Last night, while having dinner with the folks, they told me what a friend of theirs faced when he was given detention. He was given a difficult problem and told detention would end when he found the correct answer. Now we agreed the problem he said he was given, calculate 17 to the 17th power or some such was unrealistically difficult and he has been known to exaggerate when telling stories. This also would have been 40 or 50 years ago. Still, it struck me as a better and more productive approach to detention than merely having kids sit in a room for x number of hours.
Let me throw out some disclaimers. First, I don’t have kids and I’m not involved with the school board, so I have almost no realistic say in such matters. Second, I never got detention when I was a kid. Third, I’m a nerd who get bored easily. Being given a problem to solve would be much more fun than sitting and doing nothing.
With that out of the way, giving a child a problem to solve or a task to accomplish and telling him that detention will end when he finishes seems to be a reasonable approach to me. I’m assuming the problem is appropriate to the child’s age and abilities and that the child has access to the resources to solve the problem. It would require more work on the school’s and teachers’ parts, though.
What do you think?