A Good Spanking is What He Needs

The Efficacy of Punishment

Corporal punishment is legal under federal law. The Supreme Court ruled in 1977 that the Eighth Amendment only protects convicted criminals from cruel and unusual punishment. School students are not protected.* Of course, as used in the schools, and it still is in many, it’s a heavily regulated practice. Students aren’t immediately slapped by the teacher. Rather they are turned over to an administrator who applies the punishment as stipulated in the school rules. It is the ultimate punishment.

Is it a good idea? NO it isn’t. When a teacher has to resort to the highest level of punishment available, especially when it has to be administered by someone else, it’s an admission of the teacher’s failure to control the student by virtue of his leadership. The obstreperous student has won.

Good behavior control in the classroom is based first on a mutual understanding that what is going on during the class is just too important to be disrupted by inappropriate behavior. Of course the first step in conveying that message is for the teacher to maintain an academic, purpose-driven lesson plan. In such a setting there will be considerable social pressure from other kids that discourages outbursts. There is certainly room for occasional humor and friendly banter, but wasting time or endlessly yukking it up with the kids will surely encourage them to do the same. And who could blame them?

Mild misbehavior or inattentiveness should be handled with a disapproving look or polite request to get back on task. These techniques are described in length elsewhere on this website. Indeed, any form of punishment is counterproductive as it indicates a failure of leadership. Your job is to teach. Anyone who interferes with that, and won’t stop, should be quietly removed. You could have them sit in the back of the room, or the hall, or even in the principal’s office. Of course you will welcome them back when they’ve convinced you they have settled down.

Beyond making the teacher look weak, corporal punishment teaches students that physical force and pain are an accepted way to control others. Also, it may have a depressing effect on learning. One study which compared improvements in ACT scores from 1994 to 2008 found that states where paddling was forbidden had improvement rates three times higher than those which didn’t.

Punishment of any sort drives a wedge between you and your students.  So, what should you do?  Certainly you’ll have times when you’ll have to correct misbehavior. Rather than punishing, you might say, “Josh, please stop doing that. You’re distracting others and wasting class time. It’s just not fair for you to interfere with the education of all the other students. If you don’t stop I’ll just have to remove you until you promise to stop.” Of course, this conversation should be done as quietly and as privately as possible – not something you shout across the room. While others might inevitably overhear it, your demeanor should indicate that you aren’t trying to embarrass him by making him a public spectacle.  You aren’t acting out of anger, although you are, perhaps, a bit disappointed in him.  He’s is forcing you to remove him to protect the learning environment that your other students deserve.

*Currently (2012) these states still allow corporal punishment: Alabama Arizona Arkansas Colorado Florida Georgia Idaho Indiana Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Mississippi Missouri North Carolina Oklahoma South Carolina Tennessee Texas Wyoming

Permanent link to this article: http://bethebestteacher.com/a-good-spanking-is-what-he-needs


  1. Martin J Sallberg says:

    As shown in metastudies “Mind, Brain and Education” by Kurt Fischer and Christina Hinton at Harvard University, tolerant environments are the key factor to miraculous mental regaining after brain damage. This solves the rapid evolution paradox, that the existence of rapid evolution implies that individual differences can easily be selected on and quickly become group differences. This means that you cannot have both nature explanations for individual psychiatry and nurture explanations for ethnic differences, since the law of rapid evolution decrees that group differences must be explained by the same thing as individual differences. There must thus be a missing environmental factor effectively taken into account by studies of race but overlooked by studies of individual psychiatry. Since racist discrimination is a form of intolerance, the tolerance factor does explain it. Miraculous mental restorations are known even when the whole cerebral cortex is missing. Maybe extensive tool use made our ancestors value each others as problem solvers to learn from. Why tolerance matters? Well, vengeance (of which punishment is just a version) causes pressure to blame on others, which in combination with non-punishment of certain immature individuals creates a social pressure to stop one’s own neuroplasticity. Idealistic justification further worsens the situation by paralyzing all self-correction. The objection that classic blank slate theory can be abused by tyrants is not appliceable to the tolerance matters version since tolerance is incompatible with tyranny. Such stupidity is what causes global destruction of the environment, so it is necessary for global survival to abolish the counterproductive idiocy that punishment is. A first moral individual born in a group where everyone else was amoral would not survive. The evolutionary psychologists are aware that it would be lethal if it was totally unconditional altruism, but their attempted solution about altruism combined with indignation towards freeloaders does not solve the problem at all. In that case, a first moral individual would hate all the others, which would have been just as lethal as completely unconditional altruism would. Thus, morality cannot have evolved by natural selection on purely random mutations. A better, meta-Lamarckian theory is about disaster cooperation on the lines of when hostile tribes become friends in the face of natural disasters because they must cooperate to survive. Such disaster cooperation made it unaffordable to kill or socially exclude others, and that tolerant environment (which boosts brain plasticity) allowed the disaster cooperation to act as a meta-Lamarckian basis for morality. This means that any claims that “some people are dangerously insane beyond repair” is bound to make creationist predictions which is obviously falsified. See Pure science Wiki.

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