Tuesday July 22 2014

Corporal punishment does not enhance children’s learning

Some adults think that if children do not fear them, they will disrespect them. These adults believe that by instilling fear in children, they can mould their value system and teach them to appreciate their heritage.

Corporal punishment will not make children respect you or your ideas. Respect is earned by giving respect and helping children see for themselves the benefits of respecting those around them. Furthermore, if we want children to respect culture and tradition, we have to help them understand how culture and tradition enrich our lives; we need to teach children about their heritage in a manner that respects and preserves their dignity.

It is unfortunate that many adults believe that learning only occurs when associated with pain. Most people attribute their success to threat of punishment when they were younger. This is very wrong!

Positive reinforcement and compassion are more powerful motivators for children (and adults!). When forced to learn under the threat of a stick, children often memorise the correct answers instead of internalising the deeper logic about what makes those answers correct. Over time, these children become poorer learners compared to children who grasp the underlying principles.

That is why government has put in place legislation and policies for the protection of children against abuse. These provisions ensure that our children have a constitutional right to be educated without humiliating and degrading treatment.

Martin Kiiza,
National Council for Children