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This house Would reintroduce Corporal Punishment in Schools
This house Would reintroduce Corporal Punishment in Schools
Corporal punishment is a physical punishment in which pain is deliberately inflicted on a perpetrator of a wrong in order to exact retribution and to deter similar behavior in future. An accepted form of discipline through the ages, it has been upheld by all the Abrahamic religions, and has been practiced in some form in almost every human civilization. Corporal punishment was for a long time considered an appropriate method for disciplining children in schools. The birch rod was once a fixture of the schoolhouse. In the latter half of the 20th century, however, a growing number of states have outlawed the use of corporal punishment, particularly in schools. Corporal punishment in schools is now illegal in all European countries, except for France and Czech Republic. Corporal punishment is practiced in schools across the world, including 20 states of the USA. Proponents of corporal punishment need to demonstrate the effectiveness of the method as a tool of discipline. Opponents on the other hand highlight the costs both physical and mental inherent in the punishment.
The kind of punishment used can vary considerably both in terms of the severity and were is being hit with what as well as in what context. A traditional case is the implementation of a "school disciplinarian" who performs the actual punishment so as to avoid excesses or misapplications by individual teachers not versed in such methods. Likewise, having a separate disciplinarian means teachers too physically weak or timid to mete out the punishment themselves, have recourse to an external arbiter that does not look like an abrogation of responsibility, and thus weakness, in the eyes of the class1. Strict regulation of the extent of acceptable punishment is also important to consider when proposing such a disciplinary regime.
1Bloom, Scott. 1995. “Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child? A Legal Framework for Recent Corporal Punishment Proposals”. Golden Gate University Law Review
|Points For||Points Against|
|Discipline is more important than enjoyment in the classroom||Prohibiting corporal punishment in school (and at home) has been demonstrated to reduce rates of abuse|
|The threat and capacity for violence is essential for efficient conflict resolution||The physical and psychological harms of corporal punishment are long-lasting and outweigh any benefits|
|Keeping the few unruly children in line makes learning possible for the majority of students||The threat and use of force undermines the benevolent nature of the student-teacher relationship|
|Engendering respect for authority at an early age is essential for individuals to engage successfully in society:||It serves as an excuse for lazy teachers to not engage with potentially troubled students|
Remember to choose a winning argument!
Discipline is more important than enjoyment in the classroom
Teachers are there to help children learn, not to be their friends. While teachers can maintain a convivial atmosphere in the classroom, having access to corporal punishment is simply an extra weapon in the arsenal of learning tools available to teachers, giving them greater control over the classroom and their students, an essential part of the teaching environment1. When the teacher does not control the classroom, teaching is difficult, or impossible. Studies show that teachers, parents, and most students agree that discipline is an essential part of classroom order2. In a Gallup poll in 2002 76% of the public thought that discipline in US Schools was a very or somewhat serious problem.3 If the teacher is busy dealing with unruly children, and thus forced to divert from the lesson plan, there is less time to devote to actually teaching the students who want to learn. For the sake of students' futures they must be brought to heal, by the threat and application of force when necessary.
1 BBC News. 2000. "Should Corporal Punishment Return to the Classroom?".
2 Bowen, Sherry. 2010. "Discipline in Schools: What Works and What Doesn't".a href=" a href="EduGuide.
3 Gallup, Alec M., Rose, Lowell C., 2002, "The 34th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll Of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools", Gallup,
Discipline is not to be lauded at all times over enjoyment in the classroom. Children's minds must be treated with great care and the teacher must earn the respect of his students through capable teaching, not just the threat of force. Students who fear the lash will be less likely to develop to their full academic potential, for fear that "showing up" the teacher might result in punishment. In order to grow and push mental boundaries, students must feel free and safe to ask difficult questions. Corporal punishment creates a confrontational relationship between student and teacher, in which such mental development is hampered.Improve this
The threat and capacity for violence is essential for efficient conflict resolution
In terms of conflict resolution, without access to corporal punishment, the teacher-student relationship is at an imperfect equilibrium in the context of Game Theory1. In this scenario, the two players, the teacher and the student, have a set of options. The teacher, when making a threat, can either follow through on the threat and enact corporal punishment, or he can not do so. The student can either consider the threat to be credible and will thus modify his behaviour in accordance with the teacher's demands, or he can determine the threat to be non-credible and thus "call his bluff". Without the ability to follow through on the threat, an imperfect equilibrium is reached in which the teacher's bluff is called and his authority undermined. With the ability to make good on the threat, however, the teacher can either effectively intimidate potential miscreants or deliver on the promise of punishment. This produces an efficient equilibrium in which the teacher has greater control over the class. To take an example from international relations, the relations between the United States and Israel can be analyzed in this way2. Currently, when Israel makes a decision to expand settlement building in Palestinian territory the United States threatens a withdrawal of certain supports. Israel can either call their bluff or fold. Currently, because Israel does not consider the United States' threats to be credible, it persists in its operations unabated. Thus this situation is an imperfect equilibrium. Were the United States to actually make good on its threats, Israel would be forced to suffer the punishment if they persist in their activities, incentivizing them instead to be cooperative. From the international stage to the classroom, conflict resolution plays out in much the same way.
1 Myerson, Roger. 1997. Game Theory: Analysis of Conflict. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
2 Gates, Jeff. 2009. "How Israel Wages Game Theory Warfare". Foreign Policy Journal.
Simple conflict analysis may be able to explain some facets of classroom life, but it is a gross oversimplification of the dynamics of a real-life school. There are many factors driving student interactions with teachers, from problems at home to internal popularity contests between students. Corporal punishment creates serious psychological harms that are not accounted for effectively under a conflict resolution model.Improve this
Keeping the few unruly children in line makes learning possible for the majority of students
It is often the case in classroom environments that the vast majority of students are eager, to various extents, to learn. Disruption almost always originates with one or a few students who act up for attention or to cause problems. Corporal punishment deals effectively with these unruly individuals who make learning more difficult and school time less productive for the rest of the class. Without effective disciplinary mechanisms, these troublemakers impose costs on all of their classmates. By introducing corporal punishment, troublesome students are forced to internalize the costs, disincentivizing similar behavior in future1. It is deeply unfair to the rest of the class that the teacher's time and effort be sapped by dealing with uncooperative students at the expense of more interested classmates. Application of corporal punishment demonstrates a dedication to the right to education, which should not be disrupted by unruly individuals seeking to undermine the authority of the teacher.
1 BBC News. 2000. "Should Corporal Punishment Return to the Classroom?".
Targeting troublemakers will likely not stop their bad behavior. Proponents of corporal punishment do not show proper regard for the reasons behind students' acting out. Often class clowns and troublemakers come from unstable or abusive homes where violence is already employed, often with greater liberality than would be considered acceptable in schools. Thus employing further violence in the form of corporal punishment will do little to modify the behavior of these students and will likely turn them away from seeking the help of teachers, who might otherwise have been approached regarding problems at home.Improve this
Engendering respect for authority at an early age is essential for individuals to engage successfully in society:
Generating a natural respect for authority is a necessary priority of the state, and thus of education whose purpose is to prepare young people to be effective members of the state1. To do this it is necessary to maintain the threat of, and to have the capacity to make recourse to, corporal punishment. There is nothing wrong with students having a bit of fear with regard to teachers, just as it is right to have a healthy fear of the state, insofar as transgressions of the law will be met by serious repercussions. Coddling children and limiting the level of punishments that can be leveled against them too strictly does not prepare them for the real world in which infractions of the law have serious consequences. It is this lack of respect that is often blamed for increasing crime, Estelle Morris, then UK Education Secretary in 2002 blamed a "cycle of disrespect" between schools and home that leads to crime.2 The existence of scholastic corporal punishment hammers this reality home at an early age and better acclimates children for their future as adult members of society.
1 Bloom, Scott. 1995. "Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child? A Legal Framework for Recent Corporal Punishment Proposals". Golden Gate University Law Review.
2 BBC News, 2002, "Bad parenting 'causes child crime'",
The learning environment is most beneficial to students when they feel safe in it. When students are forced to keep up their guard and to fear the pain of discipline, they become less forthcoming in the classroom and are less likely to develop the life-long love of learning the holistic system of primary and secondary education employed in North America and Europe seek to engender 1. Additionally, students will internalize the painful experience of the classroom, which will bleed into their interaction with the state in the future, resulting in more confrontational attitudes toward the state and its institutions.
1. Clark, 2011Improve this
Prohibiting corporal punishment in school (and at home) has been demonstrated to reduce rates of abuse
When corporal punishment is considered acceptable in school, it has a tendency to become an accepted practice in the home. Parents seeking to discipline their children may resort to violence, an outcome made more likely if those parents were educated in a school system that condoned physical punishment for misbehaviour1. For example, in Sweden, since it banned corporal punishment in schools in 1979, the percentage of parents supporting corporal punishment in the home fell from over 50% to 11% and domestic abuse rates have likewise fallen2. When corporal punishment is banned in both school and the home, parents and teachers are forced to devise alternative punishments that do not involve potentially abusive physical discipline. Such punishments, like detention and reduction of allowance money, can be just as, if not more, effective than corporal punishment while avoiding all of its potential side effects. Furthermore, when physical discipline is not considered a socially acceptable means of punishment, abuse rates tend to fall, as individuals become less prone to resorting to physical castigation.
1: Green, Frederick. 1988. "Corporal Punishment and Child Abuse". Project No Spank.
2 Durrant, Joan. 1996. "The Swedish Ban on Corporal Punishment: Its History and Effects". Project No Spank.
Abuse is a separate problem from corporal punishment. Careful regulation of its implementation should prove able to prevent bleeding of corporal punishment into the home, or to cross the line into outright abuse. Responsible adults should be perfectly capable of assessing that line effectively. Teachers are usually caring and attentive professionals who would never seek to abuse children. Corporal punishment is simply a useful tool in maintaining order in the classroom.Improve this
The physical and psychological harms of corporal punishment are long-lasting and outweigh any benefits
Being hit, even in a controlled environment, is a jarring experience, particularly for young children. Even if it were effective in reducing anti-social and disruptive behavior, the negative effects of corporal punishment outweigh the benefit1. Physically being struck is painful and unsettling. Bruises and welts represent painful reminders of punishments that a student might well feel to be unjust. The lasting pain thus makes corporal punishment a much more serious cause of resentment than do less physically taxing punishments as detentions. Furthermore, the psychological harms of such punishment can be long lasting, creating in some children resentment toward authority generally. Worse, it can create resentment and negative psychic impressions of school, and thus education generally, further weakening the ability of the school and the teacher to impart knowledge
.1 American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on School Health. 1984. "Corporal Punishment in Schools". Pediatrics 73(2): 258.
Mentally, children are of tougher stock than some give them credit for. They will not break after a short bout of corporal punishment, and they will hardly need therapy. Rather, the punishment will serve its purpose: enforcing discipline and disincentivizing future misbehavior. A lengthy detention or extra homework could well breed just as much resentment as corporal punishment. The physical reminders of corporal punishment, however, is a more lasting deterrent to recidivism and misbehavior due to the imprint that lasts for at least a short while after the act of discipline takes place1.
1 Chmelynski, Carol. 1995. "Is paddling on its way back?". National School Boards Association.
The threat and use of force undermines the benevolent nature of the student-teacher relationship
Students need to feel safe in the classroom to develop as individuals and to fully appreciate the educational experience. Children work best when they feel secure and engaged in an environment that offers positive reinforcement for success, rather than negative reinforcement for failure1. There is a necessary give and take in the classroom, but this is hampered when children are afraid of their teachers or dislike them because of past painful experience. This fear and dislike translates into less effective teaching as students are less eager to share answers, question the effectiveness of teaching methods, or other academic problems. Furthermore, students will not feel safe in taking teachers into their confidence regarding non-academic issues like bullying, or even domestic abuse. More likely, students will associate teachers with the same sort of violence they suffer at the hands of bullies and abusive family members. Clearly, students will be able to interact more successfully with teachers in the absence of the threat of violence.
1 Clark, Edward. 2011. "Creating a Context for Learning and Teaching". Encounter 24(1).
Children work best in a structured environment. There is nothing wrong with teachers trying to get to know and understand their students; after all the best teaching is done doing so. The problem is when discipline fails and the structure is lost. Teachers require a mechanism by which to assert the authority of the school over the students, and sometimes, corporal punishment can be the most effective instrument. Corporal punishment should by no means be the primary disciplinary tool, but is a tool to be used in extremis. As to reporting on bullying and abuse, students are smart enough to recognize the difference between structured, organized corporal punishment and outright abuse. Furthermore, some tough love on the part of teachers will not, generally speaking, undermine a student's ability to talk to them if they are in trouble.Improve this
It serves as an excuse for lazy teachers to not engage with potentially troubled students
Corporal punishment offers any easy way out for teachers. Rather than trying to engage with disruptive children in order to find out the cause of their misbehavior, they can send them on to be physically punished so that hopefully they will not speak up as much in class. This serves only to mask the underlying problem in many instances. Often the students who act out most in class suffer from domestic abuse, or are from unstable households 1. These students are the most vulnerable in the classroom, and corporal punishment does nothing to help them, but rather serves only to compound the problem further. Teachers will often take the easy solution, so that when given the option of passing troubled students on for more stringent discipline, they let down in the greatest need of help. This is played out in the United States, where in states that allow corporal punishment test scores tend to be lower. 36% of states that allow corporal punishment have a state composite score average above the national mean; compared to 89% of those where it is banned scoring above the mean.2 This has been attributed to lack of attempted engagement by teachers with students, who instead choose the violent, confrontational salve of corporal punishment over more constructive engagement. Clearly, corporal punishment does nothing but encourage teachers to take the path that is easy for them at the expense of their students' wellbeing.
1 Newsweek. "The Principal and the Paddle".
2 Stophitting, "Facts vs. Opinion: School Corporal Punishment". accessed 20/6/11
Teachers are far from lazy or stupid. Most people who enter the profession do so because they genuinely want to teach and guide young people. They will not simply ignore the trouble signs of certain students, but will address issues on a case-by-case basis as they do with most forms of classroom punishment already. Often unruly students are not from broken homes, but homes that are too lax in discipline. A sterner school that offers more severe punishment for misbehavior can serve as a necessary corrective for such childrenImprove this
Proposition:BBC News. 2000. "Should Corporal Punishment Return to the Classroom?"BBC News, 2002, "Bad parenting 'causes child crime'"Bloom, Scott. 1995. "Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child? A Legal Framework for Recent Corporal Punishment Proposals". Golden Gate University Law Review.Bowen, Sherry. 2010. "Discipline in Schools: What Works and What Doesn't".EduGuide.Clark, Edward. 2011. "Creating a Context for Learning and Teaching". Encounter 24(1)Gallup, Alec M., Rose, Lowell C., 2002, "The 34th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll Of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools", GallupGates, Jeff. 2009. "How Israel Wages Game Theory Warfare". Foreign Policy Journal.br>Myerson, Roger. 1997. Game Theory: Analysis of Conflict. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Opposition:American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on School Health. 1984. "Corporala href=" a href="Punishment in Schools". Pediatrics 73(2): 258.Chmelynski, Carol. 1995. "Is paddling on its way back?". National Schoola href=" a href="Boards Association.Clark, Edward. 2011. "Creating a Context for Learning and Teaching". Encounter 24(1).Durrant, Joan. 1996. "The Swedish Ban on Corporal Punishment: Its History anda href=" a href="Effects". Project No Spank.a href=" Green, Frederick. 1988. "Corporal Punishment and Child Abuse". Project No Spank.a href="Newsweek. "The Principal and the Paddle".Stophitting, "Facts vs. Opinion: School Corporal Punishment".
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