Indian schools according to me, have dilapidated on the value front – cases of student abuse, fights, murders, theft are not new to the ear when it comes to Indian education and schooling. Perhaps, the best suited reason for it could be the background mix , schools cater to all sorts of students – even from the underprivileged sections of the society. Such children are bound to act in violent ways since they’ve been brought up that way. Talking on a larger horizon , children from well to Do families get influenced and exhibit the same behaviour.
In times like these, the teacher has to play disciplinarian. But considering the fact that Indian schools are not permitted corporal punishment, how do you go about it ?
A moral lecture and that’s it ? Does this really check the defaulter and makes sure he doesn’t repeat the mistake?
It’s basic human instinct that says when a person undergoes pressure and fear, he consorts himself to a certain required conduct. And in the absence of fear and impending punishment, the resolution fails to be reached.
In my opinion, some degree of corporal punishment should be allowed- to produce better, tamed kids and not delicate darlings. But on the contrary, subjecting a child ho brutal beatings over trivial issues is still against the self esteem of a teacher. No child deserves such bitter school memories or visits to the hospital over corporal punishments.
In the end,
A balance needs to be emphasized.
Excess of anything is fatal; Same holds true in this case. The teacher should have some amount of autonomy in the class but should function within well defined limits that do not counter check humanitarian basis or lead to any form of child abuse.
Following are the alternatives to corporal punishment :-
1. Talk in terms of marks!
It’s the language everybody understands. Give lower grades to defaulters, or a black mark. Introduce a system where more than three black marks could get the child detained. This may sound harsh, but in some cases is absolutely mandatory. Provide substantial evidence to support your ground if the child’s parents come railing, having CCTV monitoring in classrooms could serve the purpose here. No child or parent would want their kid to have a failed year and to repeat it due to indiscipline, would be a matter of shame, and hence parents would be more watchful over their children.
2. Character counselling
Provide counselling to the child. Study the psychology of the kid in depth and find out why he resorts to extremist activities. If possible, work out a solution. It is extremely important to have an in-house counsellor in school who is readily accessible. Often, indiscipline and zero fellowship in class indicate anxiety & depression in school going kids, which arise due to number of reasons – not being accepted in class, inferiority and shyness, insecurity over how one looks and talks etc. These are common issues among children and need to be addressed using positive methods of discarding body & character shaming and not corporal punishment that wouldn’t help the child, but only leave behind sour memories of school days.
In extreme cases, the child can be advised anger management therapy.
3. Get the parents involved
Poor family backgrounds are the reasons for a bad childhood and creates rebellious kids. Attempts should be made to talk to the family concerned and make it better for the kids.
The case is extremely bad in case of lower strata families that have to struggle for good living on a daily basis. Understand that these kids come from financially and emotionally distorted families, and all they need is care and love to be able to change and mend their ways in life. Often, what can not be accomplished by force can be easily done with a loving approach!
Keep in touch with the parents and if possible, try and organise ice breaking sessions between the faculty and the parents, guest lectures on better parenting and seminars.
4. Rather than punishment, be a benefactor
Work on the kind of atmosphere the school has. Some schools that operate with a radical thought and are extremist need a fundamental policy change at the root level. A healthy and free thinking space is as necessary for a growing up kid as oxygen is to life. Do not try to curb their thinking capacity or condition them into thinking only along one course of action. Remember, each individual is unique and what’s normal for the spider, is chaos to the fly. If you create a positive and free environment that promotes out of the box talent and newer ideas, ignores any sort of nepotism and gives equal opportunity to talent, the chances of retaliation become less.
5. Give punishments , but within a limit.
Corporal punishment, under any circumstance are abhorring the spirit of the teacher-student relationship. Try to avoid them completely. Minor punishments such as a stay back after school and extra homework could prove a better punishment.