Not just by caning alone

Wednesday June 20, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/6/20/focus/11512509&sec=focus

IN response to Ewan A. Nedma’s article on “Caning no remedy for indiscipline” (Star, May 29), I believe the real issue is not the recalcitrant students but the teachers who carry out the caning.

Like the author, I was caned for all the stupid reasons in primary school. One was forgetting to ask my parents to sign my homework after it had been completed.

Spoil the rod and spare the child, but what about the person who handles the rod? I found that many teachers did not understand the rationale for caning, and caned students for superficial and unnecessary reasons.

Many teachers see caning as the only means to handle indiscipline effectively. They choose to cane students because to them, it does all the needed work quickly.

They think the nasty strokes of the rotan would convey an unmistakable warning to the students. However, this may not be so.

When a discipline teacher canes his student, he may think: see, I’m caning you, remember the pain, and remember never to skip class again.

However, the unspoken message may not reach the student. Unless the student sees the true purpose behind the caning, he or she is likely to harbour bitter resentments after the punishment.

Perhaps the school can temporarily control the behaviour of problematic students by caning them. But what they cannot control are their thoughts and negative feelings.

Whether students deserve the harsh discipline or not, they have felt physical pain that can have a bad psychological impact on them. The accumulation of bitter feelings may aggravate juvenile delinquency.

For physical punishment to bring out its best effect, schools should provide counselling for such students. This is so that problematic students have the necessary guidance to reflect on their mistakes.

Students should be given the opportunity not only to vent their anger, but also to be corrected and given the necessary advice by counsellors.

Teachers should not assume physical punishment would solve discipline issues to the very end. Caning, or any other form of physical punishment, is just the beginning of a long process of educating our future generation to stay on the right track.

NELE

Petaling Jaya