Is corporal punishment an effective behaviour management tool to manage your classroom while learners are actively involved in your lesson and participating in the lesson, or there are other alternative behaviour support strategies that could help teachers to be best managers in their class while they create conducive environment for their learners to learn and participate in the class. In this essay, I will first critical argue against corporal punishment in South African school and indicate the role corporal punishment plays in excluding learners from full participation in the classroom. Secondly, I will focus on 3 key inclusive classroom strategies that could be used in the classroom as an alternative to corporal punishment and I will indicate why these particular strategies are relevant and essential to good classroom behaviour management practice. Lastly, I will discuss the value and importance of school-community partnerships and I will suggest practical strategies to build healthy home-school partnership.
Corporal punishment was used in class for controlling learners to behave appropriate which is not the best discipline method. According to Naong (2007) corporal punishment is understood to be a discipline method that in which a controlling adult intentionally inflicts pain upon a child in response to a child’s unacceptable behaviour. It was used when we were young in primary school and in secondary school, and most of our friends who were having learning difficulties dropped out of school because they were punished by our teachers. Teachers were trying to manage the class by using corporal punishment as a discipline method while they destroyed other children dreams of completing matric and getting better job. There was high rate of dropping out in my school due to corporal punishment, only learners who were not facing with learning barriers could complete matric, but those who need extra help could not get help because the teachers were busy concern about punishing the learners who were misbehaving in the class. Corporal punishment does not teach learners good behaviour or acceptable behaviour instant they build boundaries between the teacher and the child as the child is being hurt because of unacceptable behaviour that she/he has done. This does not teach a child how to behave in appropriate, but it teach her/him that when you have power over someone you can cause them pain intentionally if they do something that you do not desire. Other children come from abusive homes and when they misbehave in your classroom because they need your attention or it is their sign of crying out for help to you as teacher, you use the corporal punishment to the child, that cold cause the child to not trust any adult in his/her life because she/he did not get help that she/he was looking for but she/he got pain that is caused by you. Learners come to our class with different background, learning styles and learning barriers, some of them when they are faced with their challenges they will misbehave in your class you need to find out what cause the child to misbehave. This will help you and the child to come up with solutions that will help you to teach well and the learners to participate in your class and have the feeling of belonging to the class. Classroom is the second home for our learners as they spend most of their time in school with us as their second parents, we need to know our learners and make sure that we meet their needs when we teach, by engaging them in our lesson and motivate them to participate in the lesson. For example, a child who has difficult with her/his sight when trying to cope in the chalk board might find her/himself bored and end up making noise and disrupting other learners who are seeing well. If you do not know her/his problem, you could jump to conclusion that the child is misbehaving, and you end up punishing her/him. These will cause the child to be afraid of you and he/she will not open up to you about his problem of seeing what you wrote in the chalkboard. These will exclude the child to participate in the classroom because she/he will feel like she/he is not belonging to your classroom. Corporal punishment is not an option to use in your class to teach your learners about discipline in order to have harmony your classroom. It is banned in South African school, it might cause a teacher to lose her/his job because you have assaulted a child. It is a serious crime, which does not solve a problem, but it causes more problems for you and the learner. There is other option that you could use in order to make your classroom to be well managed where every child could be free and engage in the lesson that you present to them.
Pettipher ; Swart (2011) stated that the major challenge of inclusion is to understand the complexity of the effects, interactions and interrelationships between the individual learner and multiple other system that are connected to the learner. Teachers need to make sure that there is interaction between them and their learners and the learners are interacting in the class with other learners. Teachers need to work together to help the learners to be discipline, by sharing ideas that work for them and cooperating as a team. These need to continue to the class by making sure that teachers prepare lesson that allows learners to interact with the content, and with each other, and with the teacher. As the learner interact with the concept, they will be participating in the class and that will make the class to be well managed without disruption from the learners as they will be busy learning. Teachers need to focus on developing self-discipline in each learner in the classroom by teaching them social emotional learning, which incorporates approaches that emphasis self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making (Bear, Doyle, Osher ; Sprague, 2010). The teacher needs to teach them and model these skills to them and build connection with her/his learners in order to see that they have responsibility to make good decisions in their life in order to be better people in their community. The teacher needs to use the learner’s strength to motivate them to be self-aware of themselves and that they can be able to management themselves and do right things. This will help the teacher to have less disruptive classroom as each learner will be self-aware and if they make bad decision the teacher is there to help them to correct the mistakes as it is part of learning journey. The teacher and the learners will be part of the managers of their classroom, as each learner will be managing her/himself and the teacher is there to give guidance when it is needed. These will motivate the learner to be engage in the class activities and they will participate in group work, class discussion and in peers as they know that they have responsibility to learn and build their own future to the right foundation. This means every child can learn and not be disrupted by the misbehave of other learner who is confused or frustrated with what the teacher is teaching. According to Gable, Gable, Hester, Hughes & Rock (2009) we need to go back to basics which are classroom rules, effective use of rules, gaining cooperation and enforcing rules, praising, ignoring and reprimands. The teacher could work together with the learners early as first day of school to make their own classroom rules to create a safe, tidy and fruitful classroom that will motivate the learners to learn and engage in their learning. Teacher and learners will create few, positive and age appropriate rules, that will be easy for the learners to understand and be able to follow them. The teacher needs to make sure that everyone follows the rules and every learner who follows the rules are getting praise from the teacher to motivate the learners to continue behaving well and other will learn from that, and those who break the rules will face the consequences that they need t face them. The teacher could learn on ignoring some inappropriate behaviour that learners display to reinforce good behaviour, for example when the classroom said when you need to talk raise your hand until the teacher comes to you or point you to talk, some of the learner could raise their hands and shout “mam” you need to make sure that you ignore the learner and choose the one who has raised her/his hand and waited for you to call her/him to say what he/she need to say. You need to emphasis the rules and make sure that they are followed, and in each first term you could revisit the classroom rules to make sure that the learners still remember the classroom rules and that they still need to follow them even in that term. Create your classroom to be warm place to be by being a teacher who show that you care about your learner’s wellbeing. Hold high expectations for every learner in your classroom, motivate them to do better if you see that they lack motivation. Be the role model to them by respecting them and teach them to respect each other. Other learners come from dysfunctional families, they do not know what respect is but if you are their role model who show them respect, they could copy that from you and became better learner who learn how to behave appropriate because they saw you that you respect them despite their background, intellectual ability and their gender. Create an environment that make them feel that they belong in the classroom and there is no one who will judge them because of who they are. This will make your job management to be easy as there will be mutual respect in your classroom.
The teacher could use differentiated instruction in order to accommodate all learners in the classroom despite their learning style or their readiness. This will increase learner’s participation and it will draw the learner’s attention while the teacher is able to manage the classroom. Teachers need to provide scaffolding to their learners and Subban (2006) believed that differentiated instruction model is presented as a response to address learner variance. This model requires the teacher to know her/his learners’ background, learning styles, readiness and strengths. Subban (2006) argued that students differ in three important ways which are readiness, interest and learning profiles. Knowing your learners will help you prepare your lesson that will accommodate al your learners needs and engage them to participate in the lesson which make the learners to behave well and do their class activity. If you have learners who are having hearing difficulties and who are not seeing well, you could make sure that they sit at the front close to the chalk board and when you give them instructions you make sure that the learners who have hearing difficulties are close to you and they are hearing what you say by looking to them when you talk so that they can see your mouth and be able to see and hear and what you are saying. This will make them to listen attentively and follow the instruction well and make sure that you go to them when you are done with giving instruction to the class and ask them if they had understood the instruction if it is possibly, you could ask the learner to repeat the instructions for you. You could cater the learners needs by creating colourful, big bold and readable charts to accommodate the learners who are struggling with their sight, to be able to read what you are teaching. Make some tapes for the learners who are having hearing barriers they could listen to the tape and read the colourful and bold charts to understand the concept that you are teaching. If your learners are interest in stories you could use a short story to teach them, for example, when you are teaching addition you could use a story that require that you do addition in order to accommodate the learners. If the learners are not read for the concept you could start where he/she has knowledge with, taking the lesson from known to unknown to accommodate the learner. You could use pictures that will stimulate their imaginary and ask them to tell you what they think about the picture to activate their prior knowledge and engage them to the lesson that you are presenting this will encourage them to participate in your lesson. If there is projector in your class, you could use educational videos that could help them to engage in the lesson. These could make them to participate and the classroom will be managed as the teaching and learning will be taking place in the class and the teacher and learners will have a productive lesson.
Schools need to make sure that they build a healthy relationship with surrounding community and other organisations. Principal, deputy principals, head of department, teachers and school governing board need to make sure that parents are involved in their children education, as Pettipher & Swart (2011) stated that Bronfenbrenner’s theory is the proposition that growth takes place when there is person-environment interaction. The teacher has responsibility to make sure that they interact with the learner’s environment in order to make sure that they know the child better and that will help the child to develop well. The teacher could have notice that even after she tried everything to make sure that her/his learners are learning in conducive learning environment that is well managed and every learner is participating in class and there is cooperation between the learners and the teacher, there is still other learners who are struggling with self-discipline. The teacher could ask the learners’ parent to help at home to make sure that her intervention is continuing even at home after school so that the learner can benefit. Teacher and parent relationship are very important especially when you need to create a conducive learning environment for your learners. You do not need to have a positive relationship with the parent of the learner who has bad behaviour in your class only, but you need to have relationship with the parents of all of your learners. These will help you to keep the parents update about their children works, behaviour and their wellbeing as I mention earlier that you’re the second parents t your learners and in order to understand them better you need to build a healthy relationship with their parents. Some of your learners might not be able to tell you everything about their life that affect them to do well in school, but the parent can tell you. As a result, you could find a way to help the learner to do well in her/his school work. For example, a child might be diagnosed with ADHD and you do not know, and she/he always distract you while you teach, and you do not know how to help her/him because you do not know her/his condition. If you have a healthy relationship with the parent, the parent will open up to you and you will work together to help the child to feel that she/he is part of the class and she/he belong to the class despite her/his condition because you will make sure that you always accommodate him/her in your lesson and the parent will give the learner support at home to do well. Walton (2010) believed that the knowledge and skills that parents have can be harnessed in many ways by inclusive schools, these means that parents has more knowledge and skills and those skills could be used to benefit the learner who is struggling at school or who is doing well but need some motivation to do his/her best. Teachers could write letters at the end of each term to keep the parent update about their child, and that means if the child is doing well you need to tell the parent do not only report the bad behaviours only you need to report good behaviour too. These will motivate the parent and the learner to continue doing well, as parent help their child with school work at home and the learner will be motivated to keep up the good work. If the learner has unappropriated behaviour you need to list the good things that she/he do and then ask the parent to help where the child need help you could suggest few strategies that the parent can implement to help the child. You could arrange with the parent to have meeting maybe once in a month to come and heck their learners progress and in that meeting you could share your concern about the child if you have any and try to find out about the learners information from the parent, you could praise the child to the parent, if the child is doing well and find more information about the child from the parent. You need to show the parents that you respect that, and you care about their child so that they will be able to trust you with their children as every parent need to know that their child is under good care when they are at school. The school need to encourage parents to be involved in their children education, as Pettipher & Swart (2011) argued that a school that encourages reciprocal relationships, between parents, learners, the community and other organisations is more effective than one that does not interact with other systems. These means the school as a whole need to interact with parents and the surrounding community to be more effective, as the community members and parents might see a need in the school and offer their resources and some of them might volunteer to help the school to be more effective.
Teachers need to know their learners and their learner’s environment in order to make sure that they get to know their learners best. This will hep the teacher to be effectively and be able to help the child to have self-discipline. Working together with the parent child could help the teacher to know which aspects t work with when they teach the child. Teachers can ask the parent to help them with intervention that could help the child to be self-discipline. If the teacher work hand in hand with the child, parent and other teachers to help the child to develop well, there will not be needing to use the corporal punishment method that is banned in South Africa. These will make the teacher to be saved from assault and it will help the child to learn self-discipline which is a skill that she/he will use when she/he has grown up. The class will be a place where mutual respect is presented, and everyone will be able to participate and learn new things every day.
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Naong, M. (2007). The impact of the abolishment of corporal punishment on teacher morale: 1994-2004. South African Journal of Education. (27), 283-300
Pettipher, R. ; Swart, E. (2011). A framework for Understanding Inclusion. In E. Landsberg, D. Kruger and E. Swart (Eds). Addressing Barriers to Learning. A South African Perspective.
Subban, P. (2006) Differentiated Instruction: A research basis. International Education Journal. 7(7), 935-947