Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies

Alternative Methods to Corporal Punishment and Their Efficacy

Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies

Alternative Methods to Corporal Punishment and Their Efficacy

Article excerpt


This study investigated the alternative methods which teachers use instead of corporal punishment and the efficacy of these methods of student behaviour management. The study was conducted in Eldoret Municipality of Rift Valley province. The population of the study comprised secondary school teachers in Eldoret Municipality. Proportionate sampling technique was used to select 161 teachers from the 10 public secondary schools representing all the 3 strata of secondary schools in the Municipality. The respondents included 10 head teachers, 10 deputies, 10 guidance and counselling masters/mistresses, 40 class teachers and 91 classroom teachers. Data was collected using a closed-ended questionnaire. Data collected was analyzed using frequencies, percentages, mean and standard deviation. This study is significant in building on the existing knowledge about student behaviour management. Teacher trainers would also be informed about alternative methods to corporal punishment. It was found that, although teachers use alternative methods to corporal punishment, they believe that they are less effective compared to corporal punishment. In view of the findings, the study recommends urgent need to create awareness on alternative methods to corporal punishment and also on the overall effects of corporal punishment on the child.

Keywords: corporal punishment; discipline; attitude; guidance; counselling; positive reinforcement


Along with literacy and numeracy achievement levels, school discipline ranks as one of the major concerns voiced by the public about schools and the school system in countries worldwide (Slee, 1995; Owens, Flaherty & Laybourne, 1997). These concerns are echoed in frequent and often dramatic media reports of disruptive students, student riots, bullying and violence in classrooms and playgrounds across Kenya (Daily Nation, April 16, 2001). There is a continuing and growing perception that behaviour problems are endemic in schools, that teachers are struggling to maintain order, and that school authorities are unable to guarantee the safety of students (McCarthy et al., 1992).

Because of its relationship with student academic performance and moral maturity, school discipline is often viewed as a national concern that is becoming more serious by the day for all societies (Slee, 1995). Practicing teachers, educationists, parents and students across the globe must increasingly get concerned with discipline-related problems in schools (Daily Nation, April 16, 2001). In its management efforts, many educationists and researchers have sought to identify the most efficacious methods of enhancing school discipline. The use of rewards and punishments, stemming especially from the psychological research works of Skinner (1989), have been used by many school educators, although in varying degrees, in managing students' behaviour. Of these methods, the use of corporal punishment has gained much debate, especially on its efficacy and its consequences to students.

Corporal punishment refers to the intentional application of physical pain as a method of changing behavior (Mercurio, 1972). It includes a wide variety of methods such as hitting, slapping, spanking, punching, kicking, pinching, shaking, shoving, choking, use of various objects (wooden paddles, belts, sticks, pins or others), painful body postures (as placing in closed spaces), use of electric shock, use of excessive exercise drills or prevention of urine or stool elimination. Corporal punishment in schools does not refer to the occasional need of a school official to restrain a dangerous student or use physical force as a means of protecting members of the school community subject to imminent danger (Human Rights watch, 1999).

Corporal punishment against children has received support for thousands of years from interpretation of legal and religious doctrines, including those beliefs based on Judeo-Christian and other religions (Watson, 1985). …

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