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Did the threat of corporal punishment make you behave in school?

(29 Posts)
joash Fri 15-Apr-05 11:17:26

Following on from the other thread, I was wondering if having the 'threat' hanging over your head, actually made anyone behave better than they might have done if they could have got away with something?

dinosaur Fri 15-Apr-05 11:19:11

No. I was so terrified of the teacher that sheer fear sometimes made me do things wrong, like the never-to-be-forgotten day when I spilled ink on her and my desk (we had to use inkpens and it was my turn to fill up the inkwells - she shouted at me and my hands shook).

expatinscotland Fri 15-Apr-05 11:20:28

Yes. It kept me in line pretty well. Especially as our school district did expulsions for persistent bullies and violent, aggressive kids and they bused from across town to a school that was structured on a prison.

Mothernature Fri 15-Apr-05 11:20:52

I suppose to some extent, but then I was an exeedingly good girl.....

joash Fri 15-Apr-05 11:23:42

That's what I thought - everyone I know, experienced corporalm punishment at school and admit that the threat made them reasonably well behaved. So why do we react so strongly at the thought of our own kids having to be under the same threat?

joash Fri 15-Apr-05 11:24:10

And yet at the same time, complain about obnoxious school thugs, who appear to get away with anything.

dinosaur Fri 15-Apr-05 11:25:19

Because I don't want my children to be terrorised the way I was!

JoolsToo Fri 15-Apr-05 11:25:29

yes - definitely! we had it but it was very rarely used - some of those stories on the other thread are shocking! I would have thought 50's schools were worse but apparently not!

Gobbledigook Fri 15-Apr-05 11:25:53

I don't know whether it did as I was a bit of a goody two shoes at school anyway but I certainly had a healthy respect for authority and would have been mortified to be even told off by a teacher, never mind caned.

That respect seems to have been lost somewhere down the line in a lot of areas and I wonder why.

Gobbledigook Fri 15-Apr-05 11:27:31

I wonder how you achieve that balance then between being 'terrorised' and just having respect for authority such that you just really don't want to get into trouble?

JoolsToo Fri 15-Apr-05 11:28:06

did you really feel 'terrorised'?

I wouldn't use that word in my case - the teachers had presence anyway and just the raising of a voice could settle a class - but I guess the knowledge of further punishment down the line was always at the back of your mind. It certainly hasn't scarred me and I don't recall any bullying at my primary either.

expatinscotland Fri 15-Apr-05 11:31:11

Same here, Jools. I had already learned respect for authority and discipline in the home, so it was n/thing knew to have to behave (or at least make sure I didn't get caught ) in school.

marialuisa Fri 15-Apr-05 11:31:26

No, I was very well behaved anyway (never even had a demerit, let alone a detention!). The kids that got hit weren't actually naughty IYSWIM, they just got too many spellings wrong or knocked stuff over.

There is no way I'd put DD in a school where corporal punishment was allowed, she actually refused to go and play at a friend's house after the mum smacked another of her kids as she was so petrified so I can't imagine her reaction to seeing teachers hit the kids.

PuffTheMagicDragon Fri 15-Apr-05 11:31:46

I don't think the threat of it made any difference to my behaviour at all. I was well behaved and that was that.

A lad who sat next to me received the slipper etc continually. It had no impact at all on him, except once, when he came back from the Head's office and silent tears dripped onto his exercise book. I held his hand quietly under the desk but didn't say anything.

The things he was slippered for would today be properly recognised as special needs - he was definitely dyslexic - very very very bright (much more than me and I was pretty sharp), but unable to communicate his brilliance on paper. He also had huge concentration problems. Despite him being in the top stream with me, the work was largely too easy for him and he was bored out of his brain.

A few months ago, I heard from another friend who was at school with us, that he now works for IBM in the States - very senior role in their develoment team. He will have done all this off his own back. No help, support or encouragement from the education system whatsoever.

joash Fri 15-Apr-05 11:32:50

Gobbledigook - thats what I wonder. Why have todays children (and many of their parents) got no respect for authority?

dinosaur Fri 15-Apr-05 11:33:50

Yes I bloody did feel terrorised. I used to pray each night that I would wake up next morning with some illness that would be sufficiently bad to keep me off school (not surprisingly, I did suffer from recurrent bouts of tonsillitis from the age of 7 to 10).

PuffTheMagicDragon Fri 15-Apr-05 11:35:47


I know my Mum felt terrorised. School was a really traumatic experience for her.

wild Fri 15-Apr-05 11:36:25

Yes, definitely
I don't have a problem with it as long as the key word is 'threat' and actual use is exceptional. I suffered more from sadistic teachers' use of ridicule, sarcasm etc than a rap on the knuckles
Nowadays, apart from not being allowed to cane children, teachers are not supposed to hug them
I think this is going too far

JoolsToo Fri 15-Apr-05 11:39:45

I do think its completely inappropriate and wrong for corporal punishment to be used for poor work or bad marks!

At our primary when it was used it was for bad behaviour

tabitha Fri 15-Apr-05 11:39:52

No, it didn't make me behave better, it just made me lose respect for the teachers who did it. The teachers I did respect were the ones who could control a class without having to resort to physically beating them.

happymerryberries Fri 15-Apr-05 11:40:36

I think that in general behaviour was better when there was corporal punishment but I do not think that it was the threat of CP that kept people reasonably in line. I think that parents, in general, saw to it that their children went to school knowing, roughly, how to behave.

I do know that the behaviour I see in school was the exception when I was in school in the 70s, due to better parental dicepine and the fact that violent offenders were excluded.

JoolsToo Fri 15-Apr-05 11:42:15

good point hmb - the thought of my parents being informed of any misdoings on my part was one reason I was reasonably well behaved - although I had my moments

Potty1 Fri 15-Apr-05 11:50:57

I didn't feel terrorised....but I was a goody two shoes too.

The threat or fear is something that has disappeared and I think with it has gone respect for authority. After all what prevents us as adults from breaking the law? --- The fear of the consequences. In schools the children have no fear of the consequences of their actions. They are not afraid of what will happen if they misbehave, disrupt the class, attack another child or member of staff.

I'm not an advocate of corporal punishment at school BTW but know from my own children's experiences that something needs to change.

joash Fri 15-Apr-05 12:04:40

I agree potty. But what can be changed when it's possible to see parents behaving violently or aggressivly towards teachers - often in front of their children.

Potty1 Fri 15-Apr-05 13:24:00

I know joash - you learn what you live Ds2 had a tooth knocked out by one such child and the father has somewhat of a reputation for violence.

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