From Ralph Lane et al

I have just read, almost by accident, the article “K. D. Anderson and the cane”, and I am moved to comment thus. I was a secondary school teacher for many years. During that time, physical punishment was still used but was culturally in decline and was eventually abolished altogether. Although I do not think I have any over-arching philosophical objections to some kinds of punishment including the physical, I did witness it twice and I have to admit it upset me. Can we perhaps have a debate here? I’ll start the ball rolling by getting out of the way the two cliches “It never did me any harm” and “Bring back the cane”.

Tony Cook: I’m afraid this question has brought out the academic in me. I will post links to some articles relating corporal punishment to subsequent behaviour. So far-” In a randomised controlled trial of an intervention designed to reduce difficult child behaviours,24 parents in more than 500 families were trained to decrease their use of physical punishment. The significant parallel decline seen in the difficult behaviours of children in the treatment group was largely explained by the parents’ reduction in their use of physical punishment.” But this only relates to parental punishment.

And for Teachers:-…/art…/pii/0145213483900042
In many countries, corporal punishment of school children continues to be an officially or unofficially sanctioned form of institutional child abuse. Continuing support for the use of corporal punishment is related to the following factors: (1) widely held beliefs regarding the effectiveness of corporal punishment, (2) an unawareness of problems resulting from the use of physical punishment, and (3) a lack of knowledge about effective disciplinary alternatives. The purpose of this paper is threefold: One is to show that many of the beliefs are myths, e.g., corporal punishment is not needed to build character. The second purpose is to show that physical punishment can lead to more problems than it appears to solve, e.g., the punitive teacher is avoided, and thus, is not a positive factor in the child’s education and development. The third purpose is to discuss two types of alternatives to punishment, the social learning approach and communication skills training. These positive methods of discipline not only enhance classroom behaviour, but also facilitate learning. In an atmosphere free of abusing and demeaning acts and in a classroom characterised by positive mutual regard, teachers can maximise their effectiveness as teachers and students can maximise their effectiveness as learners.

And for Richard D Wood-Kneller: Résumé
Dans beaucoup de pays, on continue à pratiquer officiellement ou non les châtiments corporels sur la personne des enfants, à l’école. Les facteurs suivants expliquent cette persistance de popularité de la méthode: (1) On croit que les châtiments corporels sont particulièrement efficaces. (2) On ignore les problèmes qui résultent des châtiments corporels. (3) On ignore également les méthodes disciplinaires autres que les châtiments corporels et leur efficacité. Les auteurs de l’article avaient 3 buts: (1) Démontrer que beaucoup des croyances au sujet des châtiments corporels sont fausses, c’est-à-dire que ce n’est pas une bonne méthode pour fortifier le caractère. (2) Démontrer que les châtiments corporels créent plus de problèmes qu’ils n’en résolvent, c’est-à-dire que l’enseignant qui exerce ce genre de punition est ensuite évité par élève et ainsi, il ne projette pas une image positive dans l’éducation et le développment de l’enfant. Le troisième but était de présenter des méthodes alternatives, c’est-à-dire l’apprentissage social (modification du comportement) et l’entraînement à la maîtrise des communications. Ces méthodes sont positives et non seulement renforcent un bon comportement en classe, mais aussi augmentent la faculté d’apprendre. Dans une atmosphère sans violence et sans drame, dans une classe où règne le respect mutuel, les enseignants peuvent augmenter au maximum leur efficacité et les écoliers peuvent augmenter également au maximum leur rendement en tant qu’étudiants.

Tony Cook: In essence, both studies say – Don’t do it. It does more harm than good to the kids. It may have a beneficial effect on the perpetrators which is why it persists. It is essentially the abuse of an asymmetric power relationship.

Richard D Wood-Kneller:  Tony: Merci mon cher ami fraternel. Tu m’as fait beaucoup de plaisir avec ta réponse dans un français parfait. J’admets volontairement que je ne suis pas du tout “Politically Correct” dans beaucoup de domaines. Le sujet du châtiment corporel n’est qu’un exemple. Nous restons amis malgré nos différences et je suis heureux de voir les arguments des uns et des autres. “Que veut le peuple !?”

And while we’re about it, what about playing marbles as a particularly annoying activity.

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Richard Dudley Wood-Kneller WHEREAS frequent complaints have been made to us of many idle and disorderly BBC persons doing their best to destroy the Queen’s English, to the great nuisance of Old Cicestrians and others of this ilk. Now we do hereby give notice that all persons found so offending will be punished with the utmost severity of the Law. This will involve a forty minute detention and writing out one hundred times “I must try harder to understand the subjunctive. God save the Queen.”