Dignified discipline?

Discipline measures or punishment; the two words are usually used in the same breath although they do not mean the same thing. The former conveys a positive approach whereas the latter is not so welcome. In fact in some circles, the word ‘punishment’ has been substituted for ‘restorative practices’.  For a school or any institution of learning which is a melting pot of so many people from different walks of life, not implementing discipline measures is unrealistic. An important question is, if the punishment does not achieve in changing the behaviour it intends to change or teaching a better one, is it effective and worth administering?

Although there are many forms of punishment, the most famous one is corporal punishment, and this is what research done by UNICEF has revealed about it: The child who regularly receives corporal punishment develops mental, physical and psychological weakness. Further, his behaviours turn violent and he becomes weak in studies.

Clearly physical or verbal violence is never the answer to the question of behaviour management. Sadly, it is still one of the most commonly used methods since a depressing number of parents and educators alike find it easier to wield their power over “weaker” beings who may not be able to stand up to them.

However, if one takes the trouble to find out the various discipline systems that are available, one would be pleasantly surprised at how much easier it is to mould behaviour and with exceedingly positive and more lasting results.

Different schools and educators have reward systems depending on the behaviour. In some schools it is mainly; detention — where students have to keep in school for some time on a given date for unwanted behaviour, others take away privileges like a favourite toy, break time or being part of a sports team or club.

You would be really surprised at how much understanding even little children have when the cause and effects of things are explained to them. This is the beginning of developing inner controls within themselves as they do things knowing what will happen. This is a way of giving them a certain amount of control which in turn makes them feel responsible for their actions — this is where you want them to be.

Bottom line, as an educator or child care giver, the vital aspect is to have various strategies for the different situations.