Discipline in the education system

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Mrs.Woods, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. Mrs.Woods

    Mrs.Woods New Member

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    I have worked in the public school system for four years and have been very surprised at the difference in the discipline practices that are taking place now as oppose to when I was in school. Students as young as the kindergarten level are allowed to hit, kick, and hurt their teacher and others and are sent to ISS for a day or two for punishment as oppose to swats. The same students are acting out again and again, and they are not learning from their mistakes. What discipline techniques do you recommend teachers and schools take to eliminate behavior problems?
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I won't get on my soapbox here, but corporal punishment is definitely not on my list of acceptable practices.
     
  4. cmorris

    cmorris Comrade

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    I think it should be brought back. My son would not get in as much trouble if he knew he could get a lick right then and there.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Hands that love don't have to hit.
     
  6. Toak

    Toak Cohort

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    Research shows that using corporal punishment results in more behavioral problems, as well as in children who think the "goal" is to avoided being caught, rather than to behave. It also increases the likelihood that the child will be violent as an adult (allegedly because you are teaching them to hit someone everytime that person doesn't do what they like) I believe that's compared to children who have discussions on why the behavior is wrong

    Are teachers allowed to incorporate time-outs? I can't say I've ever heard of an elementary teacher using them, but they are supposed to be effective. Though I can see a problem as teachers can rarely put a child in time-out at the time of the misbehavior.
     
  7. cmorris

    cmorris Comrade

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    You can prove anything with research. And a spanking never hurt anyone. It is only natural to try and not get caught, regardless of the punishment. It doesn't matter whether it is time-out or not. And, yes, I use time-out in my room and at home. A spanking is more effective for certain behaviors. I wonder if there is a correlation between behavior problems and the lack of corporal punishment...
     
  8. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

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    It takes a little more work, but positive behavior supports works wonders. Some kids come to school craving positive comments. A lot of kids are belittled at home or don't even have a family. I never given a detention yet and I have written up about 5 kids thus far this year. I could not imagine harming a child. I don't see how it is productive.

    As a kid, I feared my dad because of the occasional smack here and there. It was nothing excessive, but I FEARED him and became the best liar. I got in a lot of trouble in high school. I think hitting a child just makes kids do things behind adults' backs.

    I believe there should be consequences are inappropriate behaviors. If a kid hit me, then there would be consequences; such as, being arrested, suspended, or sent to an alternative school. Kids 4th grade and above can get arrested.

    We must call parents when their kids are well behaved and when they misbehave. Parents are our partners! :)
     
  9. Samothrace

    Samothrace Cohort

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    Parents....parents that work with you, not fight with you. Most of the kids I teach have crazy home lives that are beyond ridiculous. My students are in survival mode. Example: outside of my one school...a boy said a racial slur to another student..N..bee. Both students were getting picked up..and dad of the racist student (and I say racist b/c he very proud of this fact and really has no problem letting other students in the school know this, despite being out numbered) Anyway...the PARENTS started fighting. Verbally attacking eachother, and had some of the teachers not been around helping to dismiss students, it was very close to turning into a physical fight.

    It's very difficult to teach children correct behavior when the parents are horrible examples of what the correct thing should be. We can do our best..and we all know we'll never stop trying. 1 step forward, 3 steps back.

    Personally I think there needs to be parent accountability. Many teachers and schools have their hands tied. But I also think schools in general need to stand up to the behavior problems. There is no excuse for a Kindergarten student to throw a chair across the room and still be allowed in school.

    ok..stopping before I get the ladder to get on my soapbox! lol :D
     
  10. HeatherY

    HeatherY Habitué

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    If you want to spank kids feel free to move to the South. It is allowed in many schools and there is a big paddle on the wall of the principal's office for doling it out.
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    As I've said many times before, heaven help the adult who lays a finger on any of my children. He or she will be hearing from the police and then my lawyer before the red mark fades.

    My kids aren't angels, but they don't get in trouble at school.

    But even if they did, NO ONE touches my kids.

    Heather, are kids also allowed to hit the adults, or is that considered assault??
     
  12. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    My research shows that spanking works with some kids.
    And my experience is the ones that say never touch my kids are
    the parents of kids that would never need a swat. That said I have seen a few exceptions and the results are funny. When we have called a few parents to come pick up their child instead of paddling they have said " OK go ahead and give them one."
     
  13. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    As for us neanderthal southerners, most of the schools around me gave up the big paddle years ago. But I can tell you this, there was much more order and respect when the principal was able to use it. And with that order I'm betting more learning went on.
    AND at many houses the spanking at home was worse than the paddling at school if the message got there.
     
  14. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think respect has fallen off world wide, most certainly nationwide, for a huge variety of reasons.
     
  15. Bumble

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    Sam, I teach in a very tough area too. We have parents encouraging their children to fight, but they know I won't put up with that in my room, so they respect that. Yes, parents should be held accountable. We have a lot of issues, but I set the tone and expectations for my class.
     
  16. Cerek

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    Really? How many Southern schools have you worked in or visited to support this claim. Or is it easier to just disparage the South because of fictional stereotypes? Despite popular myths, most schools (even in the South) no longer allow corporal punishment.

    I see many members here using cliche's or fierce rebuttals to condemn corporal punishment. What I do not see are these same members offering suggestions for forms of discipline they consider more appropriate or effective. If you don't approve of or agree with corporal punishment, that is fine. Just tell us what forms of punishment or discipline you think are better.

    The OP asked what discipline techniques were recommended to eliminate behavior problems? So far, I've seen very few answers to this question.
     
  17. dragonfly05

    dragonfly05 Companion

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    I really believe we need to try to enforce more positive reinforcement. It takes more time to implement, but it works! Students with behavior problems usually long for attention...good or bad. They don't care how they get it or what kind it is. Why not make it positive? Reward good behavior.

    If you see students disrupting the class, instead of giving them the attention they want (negative) by telling them to stop, giving a time out, spanking them (which I personally don't agree with)--look for a student who is on task and say, "I like the way so and so is showing me he/she is ready to learn". It is amazing how quickly the rest of the class will do what you want. I have used this in various classrooms, I use it in subbing all the time. It's harder to do, because naturally we want to stamp out the negative behavior right away. It doesn't hurt to try it. I'm not saying however, that if a child is causing danger to him/herself or someone else, that you ignore the behavior and find someone who isn't harming someone...obviously that has different consequences But, I have found that positive reinforcement makes life so much easier on the teacher, and you end up with a positive classroom environment, rather than a negative one.

    Just my :2cents:
     
  18. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    Forget whether it's corporal punishment or not for a moment. Behavioral research does show that punishment sometimes works, and shows the circumstances under which it works. It works to reduce a behavior, when applied consistently, impersonally, and immediately following the target behavior. There is a huge host of potential highly negative side effects when done badly.

    I do not feel schools are set up to administer punishment in a way that's effective. I do not feel that teachers are trained in the proper use of punishment or evaluation of the results. Badly administered punishment I would no longer define as punishment, but abuse (yes, and this is even if it's a light swat).
     
  19. Teaching_101

    Teaching_101 Companion

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    I agree with this statement and suggest that it is the root of the corporal punishment debate.

    Fact is, badly administered punishment (whether corporal or not) is not effective. Appropriately administered punishment (whether corporal or not) is effective.

    There is no blanket statement that corporal punishment is bad and alternative types of punishment are good. It is how the punishment is administered that determines whether it can be successful or not.

    However, poorly administered corporal punishment is much worse than poorly administered alternative types of punishment. That is why it is very rationale for people like Aliceacc to be very upset if anyone touches their child, for the administration runs the risk of poorly administering corporal punishment, which can devastate young children.

    I myself believe in corporal punishment, but also believe that it is too risky to be administered in schools. I was once a victim of corporal punishment misuse when I was in junior high.
     
  20. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    I agree with both of the previous two posters. Litigation and
    people looking for attention/$$$ whatever make it almost stupid to do anymore. We are like the blindmen describing an elephant.
    We all have a different perspective. I was paddled in school and never abused. My dad used a belt on me as a kid and it was not fun but it was the way people did it back then. It never damaged me because I knew my dad loved me and still does. And the people at school cared about me, too. Children are all different. Just the threat of a spanking will keep a large majority in line. Some you could spank everyday and it would not make a difference. It works on some. I respect everyone's opinion. Recently, at my two schools we have focused very hard on positive behavior and rewards. I see it working for most kids but we still have that group that could care less and will do what they want. I think a swat once in awhile is way better for them than some crappy alternative school they eventually end up in because their behavoir escelates. No easy answers.
    We debate this a few times a year here and its always the same
    thing. Some hate it and some think works.
     
  21. HeatherY

    HeatherY Habitué

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    It is not a cliche. Where you live it is probably not true, but there are many schools who still use paddling. My aunt's school in Florida still does it. Teachers are not allowed to carry it out, they send the child to the principal. I have a student in my class from Mississippi who was also paddled at his former school. I think the more urbanized areas have gotten rid of it, but most of the southern states have no laws outlawing it.
     
  22. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I have been known to swat my kids on the hands or tush.

    Once Brian was playing with an electrical outlet. I placed his hands in my hands and clapped- loud!!! The noise and the slight slap were enough to keep him away from outlets until he was old enough to realize that they were dangerous.

    But, as Stephen mentioned, that slap was tempered with the incredible love I have for all 3 of my kids. It's a totally different feeling for the affection I have for the kids I teach.

    So, no, I don't trust a teacher or an administrator or anyone else to lay a finger on my chldren. Call me, pull me out of class, and tell me what they did. I promise you, they will regret anything they did that was out of line. But KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF MY KIDS!!!!

    One other side issue: we tell kids constantly that bullying is wrong-- that school is a violence free zone-- that they are not to lay a hand on another student. Yet apparently there are still some places where a 40 year old man is allowed to hit a 6 year old girl--with a piece of wood, no less. I'm sorry, the only difference I see in the 2 scenarios is that when the bully is an adult, he gets away with his actions.

    Teachers are supposed to be mandated reporters. If I saw a parent abuse a child, I would be legally bound to call CPS, and people here have talked about calling for far less than a paddling. So it's abuse if a parent hits his child with a baseball bat, but OK if the principal does it with a paddle??? Is it only the words "Louisville Slugger" that make a difference???


    If it were legal in my district, I would either move, put my kids into private school, or homeschool. Forget the fact that my kids haven't ever gotten into big trouble. ("Big" as in "more than losing recess for a day.") I object strongly to any school system that permits adults to bully children.
     
  23. halpey1

    halpey1 Groupie

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    I have always subscribed to the Responsive Classroom philosophy and it has mostly worked well for me. If you give most kids respect, they will show it back to you.
     
  24. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    This is exactly why I don't agree with corporal punishment. I have read the posts that claim that punishment is effective if delivered correctly. I truly am curious (and I'm not trying to be rude) how does an adult hit a child effectively? My children are raised and I never hit them so I really don't know the answer to that question.
     
  25. blindteacher

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    I don't use corporal punishment. I find other methods more effective for both me and my son. I prefer talking to him about what he did wrong, why it was dangerous, why he shouldn't do it again, etc. I do understand that different methods work for different children and that not all children are responsive to their parents' disappointment the way my son is.

    I am definitely not okay with corporal punishment in a school. The risk of hurting the child is too great. A parent who loves his or her child overall may be able to spank the child as punishment but still manage to get across the message of "I love you" overall. However, a teacher or administrator doesn't have that same relationship.

    In fact, I believe most parents can't responsibly use corporal punishment, because most parents don't know where the line between punishment and abuse is. Many parents "spank" out of anger or frustration and are using their child more as a punching bag for themselves than they are teaching their child a lesson.
     
  26. Teaching_101

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    Aliceacc answered your question.

    "the noise and the slight slap were enough to keep him away from outlets until he was old enough to realize that they were dangerous.

    But, as Stephen mentioned, that slap was tempered with the incredible love I have for all 3 of my kids."
     
  27. love_reading

    love_reading Comrade

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    You have never heard of an elementary teacher using time out?? That is exactly what I do and yes, I do it at the moment of misbehavior! It's 1 warning then time out. My time out spot is by the door. They have 5 minutes and then rejoin the group. There are other consequences if they have multiple time outs in one day.
    Also, hurting someone else results in immediate removal and phone call home.

     
  28. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    It could be that the people who believe in corporal punishment display the kind of parenting behavior that brings out misbehavior in their children - rather than the other way around.

    I look forward to the day that non-punitive working with children is the norm everywhere and no one considers punishing behavior towards children to be an effective discipline technique.
     
  29. wrice

    wrice Habitué

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    I believe we should be trying to teach children rationality, conflict resolution, respect for others, rights and responsibilities.

    I think logical consequences for a misbehavior (having to miss an activity, write an apology, make amends, fix something broken) is much more influential than swats, and teaches kids how to recover from mistakes instead of suffer helplessly through them.

    Along the lines of Alice's statement, physical abuse to children is illegal and indefensible. Corporal punishment is a slippery slope on the same scale.

    I don't think parenting is generally the same as it once was, and a number of other factors contribute to behavioral challenges in the classroom. But a system of logical and appropriate consequences to bad behavior has to prevail over corporal punishment.
     
  30. TeacherShelly

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    We have a court system in my 2nd/3rd grade classroom. It is made up of volunteer student judges. They missed a recess to hear about the requirements to be a judge. They all signed a promise to be fair and wise. Now when kids have a conflict, they can go before the judges. The judges hear both sides, ask questions, and make a final decision regarding the consequences.

    This has been phenomenal in terms of finding appropriate consequences and having those seen as fair. I appreciate that it is not a top-down grown-up punishing the child.
     
  31. Cerek

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    Just because there is no laws outlawing the practice doesn't mean it is widespread or common practice within those states. You mentioned 1 school in Florida that still does it. Stephenpe teaches in FL and stated most schools around him have stopped the practice.

    There are currently 21 states in which corporal punishment is still legal. Of those 10 are spread across the country and include the states of Colorado, Indiana and Ohio. And, again, just because it isn't against the law doesn't mean it happens in every school.

    I live in a very rural area of NC. My children have attended 2 different elementary schools and 1 middle school. I've subbed in most of the middle schools and the alternative school and I can personally attest to the fact that corporal punishment is not allowed in our district.

    If you don't agree with corporal punishment, that is fine. But it still behooves us all to research facts before making generalized statements. Whenever you choose to paint with a broad brush, you are certain to go outside the lines.

    And - getting back on topic - I still see very few posts that actually list alternative disciplines (along with specific examples) they consider to be better. I think it's understood that many (perhaps even most) members here disagree with spanking. So let's focus on examples of other disciplines or approaches and list examples. It's nice to know you and/or your school prefers to focus on a "positive reward system", but unless we are told what the positive rewards are and how they are implemented, we're still only getting half the story.
     
  32. TeacherShelly

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    Here's an example or three of discipline in my school. Child squirts ketchup on the bathroom toilet seats. Consequence: child cleans the toilet seats. Yes, the parent is ok with that.

    Child hits another child. Court meeting: victim tells child how s/he felt and what s/he wants or needs to make amends. Aggressor repeats back to victim how his or her actions affected the victim until the victim agrees the aggressor really understands. Then the aggressor offers to make amends, or adds to the story to help class understand the whole story. Finally, judges create consequence and announce that to the class. Judgment is final. Recently, kids have been told to write apologies and given ideas on what to do when anger boils over (scream into a pillow, run hard around the field).

    Kid writes nasty note to another student. Court case. New rule in our class: no note writing. Nasty note writer has to apologize in writing to the victim and the rest of the class for causing a negative environment. Believe me, this was hard for the aggressor. Not punitive, though, and not done to hurt him.
     
  33. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Well, for starters, I'm in a high school, so it's an entirely different matter than elementary school. And I'm in a Catholic high school, so the worst offenders either don't come or don't last long before being thrown out.

    Our schoolwide discipline system is very clearly laid out. A student committing a misdemeanor type of offense-- chewing gum, basic rudeness to a teacher, late for class-- receives a "grey slip." It's a small grey slip of paper, briefly outlining the offense. The kid knows he has an hour of dean's detention after school.

    "Felonies" receive a green slip-- detention(s) plus a chat with the dean as well as demerits. 10 demerits get a letter sent home, 20 gets you suspended and 30 gets you expelled.

    Real serious issues, say a fight, bypass the system and land you in the dean's office immediately.

    But to be honest, I seldom use the system, at least for misdemeanors. I firmly believe that there's only so much authority in the world; the more I give to the dean, the less I'm seen as having myself.

    So how do I handle my classes?

    From day 1, the emphasis is on the material. I don't play games that first week. On that very first day, I briefly outline the way I do things, then I start teaching. I assign homework which is checked on day 2. Day 3 begins with a quiz. I teach bell to bell. So the overall expectation is that work WILL be accomplished. I'm convinced that this whole attitude cuts down on issues in my classes.

    I don't try to be friends with my kids, but I am friendly. They know that they WILL be on time, they WILL be in uniform and they WILL behave. I can't explain how they know, but they do.

    That said, I do inject humor into my classes, and allow the kids to do the same, within reason. So there's a running gag in my homeroom about a Platypus named Phoebe. And when I started teaching similarity, my classes heard a long (fictional) story about how my sister stole a brand new sweater from my drawer, and shrunk it (thus producing a sweater similar to the one I started with.)

    But there's a line, and the kids know not to cross it.

    I'm sorry, I can't be more specific. I don't know exactly why my classes tend to be quiet and well behaved, or why I hit such a chord with a lot of the kids I teach.

    It just works. It's indefinable and intangible, but it works.
     
  34. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    I watched corporal punishment all through elementary school.
    To a person, none of those I saw get it turned out badly or even think it is a big deal now. We laugh about it. We were little kids and back then grown ups were to be feared IF WE did something bad. Back then it was swift and specific. Most of us knew we deserved it for even other transgressions that were missed. Im not saying "beat on kids" I am saying all kids are different and modality even applies to correcting kids. A swat on the behind aint child abuse. Child abuse is allowing kids to go through life with consequences that never change behavior.
    And all my experiences show that ALL schools that practice it must have a release from a parent to even apply it. And all principals call home even before they attempt on ones that have the release form signed. We have lots of parents that have thrown up their hands and claimed they CANNOT control their kids. I think most of us know why.
    back to the PE field
     
  35. Cerek

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    I've done my best to avoid jumping into the corporal punishment fray, but I have to absolutely concur with what stephen is saying. One of the elementary schools attended by my sons did allow corporal punishment, but ONLY if the parents had signed a release form first. Even then, as Stephen said, the school STILL called the parent first before actually using that form of discipline. Corporal punishment was also only used after other methods had been tried first.

    While I respect the opinion of everyone here, comparing corporal punishment to beating a child with a Loiusville slugger is a horrid exaggeration. I disagree that parents can administer such punishment more appropriately than schools, because parents usually are angry and/or frustrated when they use that punishment. School officials - on the other hand - do not have the same emotional investment in the situation. Corporal punishment was just another form of discipline to be handed out for breaking the rules at school.

    First of all, the severity of the spanking varied significantly according to the age of the child involved. Kids in grades 1-4 usually just got a light swat. In grades 5-6, the swats were a little stronger, but still not anywhere near the "abuse" level. It wasn't until Jr. High that we actually had teachers we did NOT want to get a spanking from (usually PE teachers or football coaches). And if you did get caught breaking a rule by one of those teachers, you never made the same mistake twice. In high school, students were given a choice of a paddling or 3 days detention. Most actually chose the paddling because it was over and done with.

    Also, corporal punishment was rarely used on girls. Even when I was in school, they usually got some form of detention or repetitive writing instead of a spanking.

    There has been much said about administering discipline inappropriately. I've personally seen this happen with NON-corporal punishment. I was subbing in a middle school last year and had a student in my last class that simply would NOT stop giggling and laughing. It got to the point of being disruptive because I couldn't give the rest of the class instruction for the work that had been left. Finally, I told the student to go to the office until he could control his laughter. When he came back several minutes later, he wanted to know WHY he had been given 2 days of ISS for laughing. I was at a loss to answer that one myself and told him I had not intended for him to get ISS, I just wanted him to leave the classroom until he could quit laughing. Unfortunately, the P was having a very bad day that day and when this kid came in the office, the P exploded and decided to unload the consequences of his bad day on this kid.

    So ANY form of discipline can be administered inappropriately and create lasting resentment and anger in the child receiving it.
     
  36. blindteacher

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    Alice, you've mastered the most subtle yet most effective type of classroom management--the kind where your presence is not only felt but respected, where you seldom need to use outside tools for classroom management, where learning happens and work gets done, and where you can afford to have a sense of humor without sacrificing your students' respect for you.
     
  37. 3Sons

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    Hmmm, a sexist punishment doesn't sound like it's "appropriately administered" to me.

    Do I need to point out the contradiction here?

    Behaviorally, ISS is not punishment, corporal or otherwise. At least, not under most circumstances.

    You're absolutely right that non-corporal punishment can also be administered inappropriately, though. It often is. I don't see this as a reason to start applying corporal punishment, though. To paraphrase, "I will no longer tinker with the machinery of swat."*

    This falls exactly into the potential desensitization pattern. To make punishment effective you do NOT want to start with light punishment.

    There is far more to appropriate administration of punishment than severity. There is immediacy, there is the historical understanding of what will be aversive to that child, there is the elimination of escape responses, and an awareness of what punishment can be used for and what it cannot be used for. A schoolteacher cannot know the history of the child in that detail. A school that spends a lot of time, say, dragging the kid to the office, then calling the parent and getting approval to hit, is losing the immediacy they need to make it effective punishment. Teachers who cannot define punishment will end up applying it in situations where it is doomed to failure.

    I would mention, of course, that most parents aren't any better in terms of actually applying punishment due to their lack of knowledge.

    As far as the definition of abuse, mine is slightly different from those of many here, and I would distinguish between a legal definition of abuse and a psychological definition. The psychological definition I use is "aversive stimulus applied in a way that cannot be effective punishment". Thus, the severity is completely irrelevant -- only the implementation and effect are considered. In this sense, abuse connotes more purposelessness than harshness. If I go over and give my co-worker a poke for no reason, just enough to be annoying, it's "abuse" under my psychological definition. Legally, I would include a severity component (but note that my poke would still be battery). Just because I class something as abuse, it does not mean I attach great moral condemnation to the abuser -- that would depend on other factors of the abuse.

    Conversely, Aliceacc's clapping her child's hands immediately after he starts fooling around with the electric outlet is definitely NOT abuse, regardless of how hard she does it (alright -- I might draw the line at permanent physical injury. But she could definitely leave bruises and I wouldn't class it as psychological abuse).


    * Justice Harry Blackmun, dissent, Callins v. Collins
     
  38. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Jan 29, 2010

    I don't think parents throw up their hands in frustration that they can't control their kid because they haven't resorted to corporal punishment. Many times they've tried the spanking route and that didn't work either. Spanking is not a panacea.
     
  39. wrice

    wrice Habitué

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    A month ago I swatted my dog on the nose for digging in the garbage can and my three year old daughter saw me. I was horrified when I saw her slap our dog the next day for not listening to her command to sit.

    Hitting breeds hitting. Swats do nothing to help the child resolve the conflict or recover and make amends for their errors.
     
  40. alilac

    alilac Rookie

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    I would beg to say the opposite. Kids are completely and totally out of control. We're not talking beating. We're talking a swat. It's a feel good, all about me, big on self esteem society and it's completely out of control.

    So in answer to the question, I don't play the 3 strikes game. One strike you're out. It'll take about a week. Moderation is the key. You don't ignore the bad kids and reward only good behavior. It's a bit of both. There's too much good behavior rewarding to the point that kids all feel like they're owed something for everything. Good behavior is expected. Incentives are good, however they can be overdone. And you don't yell, you do it in love with a stern voice. And, it's gotten to where teachers and parents beg or ask....please Johnny, would you do this? Please? Oh please. It's, "Johnny I need you to do ____. Thank you for being such a good listener and doing it right away!"
     
  41. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 2, 2010

    Which kids??

    Not mine.

    Not the ones I teach.
     

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