for teachers, and threatening it was usually enough to stop the behavior issue. But my school did away with it this year. Long story short, I had a very long year with more discipline issues than the previous years combined. I'm really hoping that we can bring it back for next year.
     
  20. live

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    We had silent lunch at my old middle school. I hated it. The kids would be "too loud," which by admins standards, meant they were talking (in a room not built for 150 kids). So the kids would get silent lunch the next day. Someone would talk during the silent lunch, so everyone would have silent lunch for yet another day. On the off day that they didn't have silent lunch, they would usually "earn" one for the next day. It was awful. The kids were treated like prisoners.

    I know this was just an abuse of the whole system, I'm sure, but I've felt weird about silent lunch ever since then.
     
  21. 2ndTimeAround

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    Hate it for a class. Like it for an individual.

    My oldest kid was a chatty Cathy in elementary school. One day her 2nd grade teacher told her that if she got caught talking again she'd have silent lunch. DD ignored the threat and ended up with silent lunch. She hated every second of it.

    That incident didn't keep her from chatting once in a while. It did keep her on task for the rest of the day. And it made sure she paid attention the next time her teacher gave her a warning.
     
  22. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    Silent lunch ALWAYS works for me. The mere threat of it works. The kids HATE it, and the when I hear mumbling and grumbling in the hallway I say "if I see your lips move, you have silent lunch"---instant silence. And then my line is perfectly straight and perfectly quiet.
     
  23. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    That's why if they socialize in my class, I say "you take my time, I take your time." Instant silence because they know if they continue to socialize they will lose the benefit to socialize with their peers when it is appropriate. If it continues and they actually get silent lunch, they know there is follow through. Suddenly, I have a classroom that a pin could be heard if it fell the rest of the year. I love it. I don't WANT to give them silent lunch or TAKE away recess, they definitely are warned before I do so.

    Needless to say, I have a quiet classroom and very, very RARELY do I have someone lose recess or have silent lunch because the threat is out there if they do make bad choices.

    For those against silent lunch or no recess, what are the other possible consequences you can give kids for inappropriate behavior?

    All levels here...middle/secondary/or elementary
     
  24. Go Blue!

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    Reading through the responses, I think things like silent lunches and ISS work best for kids who are really not that bad/disrespectful/defiant or when you only have a few problem children.

    I also think a lot of things that other people may view as behaviors that deserve serious consequences such as silent lunches are the norm where I teach. Thus, we have to pick our battles.
     
  25. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    For what it's worth, I hated Silent Lunch as a kid, BUT it was effective in that if the monitors told us to quiet down/stop sharing food/don't throw food on the floor/etc we listened because we knew they'd give us a silent lunch and how much it sucked.

    And I'm not just talking elementary school. We had silent lunch up through 12th grade (at a public school). It didn't kill me, or socially stunt me and I don't feel like it's going to do any damage to kids now.

    I don't do lunch duty, but my heart goes out to those who do because at our school, there's about 150 - 200 kids per lunch and only 2 - 3 teachers (WITHOUT microphones) to supervise them. Ideally, yes, lunch should be a time for kids to socialize and learn how to appropriately eat a meal and still chat with friends. But with such a low teacher to student ratio, that's near impossible.

    In my classroom when I try to identify the student initiating/egging the other kids on and separate them (ie: if we're doing a project, that trouble student can still work on it, but they might have to sit at the back table and work alone instead of cooperatively with their group). But I've got less than 30 kids.

    In a lunch room, that's a lot harder to do, which is why I think the monitors initiate Silent Lunches sometimes. I don't think it's a bad thing as long as it isn't used excessively. It should be a final straw and even then, I feel like it should be used for just a few minutes (except in extreme cases, like when we had the entire fifth grade throwing food, running around the cafeteria, yelling, a couple fights broke up, garbage was left everywhere, etc. They got Silent Lunch for a week and deserved it IMHO)
     
  26. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    My school's cafeteria is mass chaos most days during lunch. It looks like a food war zone everyday after lunch- food and drink everywhere. I'd like to see them attempt to keep some rules in place, let alone silence.
     
  27. TeacherNY

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    I don't think I agree with having a silent lunch but I really don't agree with the argument that kids need to "talk and socialize" all through lunch if they had done it during class in the first place (hence being required to have a silent lunch if that is the punishment given for talking during class). I have never personally seen a silent lunch enforced but I agree with the previous poster that there really has to be rules in the lunchroom to avoid a really loud and chaotic environment. It is very hard for some students to return to class in a calm manner when they ran amuck all during lunchtime.
     
  28. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I don't find that ratio to be unreasonable at all. I do lunch duty quite often under similar circumstances.
     
  29. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    There are lots of ways to have rules and order in the lunchroom without requiring students to have silent lunch.
     
  30. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    But to some being very harsh and applying it to all is much easier than coming up with ways to deal with specific issues.
     
  31. Linguist92021

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    We don't have silent lunch, but we have 'split lunch'. That means that half of the school is kept in their classrooms and lunch is brought to them to eat, while they're quiet. The other half gets to go outside and socialize and I guess they eat at the time. At halfway through lunch, they switch, the group that was inside goes outside, and the outsiders go inside to just sit and be quiet.

    It doesn't sound like it's a big deal, but it is. My principal uses it as a last resort, this past year she only had to use it once. Our school is very small, 5 classrooms in total, so half of the kids outside means only about 30-35 if everyone is here, and that's not real socialization for the students because they always sit in groups, so chances are they won't have most of their friends.
     
  32. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    I'm glad that you have an easy time at lunch duty. However, I know nothing of your school's demographics compared to mine (not even sure what grade(s) you work with) so there's really no comparison.
     

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