Four out of five teachers in denialOctober 3, 2008 Tim WorstallEducation11 Comments…one in five teachers would like the cane reinstated to punish pupils in cases of "extreme" bad behaviour… previousThe Ig NobelsnextTimmy Elsewhere 11 thoughts on “Four out of five teachers in denial” anon October 3, 2008 at 10:09 am Nah, that won’t work. They use it all the time on girlsboardingschool.com, and they’re *always* being naughty. john b October 3, 2008 at 12:28 pm Hmm. Even if you believe that the “oooh, yoof today, sky falling” nonsense that’s been talked about for every generation since 10,000 BC is actually true this time, a credible system of discipline still doesn’t require physical punishment. Tim adds: True….just wanted to use the gag bnefore anyone else did. gene berman October 3, 2008 at 2:02 pm Yeah, Tim–sometimes they use the gag on the girlsinboardingschools.com, too. Oh,–you were referring to a different gag. I get it. JuliaM October 3, 2008 at 3:30 pm Lol @ ‘anon’ and gene berman 🙂 “a credible system of discipline still doesn’t require physical punishment.” That may, or may not be true. But since we don’t have a ‘credible system of discipline’, let’s try this again, eh? gene berman October 3, 2008 at 4:27 pm john b: A teacher friend of mine, teaching social studies or somesuch at the 8th grade level in a suburban but almost entirely black school was marking some test papers he’d given–and showed me one. To the question: “How did primitive men prepare their meals?”, one kid had written “rocks in the fire but sumtime rit from the can.” There’s a similarity between you and that kid but I can’t quite understand why there shoud be. He was undoubtedly cognitively deficient; you certainly aren’t. He was “socialized” and educated among a generally “deprived” group to whom less resources and attention were quite generally allocated. Again, I don’t think that’s been your life history. You’re in the UK–I’m in the US; things may be just a bit different but I suspect not enormously. I graduated HS in 1953. Corporal punishment was everywhere permissible and legal (“in loco parentis” or somesuch) but had actually been declining enormously in both favor and application since the ’30s ; it was considered demeaning more than cruel or physically abusive. I knew of only two teachers that used it–both “shop” teachers who’d deliver 2-5 ‘whacks” with a T-square for disciplinary infractions (actually generally preferred by the boys to “staying after school” or other penalties). Throughout my school (a very large suburban school in an affluent area but one into which many working-class parents moved from the “streets” in Philly and also into which there was a fair sprinkling of European immigrants; the “ethnics” of those days were Italians and Irish of 2nd or 3rd generation) years, I never heard of single incident of pupil-on-teacher violence. Male teachers routinely “laid hands” a bit roughly on misbehaving kids in halls, etc., with not the slightest expectation of resistance, much less attack. Occasional assaults–and I emphasize the “occasional”–took place in inner-city schools, occurrring with more frequency wherever there were more than a small minority of black (or Puerto Rican) kids. There is no doubt that there was a growing problem. (Blackboard Jungle was 1955 but, even then, was considered “shocking” and was illustrative of a distinctly “subcultural” environment–and I might mention here that Bill Haley of “Rock Around the Clock” in that movie–was from right here and, with his “Comets”—previously the country & western “Saddlemen”–played gigs in local watering-holes–and at local high school dances, including ours. Things were changing–but, at that time, they hadn’t changed much, which is precisely why such genre entertainment drew so much attention in the first place: it was a glimpse of lifestyle and attitude of extreme rarity (except in certain places). But, change came quickly. One of my best friends (the guy mentioned above) was attacked (1959 or so) from behind by a chair-wielding 220-lb, 6′ 2″ but managed to dodge and to knock the guy unconscious with a single punch (not bad for 5’10”, 140 lb) but was yet forced to resign from his position. Another friend of many years, a graduate of Science High in NYC (look it up in Wikipedia) was an avid weightlifter and accomplished at karate (in 1953, not one in a million would ever even have heard the word) became a teacher in the NYC school system. In those environs, his very prowess was a liability: he was repeatedly attacked and beaten by gangs of 6 or more–sometimes twice that many, and had to be moved from one school to another many times. Things had very definitely changed. What I suggest you lack is an actual historical sense–of recent history. When I was young, hitch-hiking was regarded generally as somewhat “dangerous.” Yet I logged an enormous amount of miles “on the thumb,” visiting 42 of the (then) 48 states with nary an untoward moment, including some of the “blackest” areas of the deep South. Today, I live in a quiet, virtually crime-free lower middle-class town almost rural, yet within 25 miles of several places where one (at least one who was white and unarmed) could not go–not possibly–and escape unharmed, perhaps not even alive. When I was a kid, some kids went everywhere–walking, bicycling, etc., mostly without incident. Nearly unheard of today, except to malls, etc. It really was the “good ol’ days” and I’m sad that they were at least partly gone for my kids, nearly all gone for my grandkids, and no improvement on the horizon for subsequent generations. I’m even sad that you seem not to realize there are elements of the past to be missed just as the kid didn’t realize there were elements of the present for which to be thankful. john b October 3, 2008 at 5:38 pm When I was a kid, some kids went everywhere–walking, bicycling, etc., mostly without incident. Likewise when I was a kid, despite the fact that I left high school 39 years after you. Nearly unheard of today, except to malls, etc. My suspicion is that a) the extent to which kids don’t do this today is exaggerated in popular discourse and b) where this has fallen, it’s largely driven by scare stories (which are themselves driven partly by greater media sensationalism and partly by the wider availability of non-local media – a missing child now can get 300 million people’s attention, as long as they’re blonde and pretty, whereas 50 years ago the story would only have existed in their home town) rather than real changes in risk. john b October 3, 2008 at 5:41 pm (sorry, meant to start off saying that the info about your friends’ teaching and your travelling in the 1950s are v interesting. I wonder if you’d’ve felt so safe travelling around 42 states in 1953 if you’d been black, though…?) Little Black Sambo October 3, 2008 at 8:49 pm Corporal punishment may not ever be necessary, but it is often efficient, compared with other methods. Something short & sharp is often what is required, especially for boys. john cramer October 4, 2008 at 12:06 am Oddly enough the less painful physical punishments seemed to work better. We had a teacher who was a dead shot with a piece of chalk (And chalk bouncing off your skull gets your attention fast) . And much admired for it. yet the headmaster who wielded a cane was held in near universal derision. Monty October 4, 2008 at 12:30 am We have seen our schools divested of all the disciplinary sanctions they once had. All of them. You can’t expel even the most violent kid without running the risk that your LEA will force you to take him back. You can’t suspend him for a set time period without making his teachers do extra work to give him home-study. (And for the child, a few days off school is no punishment.) Detention has to be agreed in advance with the parents, who are more than likely worse than their offspring, and the teachers have to work extra unpaid overtime to provide supervision. This is enforced helplessness. Which is why we are losing qualified teachers at an unsustainable rate. In the space of two years, I have seen high-school kids get away with drug dealing, common assault (one was a stabbing with a screwdriver), indecent assault, extortion with menaces, theft, vandalism, and attempted arson. In every case except one, the victims were the other children at the schools. Most of our schoolchildren are good kids, and they are being horribly let down because of our systematic refusal to deal with the revolting behaviour of a few. The threat of a ruler across the hand might have curtailed the wild bunch at seven. It won’t work for the high school cohort. The schools need absolute power to expel. Kay Tie October 4, 2008 at 5:01 pm “The schools need absolute power to expel.” I think the schools need the power to run their own affairs. Leave a Reply Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.