St Aloysius students punching out anger
St Aloysius Primary School in Kingston is using a new strategy to help students with emotional issues, and according to guidance counsellor Tracyann Taffe-Thompson, it has been making a difference.
Taffe-Thompson has been offering students the option of using a punching bag as part of a programme of therapy that complements regular counselling.
“We ask them how they feel and if they want to talk or if they want to do something physical, so we say here is the bag and here are the gloves. Some of them just want to talk, so they sit and talk. Some don’t want to talk, but by the time they are finished punching, they are ready to talk,” said Taffe-Thompson.
She cited one male student in particular who was relieved after just one session.
“He was just angry,” said Taffe-Thompson.
Taffe-Thompson explained that the boy thought teachers were being unfair in issuing certain instructions, and as a result, he would resist them.
But according to the guidance counsellor, there was a smile on his face after he did the punching therapy.
“We know that the mind has to be at a relaxed place in order to process information, so when giving him correct information, he can’t receive it, because his mind is already clouded,” she explained.
In the meantime, Taffe-Thompson continues to champion the call for a fully functional therapeutic centre at St Aloysius, located in the tough inner city of Kingston where social services are inadequate and there are often violent incidents.
The school has acquired a small container and has started retrofitting it, but requires more space.
“It is my belief that every school in the inner city should have a therapeutic centre, with punching bags,” said Taffe-Thompson.
She said the centres should be large enough to fit eight to 15 students at a time; should be carpeted in the event that children want to sit on the floor; and classrooms should be cool.