THE Behaviour Question

26th April 2013 at 01:00

We have just found out that our son's school uses detentions as a sanction from Year 4 upwards and my husband has come out vehemently against it. I agree that detentions don't always curb bad behaviour but there are precious few other sanctions available. What do others think? What other disincentives are there? When I was at school it was lines, extra work or 'sit there and write about the sex life of a Rice Krispie'. Honestly!

What you said:


If your son is naughty, you will be hard pushed to find a school that won't use detention for him. Rather than your husband protesting at the school's disciplinary policy, maybe he would be better off teaching him not to misbehave in the first place. Children need to learn about accepted societal rules sometime between infancy and the workplace. I wish parents would back up the disciplinary system at home - a day without a PlayStation for every detention would mean fewer detentions. You don't want your son to become some teacher's nightmare.


If you don't like the school's policies, find a different school. The last thing a teacher needs is an awkward parent who doesn't support them - the brats soon learn they can wreck the education of others, go home and claim they're being picked on and get Mummy to give their teacher a mouthful. As a result, behaviour gets worse, students learn less, teacher leaves your son alone. Try teaching him right from wrong and support the school.

The expert view

Schools need to use detentions. They need a range of sanctions when children misbehave to act as a deterrent against future misbehaviour and as a punishment for the act itself. If they don't have this, and other sanctions, available to them then what do they do when children hurt each othertell the teacher to "fuck off"run awayendanger themselves? At the same time there needs to be a reward system for those who behave well.

You can't run any society without agreed codes of conduct, and such codes must have something to reinforce them. Teachers need to reprimand and it has to be uncomfortable, or no deterrent is obtained. There are many sanctions but they all revolve around the student's displeasure. And if the parents don't support the school then the child's education and well-being is jeopardised because they don't learn to control themselves.

Tom Bennett is author of The Behaviour Guru and Not Quite a Teacher. Read more from Tom on his TES blog, or follow him on Twitter at @tesBehaviour. His latest book, Teacher, is out now, published by Continuum

Post your questions at www.tesconnect.combehaviour.

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