Dealing with children is always a difficult task, especially when they have behavior disorders. What is most surprising is that problematic behaviors are mostly exhibited by them during the classes, where they are either influenced by a number of other students observing their pranks or are simply trying to disrupt the class. Either of these being the reason, it is getting more and more complicated for educators to establish discipline in class because most modern children do not react to the mere raising of their voice.
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The majority of educators at the United States schools have recently started using time-out rooms as one of the ways to calm down the troublemakers. There exists an idea that time-out rooms are essential to the smooth running of any special education program. This is hard to argue with this idea, but only under the condition that the room is properly designed, safe, and is not abused by the educators; this should be a place where a child would learn to manage their behavior in a way that would be beneficial even for parents.
To begin with, time-out rooms should be indeed used by the educators as a means of calming down the students who misbehave. This, however, should not spread over the students who failed to do their homework or cannot understand the subject of the class, for this is often the case that educators punish the students for this.
The time out room should be used only when the atmosphere in the class is uncontrollable because of the misconduct of one or two students who are too loud, who display their disrespect to the instructor, or who start fighting or quarreling; all other instances can be dealt with in other ways. Around three decades ago, time-out rooms were also used in schools, and their initial function was to leave the child in silence, freeing them from the outside stimulants. This is the only function a time-out room should have, and only then will it help to bring positive behavior changes in students.
Apart from being absolutely safe, a time-out room should be designed in a way that would not make the child feel punished or segregated. Instead, the student should treat it as a place where they can focus on the reasons for the misconduct. Sometimes the reason does not lie on the surface. Most educators make children compile plans of their future behavior. It is one of the alternatives, though a simple drawing may sometimes be more effective.
A drawing is like an essay for a psychologist who, if present at school, can find out the reasons for the child’s misconduct. Moreover, it is more likely to calm down the child. In general, the room should have a reinforced window from which an observer can watch the child, and the fixtures should be high above; there should also be no plugs and electrical outlets. (Rainwater, 2005) Most of the educators ask the students to pull everything out from their pockets for the child not to hurt themself in case of an emotional crisis. It seems, however, that the primary task of the educator is not to let this crisis begin.
Lastly, a time-out room should change the child’s behavior not only at school but at home as well. This will help to handle all the possible conflicts with parents who often object to their children’s exposure to time-spending in this room. To prevent any possible incidents, the child, while in the time-out room, should be watched over incessantly, and the room should not be locked in any way. In case of offering a child to draw or to compile a plan, somebody should stay with them in the room.
If the child is a regular visitor of the room, then the reasons for the misbehavior should be carefully explored and discussed with parents because the cause may be in family relations. To avoid conflicts with parents, they should be notified about their child’s placing into the room and the reasons for doing that. In addition, permission for placing the child into the time-out room in case of misbehavior should be obtained from the parents at the beginning of every school year.
In sum, time-out rooms can be helpful in the course of the education program, but only when they are properly used and designed in a safe way. At this, the parents should always know when their child is placed in the time-out room. Spending time in this room should not be a punishment but a therapy that would help a child understand the reasons for their misconduct. One of the ways to do this is to offer the child to draw and then to analyze the drawing from a psychological perspective.
Violent punishment and simply locking the child in the time-out room will never mend their behavior. Tolerance and understanding, in their turn, will help to create a favorable atmosphere in the classroom and bring positive changes to a child’s behavior at home.
Rainwater, D. (2005). How to Manage a Behavior Classroom: The Beginner’s Guide to Teaching the Emotionally Disabled and the Oppositional Defiant Child. Wyoming: Don and Kellie Rainwater.