Numerous researchers and experts have questioned the effects of detention on kids’ development. Detention is punishment, so we can all agree on is that it is always experienced negatively, and children understand it as an attempt to shame them.
Therefore, any alternative to detention that will not affect the self-esteem of children would be more than welcome.
The Robert W. Coleman School in Baltimore replaced detention by disciplining students’ thoughts instead, and it was found to be highly successful. In a partnership with the Holistic Life Foundation, it introduced the Mindful Moment Room, where students learn to calm and deal with stress and anxiety.
The room is decorated, and filled with lamps and purple pillows. Kids who misbehaved are there encouraged to sit and meditate, to calm and re-center. Over time, the effects of the change surprised many- suspension rates were drastically lower.
Moreover, students claimed that the program even changed their lives- meditation helped them focus on tests even amid the noise, taught them to control anger by breathing in and out, and helped them build their character.
The meditation room is part of an after-school program called Holistic Me, which involves children from pre-K through the fifth grade. The initiative encourages children to talk to behavioral professionals, while they learn to practice mindful meditation and breathing exercises.
According to the website of the nonprofit:
“Many colleges, government agencies, yoga studios, and corporations have benefited from their vast array of classes.
They teach our own unique style that blends several forms of yoga, mindfulness practices, Tai-Chi, and other self-healing arts. The Holistic Life Foundation has a very long track record of happy, healthy, stress-free, relaxed, and peaceful students.”
√HLF uses a reciprocal teaching model so that students will go home and share what they learned with their families.
This school set an excellent example of student-centered education by being open to new potential methods that might help kids in the process, and let’s hope other schools will follow suit.
Detention might have been efficient once, as it was the most reasonable form of discipline, but nowadays, I believe it is useless and needs to be replaced.
It has never truly changed students’ behavior, and it never will, as we cannot make a change by being passive. Instead, we should take responsibility for ourselves, the educational system, and the community and start acting.
Schools should consider adopting a newer, holistic approach to deal with behavior issues, and it will surely provide better results.