STUDENT INDISCIPLINE: Forget the rod and love the child

Monday, June 11, 2012

By Dr Elizabeth Jaya Joseph, Universiti Selangor, Shah Alam, Selangor 0 comments

THE ugly spectre of indiscipline in schools has reared its ugly head once again and many have expressed their views on corporal punishment as a disciplinary measure. The proponents say that inflicting pain will help the child gain eventually. On the other hand, the opponents say that inflicting pain will only resurrect the biblical Cain in the child.

.A teacher can play a significant role in moulding the future of her students with the correct approach.

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There may be some truth in both the views. However, the focus on pain which is a negative trait is to me misplaced. If causing pain, shame and humiliation is the answer to discipline truants, vandals, hooligans, arsonists and gangsters, then the cane has to be long enough to reach all who have directly or indirectly impacted a child negatively for his delinquent behaviour.

I say, leave the rod and love the child. Life is like a boomerang and what we throw out will return to us sooner.

In other words, we will definitely reap what we sow. Inflicting physical and emotional pain can only bring about more of the same for the perpetrator and the victim. Besides, child specialists say that corporal punishment can cause untold humiliation which in turn can cause learning disability in a child. Here are some suggestions that could help to reduce disciplinary problems in schools:

WELCOME students at the school entrance especially on Monday. Teachers and prefects can take turns to do this.

KEEP school assemblies short and sweet. Focus only on positive matters. Students from each class can take turns to do something positive.

ENSURE visits by principals are made to all classes in a week/month for positive reinforcement. Praise the students whose names have been given by the respective class teachers. Give a certificate for the best reformed student.

STOP talking about disciplinary problems daily especially in the staff room.

The more energy you give to problems, the more you will magnify them.

ENSURE teaching methods and techniques are student-centred. Ask students what works for them.

PLAY baroque (classical) music through the Public Address System or in specific classes especially in the afternoon. This type of music matches the heart beats of a person and it makes the body relaxed and the mind active.

GO for preventive measures. Identify naughty students and make them feel important. Treat them in the canteen and listen to their problems. Get them in disciplinary committees if they are willing.

GET students in class to decide on methods of punishment for various offences.

GIVE certificates for good behaviour and participation in co-curricular activities at the PMR and SPM levels.

BLESS students in your class everyday. This strategy never fails to work.

VISUALISE naughty students and talk to them as you will in a face-to-face conversation. Praise them and see them behaving properly.

VISIT homes of problem students to get to know them and their families better.

CHANNEL high energy of teenagers by getting them to engage in creative activities especially during co-curricular time.

HAVE politeness/courteousness week/month with meaningful activities.

TRAIN all teachers to be disciplinarians and counsellors.

KEEP teacher/student ratio small for better class control.

REVIEW the syllabi of moral/religious education. Outsource such education to the right people if necessary and make it an examination subject.

WEED out slow learners, non-academically inclined students, and unruly students and have a special school for them in every district if possible.

HAVE periodic laughter sessions in school to reduce stress and tension.

GET trained experts to conduct motivational talks for unruly students so as to purge all their frustrations and sorrows.

Read more: STUDENT INDISCIPLINE: Forget the rod and love the child – Letters to the Editor – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/student-indiscipline-forget-the-rod-and-love-the-child-1.93261#ixzz1xRuZpnL0