How to Avoid Using Detention in the Classroom

Pupils who are disruptive are more likely to be removed from the classroom if their behaviour affects the other children. However, such actions may have a serious effect on the amount of academic material covered by the child, and if possible steps should be taken to minimize these removals.

Poor behaviour may also be used as an ‘escape’ mechanism by a pupil, particularly where tasks are difficult or he is worried about failure, so a detention will often be a positive reward for a child who aims to avoid a task or demand. By giving a detention you may unwittingly be reinforcing bad behaviour.


Detentions can also be counterproductive as, not only is the child with ADHD likely to forget to attend, he is often unable to concentrate sufficiently at the end of the school day. Detentions can also lead to poor staff and pupil relationships and will impact negatively on the child’s self-esteem.

Try considering alternatives to detentions where possible. For example, you could use a token economy system where there are a number of tokens or chips, each of which has a value and which are given on a daily basis in a positive way to reinforce desired behaviour and taken away if a negative behaviour occurs.

Try and ignore negative behaviours where possible when they are minimal. Try distracting as a means of reĀ­engaging the child’s focus. Consider asking him to move to a different place in the class, break up long activities with short physical exercises, allow very brief time-out sessions (a few minutes), and use non-verbal feedback cards or prompts to let the child know he needs to adjust his behaviour and to prompt on-task focus. If and when detention is required, try to use it as a last resort and schedule a session in the timetable for the pupil to recap on material missed.

Filed Under: Lifestyle & Personality


About the Author: Alan Kennon lives a very happy life with two kids and a lovely wife. He likes to share his life time experiences with others about how they can improve their lifestyle and personality.

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