As any regular reader of this blog or my books knows, I’m not a big fan of using punishment in the classroom (you can see many of my previous posts on the topic here).

I know they have their role in very serious offenses, but I’ve been fortunate enough in my teaching career to be able to “cut off at the pass” most of those serious offenses before they’ve become a reality. I’m no saint, however, and each year I usually send less than a handful of students to the office just to get them out of class that day — it usually happens when their bad day coincides with me having a bad day.

A new study just came out in the United Kingdom where they surveyed students about effective punishments, and they said detentions weren’t much of a deterrent. I’m certainly more than a little skeptical of a student survey on this topic, but it’s still not a surprising result. The survey found that the teacher contacting home was more effective, and I’ve definitely found that to be true. One of my favorite interventions, though, is to NOT call home after misbehavior. Instead, I tell him/her that I know they can step-up, and that I am going to call home in a week’s time. I’d like to be able to say great things about them to their parents, and they have a week to show me. And I’ll tell the parents whatever I see happening over the next week. Without fail, the student is on the ball for the next way and usually far beyond that time…

What do you think of using detention?