Why banning corporal punishment is a disaster

I blogged earlier about South Korea banning corporal punishment recently and the sudden upsurge in assaults on teachers and bullying amonst students. According to a teacher, “the troublesome students find the new ban as a godsend.”

Hilariously, the Ministry of Education had to come up with alternatives in January which included doing push-ups and running laps!

The ministry was responding to widespread complaints from teachers that students were running riot since corporal punishment was banned in Seoul in November. Teachers argued that physical punishments were widely considered an effective means of disciplining students in schools.

Under the guidelines, teachers are permitted to discipline students by ordering them to do push-ups, stand in the back of the classroom, or run or walk a few laps around the school playground. Teachers will be permitted to suspend students from school for up to ten days, with a maximum suspension of 30 days a year. Suspended students will receive counseling from education experts. If a student keeps misbehaving after 30 days of suspension, the ministry will allow teachers to summon parents to school for counseling.

Of course, in the past, the misbehaviour would have been dealt with in 5 minutes. Now it can take up to 30 days!! As expected, the liberals immediately criticised the guidelines of press-ups and running laps, saying

The push-ups suggested by the ministry will inflict physical pain on students, and it isn’t allowed by the Seoul Office of Education

The latest report shows that teachers have lost control and say students now have the upper hand

This has led to an increase in disruptions, and students are openly – and unabashedly – questioning and challenging their teachers. In some cases, even top-performing students who had long been the teacher’s pet have been acting up as well, convinced by their fellow classmates to take advantage of the regulation governing student human rights. Teachers say they are literally powerless to stop disruptions and deal with misbehaving students, arguing that the course of action allowed is to make them sit down or talk with them.

Welcome to a typical New Zealand classroom. To our friends in Seoul, it will only get worse!


3 comments for “Why banning corporal punishment is a disaster

  1. Brenda Morgan
    1 March 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Well golly me what a joke, did someone frome New Zealand take this to Sth Korea. I worked in a local college for last year and the teachers were at the mercies of the students. If the teacher was sworn at or verbally abused the student was removed and spoken to and a time out at the end of the day was given. Should a major offence occur the said student was then sent home and a restoritive justice meeting held between family and teaching staff, the out come was usually that the student didn,t learn a think, the parents don’t care and the staff are no better off so where to from here any ideas.

  2. Mark Campbell
    1 March 2011 at 7:27 pm

    I’ve always maintained that corporal punishment conservatively meted out in schools is a great deterant for bad behaviour. Good teachers don’t need to strap or cane regularly or indiscriminantly, but if its a backstop, certain behaviours are limited. I taught for 5 years before becoming a youth worker with youth for Christ/ Incedo and during that 5 year period I only had 5 children given corporal punishment. That was enough to deter the worst behaviours and limit repeat performances. It’s simple, effective, can be monitored so its done properly and saves a lot of angst and time over issues. And of course support and behaviour modification has to happen alongside.

  3. Denis McCarthy
    2 March 2011 at 12:33 am

    I am a retired primary teacher and I too saw discipline deteriorate once corporal punishment was banned in schools. At the time it was banned it was rarely if at all used in the schools I taught in but the reality was it was there and it was a deterrent.
    (The liberals who didn’t actually teach in the classroom themselves claimed it wasn’t.)
    “There are alternatives,” they cried, and we’ve seen how effective they are with pupils determined to misbehave.

    All that being said there are real problems in administering corporal punishment to a child not in your immediate family. A good parent knows how much force to use – often one quick smack on the backside and a suggestion that there’s more to come if the child doesn’t cooperate is quite sufficient.
    When it comes to punishing someone else’s child and a cane or a strap is going to be used how do you know how much force to apply? Will girls and boys be punished equally? Will older pupils receive more whacks than younger ones? And if the pupil refuses to be punished, what then? This whole scenario is very stressful to a teacher who became a teacher to teach and is being caught in this situation.

    Before retiring for good I taught in a church owned school in Macau. Because the curriculum was taught in English the school could actually select pupils from a large number of applications. The Principal did not allow corporal punishment and in this case he was correct. It wasn’t necessary. By and large the parents respected education and they respected teachers.

    In New Zealand and now in South Korea it seems that the bureaucrats are half the problem. They are too weak and diffident with pupils who are actually refusing an education and disrupting the education of others. Too often they seem to take the side of the disruptive elements against the school.
    Likewise the teacher unions seem diffident about demanding proper working conditions for their teachers and for the pupils who want to learn.
    The irony is that if you or I walked in off the street and disrupted a classroom the police would be called pronto and we would face immediate arrest.
    But let a pupil do exactly the same……

    The real solution as I see it is to remove (after fair warning) disruptive and uncooperative pupils from the school permanently. “But what about their education?” the liberals will wail. Well it’s like this. They don’t want an education. They are refusing an education. They are sabotaging the education of future New Zealand citizens. A school should be a place of learning not a drop in centre.

    In the end it’s up to the parents who want their children to have a decent education to put the pressure on the bureaucrats and politicians. We’ve seen a bit of this at the Morrinsville school which had that serious bullying incident. Parents did raise their voices and tell the country this was not good enough. More power to their arms!

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