Saturday, December 16, 2006

Should Public Caning Be Allowed In Schools?

There is a report in TheStar today entitled "public caning frowned upon," where the deputy minister attempts to justify why there should be no corporal punishment. That got me thinking and thus this post.

I'm not very sure about current trends or thoughts on the subject, but I firmly believe that public caning at schools in the past had instilled discipline in students then. Whether the operating factor was fear or not, the end result was that students then understood what rules and regulations were and the price to be paid for breaking them.

Somewhere along the way we got carried away with newfangled ideas of enforcing discipline, and the maxim "spare the rod and spoil the child," became anathema to the education system and to parents alike. Those who persisted in the old ways were seen as either cruel, not in tune with the times or mentally unstable.

Politicians, ever the opportunists, started to sing the new mantra of 'talking to and making children understand' rather than simply caning them. Sounds good on paper but did it work? The popular argument is that caning students somehow predisposes them to violent behaviour when they become adults and that they are both physically and psychologically affected. If we subscribe to that theory, then we must have had at least a few generations of maniacs and nutcases on the loose last century. We turned out pretty well even If I should say so myself. Of course it must be kept in mind that there should be a protocol to follow strictly in the implementation of corporal punishment.

At the St. John's Institution where I had my schooling, caning was neither spared nor frowned upon then. I'm not sure about the present. We had teachers who wouldn't hesitate a second to cane if they thought that someone deserved it. Among the more strict teachers who didn't spare the rod were Mr Morais, Bro Patrick and Mr Noel Chow. I still keep in touch with some of my schoolmates and frankly, none of us became mentally stunted or psychologically handicapped because of the caning we got. On the contrary most of us today will be considered 'successful' by any standards.

Mollycoddling parents along with some groups of psychologists and paediatricians are actually doing a great disservice to pupils by their total opposition to corporal punishment. Views on child rearing may have changed but the problem of discipline among school-going kids has changed in tandem too. The deciding question is this. Are we as parents happy with the state of discipline of our children at home and at school? How you answer that will provide the solution to the big query - Should public caning be allowed in schools?

The Star report HERE
Picture Source - honey3bun



Blogger Karen said...

Oh dear. I was not caned at school but was backhanded, caned and hit with a cavalry crop at home. I do not like the person it had turned me into because my initial reaction, when my two children do anything wrong, is to hit them across the face ... the same that my parents did. Is this good? How can it be?

Asian societies are big on talking about respect but that is a two-way street. I cannot expect respect from my children if I am not prepared to give them respect in return.

Your attitude tells me you are either childless or not very much into self-analysis. Yes, Asian societies continue to suffer from our attitudes to the vulnerable - the disabled, the young, the poor. How we act towards the most vulnerable members of society is a measure of the maturity of our society. And depending on corporal punishment is a mark of emotional and societal immaturity.

Yes, I give my children a smack occasionally, but it's a last resort, and my children know it. And I keep being told in public (by strangers) what wonderful, well-behaved children my husband and I have. There are many other ways of punishing children without using violence. The cane is just laziness, nothing else.

PS I have also been a teacher of teenagers, so can back this up from an educational angle as well. If you can't control your class without resorting to violence, you aren't fit to be a teacher in the first place.

12:08 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Bengbeng said...

either u miss the point or i miss the point. The Star report is about public caning and not caning as a way to discipline kids. I understand yr viewpoint and i respect it but i also respectfully differ :)

4:03 PM GMT+8  
Blogger The Malaysian. said...

Perhaps I should have made the distinction clearer. Thanks Bengbeng. As for differing, it was precisely why I wrote in the vein that I did so that it will evoke some debate instead of everyone plumping for "no caning."

4:28 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Billy said...

If one were to ask me, should caning be allowed back in schools, whether publicly or in the privacy of the headmaster's office, I say, go ahead. I am a product of the 60s system and from where I came from (the school that is), caning was the call of the day, and quite often, a long ring of the school bell would tell us that a public caning would be on and we were required to attend the assembly in the hall. Of course, this was for extreme cases where students have breached every rule in the book (smoking was considered one of them). Otherwise, for venial offences, we would be marched off to the HM's office, first for a severe reprimand to be followed by six of the best. But before doing so, he would open his cabinet to "introduce" us to his 3 friends, the canes - thin, medium and thick. We were then told to pick one which will be used on our butts. Many educators, sociologists and psychologists commented that it would affect the child emotionally and he would be scarred for life. On the contrary, the many of us who were "whacked" by either our HM or the disciplinary teachers, are today doctors, lawyers, engineers, consultants (including me), educators, etc. Once in a while when we had the chance to attend a reunion, we would often laugh away at the kind of pranks we played when we were in school and the punishment meted out on us. We hold no grudges against the HM or the teachers, and as a matter of fact, they would be the ones who would be quick to accept our invitations for reunions.

So, to our educators today, go ahead and do what you must do for it will all turn up for the best. Spare the rod and spoil the child, how true!.

6:33 PM GMT+8  
Blogger warrior2 said...

no matter what system you adopt in the school, there will always be succesful people i.e. lawyers, engineers, businessmen etcetc and THERE will also be gangsters, drug addicts etcetc. One cant use the arguament that the previous system of canning had produced MAGNIFICIENT/successful people today.

the old environment is different from current environment so adjustment is necessary. in the olden days, human rights and rights of even minor were non existent, at least in this country it was not.

we queried/debated about pros and cons of canning or public canning in schools. this article is about that. I can understand that. BUT let me ask you, for those who have children, or elder brothers or sisters to your siblings, do you smack and can your children/siblings everytime they do something wrong? ("capital" acts/offences). When you yourself dont believe in doing so to your children/siblings, how can you argue for it in the school, vice versa? are you saying, "education" is only for the school?

5:14 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Karen said...

Thank you warrior2

8:38 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a boy growing up in the u.k I experienced corporal punishment on
a regular basis. I received both the cane and the slipper from several male and female teachers
across my bottom. Girls were of
course exemptfrom any form of corporal punishment.

I was not a particularly badly behaved pupil, however it seemed that the punishments were quite the norm up until 1999 which is when they were abolished by the government.

The only thing I learnt from the punishments was resentment which is
not the best or desired feeling to
grow up with in an educational environment.

11:07 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Huuuh, I was a regular on detention class and used to get 6 pieces of rotans in front of the school assembly during my St John's days. I got from Bro Patrick and Alban Tang. I don't hate them.

10:08 PM GMT+8  

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