Those of us that grew up in the typical African setting have our fair share of corporal punishment. We were flogged for poor academic performance, being late to school, making noise in the class and so on. To the typical African man, corporal punishment is the primary way of ensuring discipline in students. The common maxim is, “Spare the rod and spoil the child”. Is there no other way of forging a child apart from using violence?
Modern educators and counsellors believe that discipline and positive moral behaviours can be acquired by students without being flogged. These modern teachers are of the opinion that there are ways of bringing about the expected change in a child without using “the rod”.
Alternative punishments (AP) that do not involve the use of violence can be employed. One way of doing this is to make the erring student kneel at the back (not front) of the class. While on his knees, the pain and isolation will make him rethink his actions. Another approach to AP is to assign the student to carry out physical tasks that are not abusive. For example, he may be asked to sweep the class or be responsible for cleaning up the board for a week or so.
You may also discipline a student without violence with the use of what I call “disciplinary ostracism”. This involves making the erring student to stay away from others (for example at the back of the class) for the duration of the class. You may also keep the child busy in the class while others go out for break. A child that likes to play with his friend at break time will most likely not commit the same offence again.
Sometimes, a child may be asked to write a letter to apologize for his bad behaviours. Such letter should be read to all members of the class. The teacher or school authority may also ask the child to bring his parents. This will make the child to be contrite because high school students usually do not want people to discuss their matter.
For these non-violent disciplinary measures to have lasting effects, the student must be made aware of his offence and how he should have behaved.
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