Banning the use of cane to discipline students in Britain has led to a deterioration in children’s behaviour,teachers say,demanding ‘novel’ punishments to reassert their authority in the classroom.
Sanctions available to schools since corporal punishment was abolished 25 years ago are ‘totally inadequate’ at reasserting authority in the classroom and lack the same deterrent effect,the teachers said at the conference of the members of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers.
While rejecting a return to the cane,members of the association condemned existing sanctions such as detention and suspension,the Daily Mail reported.
‘Novel’ punishments are needed to allow teachers to reassert their authority in the classroom,they said. Delegates at the association’s annual conference voted unanimously for research into ‘effective’ disciplinary methods.
“When corporal punishment was abolished nothing was put in its place that had equivalent deterrent powers,” Julian Perfect,a teacher from London said.
Laws forbidding state schools from using the cane or slipper to discipline pupils were introduced in 1987,and a decade later in independent schools.
Subsequent governments had failed to give teachers sufficient sanctions,Perfect pointed out.
“While teachers have statutory authority to discipline pupils whose behaviour is unacceptable,governments have failed to suggest methods for making authority ‘meaningful’,” he added.
Suspensions and expulsions were now handed out all too rarely amid pressure on schools to reduce the number of pupils who are excluded from school,the conference heard.
Research by the teachers’ association suggested pupil behaviour had declined further in recent years.
“The children know that our hands are tied and play up frequently. In the past two years,we have only successfully permanently excluded one pupil. It is the good students whose education is being wrecked that I feel for,” a teacher said.
Proposing a motion aimed at tackling poor behaviour in the classroom,Perfect said: “This does not seek the reinstatement of corporal punishment but rather the identification of additional forms of sanction.”