Corporal Punishment in American Education: Readings in History, Practice, and Alternatives

By Irwin A. Hyman; James H. Wise | Go to book overview

24
The Carrot Not the Stick: Comparing the Use of Reward to Corporal Punishment in Promoting Discipline, Learning, and Human Relationships in the Classroom

James H. Wise

The judge said to the prisoner, "You are to be hanged, and I hope it will be a warning to you."

The judge's statement usually understood by most children by age eleven as a verbal absurdity may be no less irrational than the firm belief held by a significant segment of the general public ( Gallup, 1976), including the educational community ( Reardon & Reynolds, 1975; Shaffer, 1968; NEA, 1972), that corporal punishment is a legitimate tool for teaching appropriate behavior or maintaining school discipline. The widely held view that corporal punishment is effective as a last resort is refuted by research which shows that it is the same children who appear to receive paddlings again and again ( Shaffer, 1968). Consequently, the "logic" in the notion that corporal punishment is an effective last resort finds itself in close company with the above judge's sentencing remark.

Bongiovanni's review of the literature on the effects of punishment in the schools ( 1977) states that corporal punishment is "ineffective in producing desirable behavior change, is potentially harmful to students and personnel and is highly impractical in light of controls necessary for maximum effectiveness" (p. 35).

If the literature provides little support for the use of corporal punishment as a method of behavioral control in the classroom setting, what about

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