Writing Lines as Punishment

Discussion in 'High School' started by beyourowndog, Mar 29, 2015.

  1. hatima

    hatima Devotee

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    Jun 22, 2015

    i worked at a community center that had kids aged 5 to 12 write lines such as "I will listen to the rec leader." They had to fill up 5 to 10 pages front and back single lines. Some had to spend hours on completing this and it continued to the next day. The kids NEVER learned anything from it.
    They also had to copy word by word out of a book. If they missed one word they had to do it all over!

    These kids, at risk population, saw writing and reading as a punishment. They saw doing classwork and homework as a punishment.

    I was sent to detention for misbehaving in high school. I was only allowed to sit and stare into space for 90 minutes. I couldn't read, write, draw, talk, move, eat, use the bathroom. It worked for me. I was only late to school once in four years. I went to detention twice (once because I was ditching PE).

    If my teachers had me write lines I would think they were nuts. Words mean little if you don't know the whys or are not taught a behavior to replace the incorrect behavior. Writing lines, even repetitive rules doesn't change the behavior---in my experience. Just as arbitrary detention is not appropriate. At my HS if you were late, even by 10 seconds you got detention. The same kids were always late, (my HS had nearly 3,000 students), everyone knew which kids were late daily.

    I worked at an elementary school that fed into that HS. The school had the same arbitrary detention rule. The same kids were late daily. Kinder to fifth grade. They had three detentions a day. Morning, lunch recess, and afternoon recess. This did not deter these kids from being late. The punishment didn't treat the cause of the tardiness.

    If you want kids, especially teens, to write as punishment. Have them write a paragraph about why they broke your rule. Yes you will get smarty pants remarks, but you may also get some insightful responses too.
     
  2. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    Jun 23, 2015

    Writing lines or even a reflective essay IS a punishment (the infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offense)-- not a consequence, not a teachable moment. You are requiring the student to do something in response to an action you find offensive/undesirable, and it's not a natural consequence. If you screw up at a job, your boss doesn't tell you to go sit in the corner and write "I will not ____" 100 times or write an essay about why you did what you did and how that negatively impacted others.

    At a job, if you screw up, the boss will find out why that happened by talking to you, teach you the correct way to do something if it happened in ignorance, or write you up/fire you if it was willful or repetitive.

    Now... I know that just talking to kids usually doesn't solve a problem (though I was one of those kids that fell apart if a teacher even LOOKED at me like I was about to be in trouble...), and kids also need to be taught which actions are acceptable, WHY they're acceptable (and why others are not), and how to control their own reactions to things. I have had students write apology letters or write about why something they did was hurtful before, but in the circumstance that was a natural consequence for them. Students were saying and doing intentionally hurtful things, and I knew they understood that it was wrong, but they needed to write it out for it to really sink in.

    But that was not my go-to consequence. Sometimes it was missing recess to finish homework. Sometimes it was not getting to eat in the classroom. We had a clip chart, so that was the standard, but I hate those for a whole lot of other reasons.

    The point is that consequences have to make sense for the action; not just some arbitrary negative thing that kids are forced to do because YOU don't like something they did. It teaches them vengeful behavior, I think, and it diminishes them as people in order to put you back in charge. There are such healthier and more respectful ways to establish your leadership in a classroom, and forced writing isn't going to do that.
     
  3. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Jun 23, 2015

    Agree. Typical students most likely to be in writing jail are not your bright, top third of the class with excellent work habits and social skills. They are likely to be the bottom third; the ones who don't care much for school anyway and, for them, school is a constant reminder of their failure. Then, to drive the point home, we promote their dislike of school-learning by punishing them with the very means they associate failure with in the first place. Of course, we hope after they have "reflected" by ripping holes in their paper they will come away with a new attitude towards school and learning.
     
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jun 23, 2015

    I still remember, not too fondly, having to write lines in Grade 8 (many, many years ago); after filling both sides of a piece of paper with, "I will use semi-colons correctly in my writing.", I needed to do it again because the teacher felt that I didn't space the periods at the end of my sentences correctly. I learned nothing from this exercise but resentment for the teacher.
     
  5. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Jun 23, 2015

    I had an 8th grade teacher who used to make us copy the chapter summary as a punishment. I certainly never behaved better.

    Now, what I will do is if a student is incapable of being in a lab or activity I will "supplement" with a worksheet or other book work.
     
  6. Zipzesty

    Zipzesty New Member

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    Sep 25, 2015

    A punishment that happens in my mother's classes to get her teaching degree is if someone is late make them do something funnily embarrassing like sing nursery rhymes or do a dance. My mom hasn't been late ever sense.
     
  7. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    Oct 21, 2015

    When I was doing field work as part of my teaching credential 12 years ago, I found that there was a reason why high school teachers would require students who broke classroom rules to write about the rule they were not following and what they should do differently from that point on (one paragraph total). The reason was because if in the event a parent, counselor, probation officer, social worker, etc. came to talk to the teacher, the teacher would have written proof that the student has received sufficient redirection. If this proof is readily available, the student cannot say that he or she did not do anything wrong and that the teacher is just picking on them for no reason.

    There were at least a few times when students actually learned from their mistakes by writing a paragraph on that topic. As you can see, the whole point of this strategy was for documentation because some difficult students and parents will attempt to deny that the student was being disruptive.
     
  8. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Oct 22, 2015

    As long as the writing assignment is directed towards reflecting on the problem, and not just a repetitive writing of the rule, I think that makes sense. You want to make sure that the consequence logically follows from the action and that the consequence leads to them learning from the moment...writing lines mindlessly definitely isn't that!
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oct 22, 2015

    I'd change programs if I was your mom. This is no way to teach teachers how to treat students. Either that or do a bit of dirty dancing and see how prof reacts.JK
     
  10. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Oct 22, 2015

    I have had students who were not physically able to write. With either hand.

    And I had one student who only had one hand. The hand that he had only had three fingers. He could write but I believe making him write as a punishment would be absolutely cruel.
     
  11. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    Oct 22, 2015

    Thank you for the compliment, mathdad. In schools where the parents and administrators don't enforce any consequences for students' poor behavior, I can see why teachers should document, document, document. If there is documentation, it makes it a lot harder for students and parents to lie and claim that the teacher is making up wild accusations against them.
     
  12. PoliticalFutbol

    PoliticalFutbol Rookie

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    Oct 25, 2015

    I didn't understand what you said here, but since this is your thing, I assume you know a lot more about it than I do, so I agree.
    What is meant by different forums - I guess not including those on different websites? Well, probably not, but without that clarity, then I might assume that I understand as long as everything makes sense to me and if I don't understand something then if is probably ok. (I think that is how some students rationalize their behavior. Well, something like that and I learn from my students.) Q:?)
     
  13. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    Oct 25, 2015

    I also had students mainstreamed into my middle and high school courses who weren't physically able to write. Their IEP stated that they would dictate responses for all written work to our SPED aide who would put their words in writing verbatim. In that setting, students didn't think that it was a punishment by any means when they had to verbally describe the rule they broke and what they should do differently from that point on.
     
  14. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Oct 25, 2015

    But that is not writing lines. That is a totally different assignment. I don't have a problem at all with a form they fill out about behavior or an essay.
     

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