Introduction Schools are the social institutions that are traditionally concerned with the role of the transfer of knowledge besides other aspects of culture to upcoming generations. Knowledge may involve skills and mannerisms that enable individuals to function in society. As a social institution, the school performs the function of developing an all rounded person for the welfare of the society (Lwo and Yuan 138). The functionality of individuals involves their cultural induction that consequently involves the instillation of virtues that the society cherishes.
Besides, it also involves the condemnation of vices that the society perceives as detrimental. Violence is one of the vices condemned across diverse cultures. The school as a social institution is expected to train individuals who later co-exist in a society free of violence. In schools, teachers play the roles of both mentors and educators to children. Consequently, they act as disciplinarians to children, a function that sometimes puts them at loggerheads with the virtues that they promote (UNICEF 2012). Teachers have several alternatives in the instillation of discipline to ensure effective classroom management (Lwo and Yuan 138).
Corporal punishment is one of the options frequently used in the school set up. According to Lwo and Yuan (138), corporal punishment is one of the most controversial approaches in the enforcement of discipline. Corporal punishment is controversial not only in schools, but also in correctional facilities. This essay argues that the use of corporal punishment in Singapore is deleterious when one considers its negative impacts in the learning environment. Corporal punishment causes destructive emotional and psychological pain on children.
Besides, the practice teaches children that the use of violence is an option that they can choose in the solution of certain problems. Negative impacts of corporal punishment in the school set up Corporal punishment involves the infliction of pain on the offender as a retribution for his/her offense. In the school set up, corporal punishment involves the use of physical force that intends to inflict pain to the child for purposes of correcting the child’s behavior. The banning of corporal punishment on children started in Sweden in 1979 (Lwo and Yuan 138).
Since then, most countries across the globe have followed suit in the illegalization of corporal punishment in schools. The ban is premised on the fact that corporal punishment is inhumane and has negative impacts on learning. Scholars and educationists argue that corporal punishment provides no educational purpose and consequently lacks rational justification (Human Rights Watch 2010). With regard to practicality, corporal punishment does not foster a productive learning environment. Research shows that corporal punishment is not only ineffective but is also associated with negative learning outcomes (University of Toronto 2011).
The meaning of corporal punishment lies in the intention of infliction of pain. The assumption is that both the educator and the offender hold a common view of what constitutes unpleasant. Unfortunately, learning does not thrive in an environment of pain since it requires emotional stability for effective learning to take place. Corporal punishment is premised on the notion that it predisposes offenders to shame and disgrace (Lwo and Yuan 140). This is unfortunate since the learner feels that the punishment is meted as an expression of negative intention of the teacher towards the offender.
This perception of the negative intention towards the learner creates emotional instability that distracts the learner from effective learning. Terminologies such as unpleasantness, shame and disgrace make an effective learning environment, and are all associated with corporal punishment. Some scholars describe corporal punishment as an assault that involves an attack on a child’s self and that such a child cannot defend him/herself from it. Consequently there is an argument that such children cannot regain their dignity in the face of corporal punishment (University of Toronto 2011).
The result is that this creates resentment towards educators as children refrain from open communication with educators. Education involves the passage of knowledge between teachers and learners. Research shows that the success of the exercise is pegged to the existence of an open environment that facilitates free communication between teachers and students in the absence of fear. According to Lwo and Yuan (140), corporal punishment impairs the relationships between children and caretakers and consequently reduces communication between the parties.
This lack of communication creates an ineffective learning environment. From an ethical perspective, corporal punishment involves the infliction of pain that results in emotional and psychological impacts on the child. These impacts are mostly unpleasant and determine the socialization of the child. According to Lwo and Yuan (140), corporal punishment has undesirable side effects such as the attainment of lower grades, as well as cultivation of a culture of fear that results in running away from school. Fear is one of the underestimated effects of corporal punishment (UNICEF 2012).
It goes a long way in the socialization of the child and the overall development of personality. Corporal punishment results in fear of the teacher, fear of fear of the school as an institution, fear of humiliation and helplessness. The result is that heightened fear elevates anxiety and continuously affects the psychological development of the child. It is argued that corporal punishment predisposes children to antisocial behavior (Gershoff 38). This results from their exposure to emotional and psychological trauma that accompanies corporal punishment.
According to Lwo and Yuan (140), corporal punishment cultivates antisocial behavior across children from different racial and socio-economic backgrounds irrespective of cognitive stimulation and support. The concern is that adults who receive corporal punishment in their formative years are more prone to depression and violence. The continuous practice of corporal punishment robs the child off the feeling of self worth as well as self respect, hence leads to withdrawal and aggression. Corporal punishment increases the risk of children exposure to abuse.
Research shows that children who receive spanking regularly have increased chances of participating in undesirable behaviors. They are more likely to cheat, lie or engage in disobedience, and consequently show less remorse for misconduct. According to Gershoff (39), corporal punishment is associated with an increase in aggression in Singapore. The emotional and psychological impacts lead to poor academic performance in schools. The practice of corporal punishment indirectly teaches children that violence is a solution to problems. Society shuns violence yet corporal punishment involves the propagation of such violence on children.
Corporal punishment receives criticism for its stimulation of violence, aggression, as well as, bullying and crime in society. According to Lwo and Yuan (138), corporal punishment also leads to a rise in emotional disorders, and sexual abnormalities. The infliction of pain to offenders is meant to cause pain and not injury. Unfortunately, corporal punishment is replete with cases of physical damage, injuries and endangers the health of children (Human Rights Watch 2010). Apart from placing the lives of children at risk, corporal punishment indirectly cultivates violent behavior in society.
Lwo and Yuan (141) argue that children exposed to corporal punishment end up as violent adults and assault their children and spouses. Corporal punishment sends the message that violence is a feasible option for the solution of problems. This deleterious effect of corporal punishment negates the very purpose that punishment. Conclusion There has been debate on the effectiveness of corporal punishment in the correction of misconduct in schools. The practice is rooted in traditions that emphasize that sparing the rod spoils the child.
However, the practice of corporal punishment in Singapore has deleterious effects since the exercise leads to pain, fear and anxiety that disrupt the learning environment. Corporal punishment leads to fear of teachers and the school in general hence spoils communication between learners and teachers. Consequently, it leads to school dropouts as children avoid school for fear of punishments. Corporal punishment results in emotional and psychological impacts that yield anti social behavior. Research shows that it predisposes children to depression and violence in their latter years.
Consequently, it teaches them that violence is an option in the solution of problems. This makes corporal punishment an ineffective corrective approach in Singaporean schools.
Works Cited Gershoff, Elizabeth T. “More harm than good: A summary of scientific research on the intended and unintended effects of corporal punishment on children. ” Law and Contemporary Problems 73. 2(2010): 31-56. Human Rights Watch. “Corporal Punishment in Schools and Its Effect on Academic Success” Joint HRW/ACLU Statement. (2010). Viewed 18 Nov. 2012, from, <http://www. hrw.org/news/2010/04/14/corporal-punishment-schools-and-its-effect-academic-success-joint-hrwaclu-statement>.
Lwo, Laurence L. , and Yuan, You-Shi. “Teachers’ Perceptions and Concerns on the Banning of Corporal Punishment and Its Alternative Disciplines. ” Education and Urban Society 43. 2(2011): 137-164. UNICEF. Singapore. (2012). Viewed 18 Nov. 2012, from, ;http://www. endcorporalpunishment. org/pages/progress/reports/singapore. html; University of Toronto. “Corporal punishment may have long-term negative effects on children’s intelligence. ” ScienceDaily, 26 Jul. 2011. Web. 18 Nov. 2012.