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Use the carrot, not the stick: a view on corporal punishment - page 5 / 7





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exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the

care of the child."

The use of corporal punishment violates this convention and given that this is legally bindingii, the conclusion is that corporal punishment is accepted as being internationally illegal. It can therefore be stated that corporal punishment is incompatible with modern convention and should be confined to history.

Corporal punishment is an ineffective and detrimental punishment method that not only undermines the development of a child but can lead to long-lasting psychological effects. It reinforces bad behaviour and introduces the use of violence as a constructive tool for young developing minds. Furthermore it is an inconsistent and disruptive method of discipline, that reflects the vulnerabilities of the teacher rather than highlighting the delinquencies of the child. Corporal punishment does create a positive or constructive relationship between the teacher and the students. Effective and consistent discipline plans, one to one interaction and teaching performance are much more effective methods, not only of teaching delivery, but also class management. Creating an atmosphere of fear is in contrast to the teaching mission of developing young minds to be active and objective and strips students of their right to a free and fair education not only for themselves but also for other teachers whose positive and effective class management can be undermined by teachers who resort to violence, effectively meaning if corporal punishment is on offer as a technique, it may well be the only one students respond too. By definition corporal punishment does not mean the prevention of physical intervention or light physical methods being implemented, however the use of physical force to exact a behavioural reaction is an unacceptable and unjust method of discipline. We must offer incentives for students to learn, and thus must be self-respect and confidence, we must offers students a carrot, not a stick.

“Cane our students? We don’t even shout at them! We treat all our students with respect”21

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    John Murphy (School Principal)


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