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“Let's reintroduce corporal punishment in the schools - and use it on the teachers.”

  • -

    P. J. O’Rourke (satirist)

“If we are to reach real peace in the world, we shall have to begin with children.”

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    Gandhi

Use the carrot, not the stick: a view on corporal punishment

Mike Brandon 2009

Class management and discipline are the cornerstones of successful teaching delivery, and the need to achieve an effective discipline programme makes debates around method and technique commonplace in the teaching world. A poorly managed class is likely to fall foul of poor discipline and as a result an undisciplined mind cannot function successfully in the role of a student. There are many approaches to achieving class discipline, but the most contentious of all is the use of corporal punishment, an issue which can ignite passionate arguments in both the pro-use and anti-use camps. This essay intends to adopt the standpoint that corporal punishment is an ineffective technique of achieving discipline in the classroom, and undermines the need to respect and develop students as young adults.

In order to offer a viewpoint on corporal punishment, a definition must be sought. The following quotations aim to offer a range of common definitions, first from an academic journal, the second the Encyclopaedia Britannica and the third from notes on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from the United Nations;

“Corporal punishment refers to intentional application of physical pain as a method of changing behavior. It includes a

wide variety of methods such as hitting, slapping, punching, kicking, pinching, shaking, choking, use of various objects

(wooden paddles, belts, sticks, pins, or others), painful body postures, use of electric shock, use of excessive exercise

drills, or prevention of urine or stool elimination.”1

the infliction of physical pain upon a person’s body as punishment for a crime or infraction. Corporal punishments

include flogging, beating, branding, mutilation, blinding, and the use of the stock and pillory. In a broad sense, the term

also denotes the physical disciplining of children in the schools and at home.”2

“Cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment include such practices as corporal punishment. . .

3

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