School is an institution for educating and nurturing the development of students. It’s known as their second home and one of the safest places for them to gain knowledge and wisdom thru their educational practises. However, for years, schools around the world have being practising corporal punishments as a tool for providing education discipline among students. Only recent years, countries such as Norway, Denmark , Sweden, Britain and Finland have banned corporal punishment in school , since it reflect as a source of violence in the school ( Larzelere ,1999 : 15-16). These countries develop and approach new methods to curb disciplinary issues among their students which never violate any child’s rights .In Malaysia, corporal punishment is still being practise in the schools as an informal disciplinary tool by the teachers in order to improve students’ academic performance and disciplinary violations. An interview session was carried among twenty teachers from a primary school in Penang island to observe and understand these teachers’ perception on corporal punishment , alternative methods of discipline which few of them practising and the advantages of due process towards them and students . Both the observations and the interviews proved that children’s rights were abused.
In school, discipline culture among students is the top concern that very educators look into and deal it very seriously as it’s vital to maintain order, facilitate learning process and create school as place of peaceful learning environment. There for, most famous and easiest method for disciplining a child which being used for years by teachers are corporal punishment. Corporal punishment can be specify as “The use of physical force intended to cause pain, but not causing injury to that particular child, it’s for the purpose of correcting or controlling that child’s behaviour” (Straus and Donnelly , 2005 :3-7) .This view further defined by Gershoff (2002) ,which states corporal punishment are ; actions, which do not result in extremely physical injury, however actions that causes severe injury (e.g., punching, kicking, burning) are considered physical abuse (Gershoff, 2002: 539 – 579).The harshness of corporal punishment are differently represent and measured and these differ according to culture ,nation and situation.
Nowadays, many educationist and child welfare organizations are opposing the use of corporal punishment in education system because all the harsh methods practise by teachers to enforce discipline in the students will only create anti social behaviour, reduce self esteem and depressed mood, academic failure and violent acts inside and outside the school. It has been further elucidate that incoherent and overuse of punishment in strident and unskilled ways can have very insufferable , threatening and long lasting effects on the children who may maturate negative personality habits such as disfavour the punishing person by fostering strong fears and anxieties , difficulty with learning, learning to escape and avoid people, places and things associated with stern punishment which develop aggression and they also tend to imitate the methods of punishment towards other person. Hence, alternative methods have been introduce to curb discipline problem among students and these approaches mainly uses psychology aspect without injuring the child physically or mentally. Problem statement
In Malaysia, it is common students experience corporal punishment in school such as slapping ,hitting on head using exercise book ,ear pulling and twisting , pinching on the arms and stomach , assaulting , pushing and pulling and hitting with ruler . Most of the teachers, agree that it is necessary to physically punish student s in order to show them the seriousness of their misbehaviour as well as to demonstrate that they must change their attitude.However,these teachers never realise their methods of disciplining have serious impact on the child’s personality development and academic performance in years to come. Even though, each school as meted out due process which a teacher can use to solve discipline problem among students but she or he prefer to carry out their own punishment by think their way is more efficient and effective and less time consuming plus procedure to be oblige. ,This case study is an attempt to investigate the understanding and perception of Malaysian teachers towards corporal punishment and their abilities to use non violence method to solve discipline problem among their respective students.
* To explore and deternine teachers’ perception on corporal punishment * To identify various impact of using alternative method of discipline (AMD) on students’ behaviour * To determine the advantages of practising due process in schools. Hypotheses
* The students ‘ personality development and academic performance have strong connection with corporal punishment. * There is strong association between AMD approach towards students’ behaviour and performance. Limitation of study.
* This study was only conducted in one particular primary school involving 20 teachers and the data collected t have very similar feedback as these teachers tend to discuss and express the same opinion and they prefer to be interviewed in a large group. * The another factor that limit this study is time constraint, which unable to explore and measure the benefit or advantages of AMD and due process as well as to observe and examine students whom have experience corporal punishment.
This chapter provides an overview of the case study where it shows the disadvantages and effects of practising corporal punishment as well as the advantages of using AMD towards pupils in order to discipline them and protect their rights. It also focuses on the benefits of implementing and using due process especially when punishments are carried out where it safe guard and protect the teacher from being accused of abusing the child intentionally. Through this review of the research topic, there are several points of view from other experts regarding this study. This will enable readers to capture a clearer picture of this case study. Basically, using non violence approaches are the best medicine to nurture a child even though he or she might come from a broken family background .Moreover , parents too must play their vital role efficiently since they are the child ‘s first teacher and role model. Theory and Model
a) Retributivist Theory
A retributivist theory of punishment explains those people who have committed a crime need to be punished .However; it can never verify the punishment of an innocent person and advocate the use of forgiveness nor pardons without punishment. In fact, retributivism may be understood as every offender who deserve punishment must be punished and the punishment must fit the crime but cannot be less or excessive and serious crime requires more severe punishments. In fact, the values of this offence acquire solely from the offender’s own act but not derive from elsewhere. This theory can be recognise as a very straightforward theory of punishment which uphold to their principal by clamming that punishment are carried because and only because offender deserve it , in order to re-establish peace and harmony in surrounding environment. Unfortunately , this theory cannot be implement in school since it involve some practical and ethical issues in schools pertaining to types of punishments to be carried out which will differ among teachers and also every teacher will have different opinion on the seriousness of an offence.
b) Deterrence Theory
This theory of punishment can be found to the early works of classical philosophers such as Cesare Beccaria (1738–1794), Thomas Hobbes (1588–1678) and Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832). There are two types of deterrence; general deterrence is established to avoid crime in the society. Hence, the punishment for offenders set out as an example for others in the society who haven’t yet committed in criminal activities. The purpose of these punishments is to make them realise the outcome and pain which they need to endure for committing crimes, as an example, if a student is caught for stealing other pupil’s money, she or he will be cane in publicly during the main assembly, in front of the students and teachers. It’s mainly designed to daunt those who witness the suffering of pains which offenders receive because of committing crimes. Specific deterrence is designed to prohibit only the individual offender from committing that same offence again in the future. The theorists of specific deterrence believe by punishing offenders severely will only cause them to reoffend again in the future but also gives negative impact on the student’s personality development and academic performance.
c) Utilitarianism Theory
Jeremy Bentham writes “All punishment is mischief: all punishment in itself is evil” and “if it ought at all to be admitted, it ought to be admitted in as far as it promises to exclude some greater evil,” .The utilitarian always finds for ways to deter mischief and offensive behaviour by students, through a solution or approach which never causes pain or suffering to that students but to make them realise by having feelings of guilt and shame for their own misbehaviour. In the utilitarian theory, punishment is justified if it produces good consequences and prevents harmful outcomes. Therefore, the most important components in this theory are deterrence and rehabilitation. They are most effective attempts to straighten up the discipline problems among students. It’s to deter and rehabilitate the offender from further offences and also to prevent other students committing same crime
Relevant Research Findings.
a) Causes of discipline problem
In any society ,which do not practise or have discipline, won’t progress, so same goes for undisciplined school which bound to fail. This is because discipline helps to organize teachers and students orderliness, which in return, it creates conducive and effective teaching and learning environment.
There are few factors that contribute to discipline problem among school students and one of it is “Teachers”. The teacher’s personality has a huge influence and impact upon the learners which can divide to two aspects – the teacher’s scholastic qualifications and personal characteristics (Gregory &Weinstein, 2008; Vavrus & Cole, 2002). The teacher’s physical characteristics such as mannerisms, health, personal appearance, poise, well-modulated voice and habits of neatness and cleanliness can reflect the particular teacher’s attitude In other words, a mentally and emotionally stable and healthy teacher can enrich or contribute towards the development of students intellectually and emotionally. If the teacher is suffering from chronic diseases, he or she might often be late to class or even often absent to school. In fact, if the teacher’s scholastic qualification isn’t well qualified, he or she may have to face obstacles because students are keen observers and they can judge and know whether he or she are well prepare for the lesson or not or even are they knowledgeable. Even, teacher’s command and proficiency of the language can also be the source of problems while the lesson is going on.
When the moment teacher mispronounced or stammers, students begin to be restless and unruly, hence some of the trouble maker may start to imitate teacher or ignore the lesson such disturbing other students, playing some game or even fall to sleep. The second factor is the “ Student “ himself. It is vital for that every teacher to understands and analyses the different characteristics and nature of the children. They must be able to recognize and distinguish who demonstrates poor study habits and attitudes and behaviour problems. There are many factors involve intellectual, social, physical and moral dimensions. Learners may have difficulty in hearing, cripple, poor visions or hunch back. These physical handicaps can also cause disciplinary problems in the class. Learners who often are sick also can be restless and irritable .Learner with emotional immaturity, , lack of interest in school activities, poor mental health, irresponsibility, poor home environment and unreasonably obstinate or stubborn are typical causes of disciplinary problems such as stealing, cheating, habitual truancy, vandalism, lying, cheating, discourtesy or disrespect to school rules and regulations and other undesirable behaviour may be the outcome of poor social training and home environment . School environment is the third factor that contributes to discipline problems.
It’s very important to create healthy, clean and beautiful school environment in order to have conducive environment to learn. Classrooms that are properly ventilated and lighted can promote and encourage the students to study. Conditions such as poor and inadequate facilities, old, torn and obsolete textbooks, dirty and sandy classrooms and obsolete learning devices can contribute to behavioural problems. In fact, if the school policies and regulations are not followed and observed, there is higher tendency that students will develop undesirable attitudes and habits. As result, students tend to be careless about obeying the school policies and regulations. Lastly parents too play an important role on this matter since they are first teacher to their child.
When a child is born to this world, every single moments the child is absorbing information, hence parents should nurture their child with warmth and affection and at the same time they must teach assist the child in developing character traits such as respectfulness, honesty, self control, competency and self esteem. However, parents who fail to do so due to some circumstances such as instability of marriage, poverty or involve in drugs will have negative impact on the child development. They tend pick negative habitats which eventually led them to deviant behaviour ( Edwards, 2004 ; Wright & Kate , 2003). Parents who put afford in monitoring the child development with warm and affectionately and also portrait good examples to them during their early years, the child tend to grow up and achieve a desired behaviour. But if a child grows in with high levels of marital conflict or parents involve or engage in deviant activities, more likely the child too will poses behavioural problems.
a) Purpose of Corporal Punishment
Majority of the teachers agreed the main purpose of corporal punishment was to restrain and to correct the wrong behaviours of the students. They even admit it is improper to carry out corporal punishment to those whom did not perform well in their studies and if the teachers should carry out corporal punishment to them, it would more likely cause pain and, what’s worse to predict, these students will lose their motivation of learning and dignity, in other words they are unwilling to study. b) Effects of Corporal Punishments
i) Students’s Academic Performance / Career
Practising harsh physical punishments do not improve students’ academic performance nor behaviour .It’s only a destructive weapon which create unconducive educational environments.According to Mr Amir Murtaza ( Ashoka PakistanAsian Human Rights Commision , Pakistan has one of the highest school dropout rates in the region, and corporal punishment is considered as one of the major reasons of children’s decision to leaving schools Corporal punishment is a destructive form of discipline which is ineffective in producing educational environments in which students can thrive. Rather than relying on harsh and threatening disciplinary tactics, schools and teachers should be encouraged to develop positive behavior supports (PBS), which have proven effective in reducing the need for harsh discipline while supporting a safe and productive learning environment.
b) Alternative methods of discipline
Base on the interview session with a group of teachers, here are the list of alternative methods which they suggested and practice daily in classrooms with their students, and have shown some improvements towards the students’ behaviour especially those with disciplinary problems.
i. Recognition and rewards.
Every child for sure will be excited and happy to receive even a small gift from teachers, for them, it is very treasure able and value able. So, teachers can come out with some rules for their students, where every month five students or any numbers of students, who show good example of behaviour in their attitude, school work and with their peers will be rewarded with either gifts or some special recognition and privileges, where their names may be listed on a main bulletin board and every other students can view it ,going first ,extra recess ,helping teachers or choosing a class activity. This will not only make them proud but indirectly motivating and encouraging them to build up desirable behaviour.
ii. Parent reinforcement.
There must be frequent communications with parents of students whose behaviour shows tremendous improvement. The particular parent of a onetime mischief- maker will get a letter of congratulations if the school’s computerized system keeps data of even the most minor offense , which shows that child has uphold good behaviour for a month after a reported wrongdoing.
iii. Parent presence
Commonly, every child does not like the presence of their parents in their school. They totally dislike the idea of their parents watching them for every single movements , which make them feel uneasy and shy among their friends who might be teasing them .So , school authority can invite parents of mischief makers to come to school to monitor their child for a set period of time Indirectly , the school authority want the parents to know better and see for themselves their child’s behaviour and try to give helping hand with school authority to discipline their child iv. Community service
All the misbehaving students are compulsory to provide services to the school .These services can be suggested by them or the school authority. As an example, she or he must clean up a number of desks in the classroom since for scribbling on own desk, sweeping the canteen area after recess time for bullying other students or being rude towards teachers. Most of these students don’t like to do community service in front of their friends because they feel ashamed and insecure that their friends will keep away from them.
There must be cause or reason why a child misbehaves .Only through few counselling session, the teacher can find the root cause of this matter. Base on the findings, she or he come out with solutions and procedures to help this child solve his or her dilemmas first and then , try to develop character traits such as self control, respectfulness , integrity, honesty and competency. vi. Write out
The respective student who is caught for wrongdoing must think through his or hers actions and then write how they should have tried to resolved or avoided this problem. After that, he or she must come out with own plan or solutions for themselves to improve their behaviour
c) Due process
The most important tools which schools must provide to ensure safety is the student disciplinary code, which are sets of rules and regulations for students to acknowledge and list of penalties for violating the code. Students’ discipline problems come in different forms, from vandalism, stealing, gang fights, truancy, bullying and many more. Most of the times, teachers do agree that conventional method are taken to solve these problems such as time out or isolation , denial of participation in school activities, detention, alternative education programs in or outside the student’s school and verbal reprimand .Seldom they go through due process to carry out punishments. According to these teachers, it takes long procedure and time consuming, if only discipline case is very serious and involve enforcement authority, then they will use due process method because they don’t want to be criticize by higher authorities and public since it involves the child’s rights and also to safe guard the teacher who has taken the action against that particular student.
Even though corporal punishment is a fact of life for every child, it is actually violating the child’s rights. When it is legally wrong to strike an adult, how could we strike a child then? In my point of view, corporal punishment only bring more damages towards any child ,where there is deep effect on their personal development and academic performances , when every child has the right to be treated with dignity and lovingly. So, schools should be a place of child – friendly, safe and promote rights based curricula then only students will be able to learn in free non violence environment and also able to absorb non violent behaviours. In order to achieve such teaching environment, every educator should adapt and adopt non violent teaching strategies which gives importance’s to positive reinforcement, clear guidance and instruction, firm but fair treatment and constructive criticism. Students also must play their role, they should know the reason for corporal punishment and the efforts teachers put to teach them right things and proper attitude, which are very important for their life and future. When everyone plays their role accordingly, we can abolish corporal punishment and create non violence teaching environment.