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Banning corporal punishment, verbal abuse in schools

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By: Showkat Ahmad Dar

A teacher is supposed to deal with the most innocent and sensitive minds in schools and must possess scientific and modern methodology of teaching in order to be highly communicative and target oriented. It is a teacher who is responsible to shape, mould and train astudent’s behavior and personality.

A teacher’s personality, his moral behavior, values, character and approach to life leaves a deep and everlasting impression on child’s personality. A teacher exposes a child to the scientific and rational knowledge and encourages him to dream a life that on the path of success.

It is said that the mistake of a doctor lies buried in grave; the mistake of an engineer lies cremated in bricks; the mistake of the lawyer lies in courtroom; but the mistake of a teacher is reflected in our daily lives and nearly in all aspects of life. A teacher is supposed to deal with the human resource and any slightest mistake on his part can ruin the sacred a great future.

Unfortunately! a teacher sometimes resorts to verbal abuses and corporal punishments to bring a desirable change in a child’s behavior. This method puts the child’s life as well as his individuality at risk. This kind of inhuman practice harms a child more than it benefits him. A large number of students leave their studies in the middle because they receive eitherphysical or verb abuses for their slow pace in learning or their slow understanding of a concept.

The corporal punishment is one of the leading causes of the dropouts in developing countries. Teachers who walk into the class holding a stick make the children fearful of their experience of a classroom. Various researches have shown that physical punishment also sends a wrong message that aggressive behavior is a solution to conflict. It is an ineffective way of teaching and children who receive physical punishment were more likely to experience anger related problems, physical aggression, marital dispute, involvement in violence and criminal activities. There is a tendency for the student to imitate aggression.

Physical punishment makes indicates for the young children that, violence is acceptable behavior, and that it is all right for a stronger person to use force to coerce a weaker one. This therefore, helps to perpetuate a cycle of violence in the family and in the society in general.

Verbal abuse and physical punishment may also cause the child to feel angry, helpless, powerless, guilty or ashamed and this can affect the emotional, mental and physical development and the overall school performance. Sometimes punishment leaves children feeling more resentful (bitter and anger) as opposed to having learned correct behaviors. They are left focusing on the hurt they feel and not the lesson they could learn.

Actually, through punishment children can learn to changea particular behavior but not lack the understanding and the reason as to why the behavior should be changed in the first place. Therefore, it is possible for the student to repeat misbehaving. Punishing students with the belief of improving performance is a wrong option.

It has also been seen that the children who receive verbal/corporal punishment usually develop lower intellectual power compared to those who are handled with scientifically proven methods of teaching. Such children may face the problem of losing memory and they may generally not remember what is taught by their parents and teachers.

Studies show that, the children who are violently punished during their younger age tend to experience poor academic performance and some of them become mentally retarded (Nichols & Newman, 1986). Thus, one among major causes of mental retardation among people is the corporal punishment he/she has received either from their parents, teachers or any other guardian.

Since punishment tend to de-humanize children and make them feel guilty, ashamed and worthless during teaching and learning process, the teachers must restrain from such practices. It should also be abolished because it is interfering worth student’s right to be treated with dignity and as a result, is interfering with their right to a quality education and self-esteem.

Nevertheless, more efforts need to be made to educate parents and teachers on the implication of corporal punishment and verbal abuses as well as the alternatives that are available to them.  It is important to note that, good school discipline depend not only on non-violent responses to poor student behavior, but on skilled teachers who can make use of negative reinforcement to bring the desirable changes in a child’s behaviour.

All we have to do is to adopt the modern teaching techniques to make the learning pleasurable and interesting one. We all must take a proactive role in protecting children from abuses, building their sense of self-worth, and teaching them peaceful and constructive role to build society. Moreover, Families, educators and the society as a whole need to be made aware of laws and practices concerning to children’s rights, so that no innocent soul could become the victim of such abuses in the name of education.

The writer is a school teacher at Govt. Boys Higher Secondary School Dangarpora Zaingair. He can be reached at: [email protected]

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