The removal of corporal punishment from the school system : something lost or something gained?

McGrath, Robert Robin (1999) The removal of corporal punishment from the school system : something lost or something gained? Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

The second half of the twentieth century witnessed a change in society that no longer accepted physical punishment of children at the hands of adults, whether the adult be the parent of the child or any other person acting in loco parentis. This change resulted in corporal punishment being removed from schools in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador as legislated by law. A similar law currently exists in each of the provinces and territories in the country of Canada. -- Research on the effects of corporal punishment has suggested that it has a negative impact on the growth of children mentally, emotionally, and socially. It is believed that this form of punishment did little to deter children from future acts of misbehaviour, nor did it meet the need of teaching more appropriate actions under similar circumstances. This physical action of corporal punishment is now considered to be an act of physical abuse. -- The aim of this study was to investigate the attitudes and perceptions of school administrators regarding behaviour patterns of children since the removal of corporal punishment from the school system, and to get a better understanding of their attitudes and perceptions towards the alternatives to corporal punishment. The study was qualitative in design and used the open-ended interview technique. In total, there were fifteen school administrators interviewed. -- The administrators interviewed in this study generally agreed that there has been a rise in the frequencies of inappropriate behaviours since the removal of corporal punishment from the school system. There were several reasons that were suggested to explain this rise in occurrences of inappropriate behaviours, but few of those interviewed felt it was as a result of the absence of corporal punishment. Some of the reasons suggested for the rise included an increase in the number of single parent families, change in family structure, and change in society expectations. -- The alternatives to corporal punishment were believed to be satisfactorily effective in the schools of several of the administrators interviewed, while several others felt they were not satisfactory. Despite the fact that there were several administrators who felt that the alternatives to corporal punishment were effective, all of those interviewed suggested that there needs to be a greater emphasis in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador to provide school-based personnel with more effective methods and resources of dealing with children who continuously misbehave in the classroom. This need stems from the belief that many children no longer respect, nor fear, the disciplinary actions that can be handed out by neither their parents, teachers, nor the law. -- It is because of this weakness in the current methods of discipline that exist in Newfoundland schools that administrators fear for the safety of students and teachers if the trend towards an increase in inappropriate behaviours continues to persist. What is needed, they suggest, are more innovative disciplinary measures that can only be brought about as the result of greater financial and human commitment. The time for that commitment, they feel, is now.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/1544
Item ID: 1544
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 134-137
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1999
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: School discipline--Newfoundland and Labrador; Corporal punishment--Newfoundland and Labrador

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