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Discipline In Education, 'discipline In The Classroom: Past And Present'

1388 words - 6 pages

Peer-Tutoring Independant StudyThroughout the history of classroom education, many differenttypes of disciplinary systems have been applied by teachers and otherauthority figures in schools for the sole purpose of controlling studentbehaviour. These systems include corporal punishment, psychologicalabuse or neglect, and assertive discipline. Although two of these threetopics are illegal at this time, they were all widely used in schools acrossthe country a short time ago.Corporal punishment in general can be defined as the infliction ofpain or confinement as a penalty for an offense committed by a student.During the time that corporal punishment was used by schools all overthe United States and Canada, parents did not have any say in schooldiscipline. It was completely up to the school authority figures on thetype of punishment and the severity of the punishment given to thestudent. The classroom teacher had the most say in the matter since itwas the teacher who usually administered the punishment to thestudents. Because of this, some teachers (who especially liked the ideaof physical punishment) took advantage of the minor guidelines set bythe principal to protect students from excessive physical beatings. Theseguidelines varied from school to school, but often included length, widthand thickness of the paddle or any other weapon used, the amount oftimes the student may be struck by the weapon, and other minor detailsabout other types of physical punishment. The list of weapons that wereacceptable for teachers to use include long: rubber hoses, leather strapsand belts, sticks, rods, straight pins, hard plastic baseball bats, andarrows. If at the time a teacher did not have his/her weapon, they wouldoften resort to punching, kicking, slapping and shaking as ways to 'getchildren's attention'. Besides these common manoeuvres of punishment,other and often more painful techniques were used by teachers. Childrenin a class for the learning disabled claimed that their teacher, and her aidebanged their heads into their desks until some students wereunconscious, twisted their arms, and even tried strangulation. Anotherteacher shook hot tabasco sauce in the mouths of the troublesomestudent and smeared it in their faces. When parents found out aboutthis specific act of cruelty, they were outraged and took their case tostate officials. The final verdict on this case was that they saw nothingwrong with forcing kids to eat something they did not like (Butterfield1983). In the Christian schools, this kind of punishment was related tothe concept of original sin and the need to combat Satan by beating thedevil out of children. This same idea was used in other religions as well,and children were beaten because of mental illness, or disease. One of themost common arguments for corporal punishment is that its abolitionwould leave teachers powerless to control students, especially those whomight be a threat to the teacher. Despite this, it has been proven thatmost...

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