Gender Differences on the Perceived Effectiveness of Physical Punishment among Selected Secondary Schools Students in Ile-Ife, Nigeria

By Abrifor, Chiedu Akporaro | Gender & Behaviour, June 2015 | Go to article overview

Gender Differences on the Perceived Effectiveness of Physical Punishment among Selected Secondary Schools Students in Ile-Ife, Nigeria


Abrifor, Chiedu Akporaro, Gender & Behaviour


In Nigeria and all over the world, it is believed that children are perceived as the milestone and the future of a nation. Failure to give children adequate attention and the required care results in failure to attain desired goals of a nation's growth and development. The various acts of delinquency and violence among secondary school children are on the increase and are major problems in which the school authority, parents through their various associations and the society at large are combating, hence attempt to reduce the various acts of indiscipline and other unwanted behaviours among secondary school children has become an urgent phenomenon that requires the attention of scholars and other stakeholders. Abrifor (2008) observed that the various indisciplinary / unwanted

behaviours/problems secondary school children are involved ranges from destruction of school and public properties, cheating in examination, alcoholism, drug abuse and addiction. Others include sexual offences, stealing, truancy, rudeness, fighting, bullying, verbal abuse and defiance of constituted authorities, just to name a few.

To control such unwanted behaviours effectively, efficient disciplinary measures are required to maintain discipline required in the Nigerian secondary schools for conducive and effective learning processes. However, one major and pertinent concern which parents, teachers and other stakeholders in the educational sector have to consider in relation to is how the disciplinary measure adopted can effectively and efficiently contribute to the required pattern of behaviours and development of required character geared towards the nation's growth and development among secondary school children.

The various disciplinary measures which includes sending students on suspension, calling in the student's parents/ guardian(s), use of physical punishments. Others are, making a public show of the student(s) before the school assembly, writing of assignment, reporting the student(s) to the law-enforcement agents, such as the police, referring the student(s) to the school's guidance and counseling unit or reasoning with the student(s), showing apathy and expulsion of the student(s) adopted in secondary schools are yet to achieve effectively and efficiently the desired aims. They are either deficient due to unprofessional application or in the techniques of application and administration. The effectiveness of physical punishment and the resultant effects on both the physical and psychological wellbeing of the secondary school students have generated a lot of debate among scholars and other stakeholders in the education sector. While a school of thought is of the view that it is harmful and negative, another sees it as corrective and positive. Thus, there is the need to assess the gender differences on the effectiveness of physical punishment and its subsequent effects on the wellbeing and character development among secondary school students.

Study by Jaiyeoba and Akintepede (2002) revealed that the application of physical punishment on students has high significant negative influence on students' academic performance. To them, this form of measure does not improve students' learning but, rather, it instills fear, which may have physical and psychological effects on students. In line with this finding, Greydanus, Pratt, Spates, Blake-Dreher, Greyddanus-Gearhart and Patel (2003) reports that corporal punishment constructs an environment of education that can be described as unproductive, nullifying, and punitive. Children become victims, and trepidation is introduced to all in such a classroom. In a national survey in America, Owens and Straus cited in Kandel (1992) surveyed 1,176 adult respondents, and observed a significant positive correlation between the frequency of interpersonal violence received as a child and approval of the use of violence interpersonalfy. Their measure of violence received as a child merged physical punishment (such as spanking) and abusive violence (such as punching, choking). …

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