How Effective Are School Intervention Programs?

Education is said to be a great equalizer, this is where opportunities are given to each student to learn and to become competent in the different skills that will help them become positive movers in society. In as much as schools are venues for growth, development and progress, it can also be a very difficult place as it is composed of many people each with his or her own uniqueness. It is inevitable that conflict may arise or that bad behavior become an automatic response to authority, structure and rules. Most parents believe that when children go to school they are happy and eager to learn, most of the time however, they try to test boundaries and limits by misbehaving and getting the attention of their classmates and teachers. According to developmental psychology, children often resort to negative behavior when they are struggling with something, may it be their academics, social life, family life and even their own self-esteem. Schools however, see misbehaving as disruptive and hence will negatively impact the learning environment. Since time immemorial, bad behavior in schools has also been dealt with punitively, and often school intervention programs or sanctions are in the form of detention or suspension from the school.

What Are After School Intervention Programs?

Every school has a policy to deal with the various problem behaviors of students and for the different interests that they have. After school intervention programs generally refer to several programs aimed at addressing the different needs of the students that are beyond their academic requirements. Hence, after school programs may be in sports, in theater, in cheerleading, in dancing and even in learning advanced material or subjects. On the other hand, school intervention programs that is aimed at correcting problem behaviors in school like truancy, fighting, violating school policies, and disrespecting others are just among the few. It is called intervention, since it is supposed to intervene with the behavior or attitude of the student, and to correct it through some form of punishment. This all stems from the notion that positive behavior needs to be rewarded so as to reinforce it, and negative behavior has to be punished so that it will not be repeated again. For such a long time, this paradigm have been taken by those in the academe as the most effective way of correcting behavior. A misconduct or misbehavior is dealt with after school detention while those who violate school policies or who are considered to have grave offenses are suspended from school. Either way, detention and suspensions take the student away from the classroom and hence spends time in or outside of school but they are not actually learning. Although teachers and even school administrators may have doubts about the effectiveness of detention and suspension, they still uphold it as a school policy since even the state laws support it. There really has been no concrete evidence to support the contention that detention and suspension works or is not working at all. Some students might find detention embarrassing and even traumatic that it corrects them right there and then and will never get detention after it, but there are also students who make detention a badge of honor, which they are proud of. For something that is considered the norm or acceptable in all schools in the country, this is one program that have persisted despite having no concrete support of its impact and ability to correct behavior.

What Should School Intervention Programs Be Like?

School intervention programs should be able to effect change, and that change should be in support of the student’s development and growth as a person, and not just as a student. It is a reality that students of varying personalities and intelligences go to school five days a week, and it is a challenge for most teachers and school administrators to keep up with them. However, schools are also a place of learning, of discovery, of exploration, of building relationships, and most importantly of discovering who they are as individuals. School intervention programs should be able to provide opportunities wherein students will be helped rather than punished. For example, a student who seems to be angry all the time is sent to detention almost every day because of this behavior, in detention he or she has to be in a room with a bunch of students who also have behavioral issues and one teacher to oversee them. They have to spend at least an hour in detention, and this is a most unproductive way to spend their time. They just wait for the time to pass, and there is not even a single thought of whether they regretted misbehaving, or even to find out why the student is always angry.

Moreover, getting suspended from school is meted out to students who have committed a grave offense, such as hurting another student, bullying, stealing, cheating in class, and going to class drunk or is in possession of a prohibited substance. When a student is suspended, he or she is not allowed to attend class or even be in the school premises, and such suspension goes into their permanent record. Being suspended is supposed to be a harsh punishment, but no one has ever thought of whether suspension is only reinforcing the bad behavior of the student. The student might think he or she hates going to school and if you do something so bad, you get suspended, and hence no school! It is high time that the educational system rethinks what a school intervention program should be.

Suite 360: The Next Best Thing in Intervention Programs

Suite 360 is an intervention program that schools can use to specifically target students with problem behaviors and to really provide them with activities and homework that can address their specific needs. It is an online program that any student or teacher can access and be able to see the progress of the student in building skills such as anger management, time management, being responsible for one’s actions, building better study habits or even communicating more effectively. This program allows students to work at their own pace and through those series of engaging material learn who they are and figure out why they are misbehaving. Surely, this is a better alternative to detention and suspension.