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Licks a slave masters' tool *LINK*

Licks a slave masters' tool
Sunday, July 6th 2008
Sunday Express

One would expect religious extremists to support the reinstatement of corporal punishment. After all it is said, "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him"-Proverbs 22:15. And, "Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell"- Proverbs 21:14. And of course, "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die"-Proverbs 23:13. Now folks, that was the latest philosophical ideology of child psychology 101 over 2,000 years ago. Most of the world has moved on since then, creating along the way, a rich array of solid "coercion-free, violent-free" methods for dealing with kids. Some people find it hard to come to terms with ideological change, nevertheless, get with the programme.

There is agreement that some of our kids raise hell. Do we have a national database of problem kids and the issues they create? A remedy is needed to address their behavioural issues. When educational practitioners attempt to share their "success formulas" that reversed maladaptive behaviour in kids through non-coercive methods, we get shut down by the media, colleagues and of course parents. Yet ask educational stakeholders to list ten things affecting kids today and to list what they have done to aid kids and guess what? They can't say.

Instead of enquiring into what was done, some stakeholders play down non-coercive methods and mock its practitioners, but worse, they fail to investigate the solution to test its viability. So here we are again discussing the reinstatement of corporal punishment. Have educational practitioners not diversified their methodologies for achieving behaviour modification in kids? Is the slave-master's tool, the whip, upon the bodies of kids the solution?

Indeed, I'm aghast that people who should not lack more powerful powers of persuasion want to hit kids as part of a "teaching" regimen. That type of thinking is a huge part of the reason T&T grows exceedingly into a violent and lawless society. People in society, rich and poor, CEOs and plebs, call for the reinstatement of corporal punishment. For what? They say to attain higher behavioural and learning standards. But what they're really aiming for is social conformity by any means.

Show me a person who believes that the "lash" is a necessary instrument of teaching and right there we've identified a person unfit for teaching and in fact parenting. Good teaching doesn't involve beating ideas into or out of kids. It involves wholesome mentorship and patience and being consistent models of the values, attitudes and beliefs we want kids to value. Inflicting mental and physical scars through whippings is a savage means to achieve this end. What type of barbaric place is this nation raging to become?

Still some stakeholders urge that corporal punishment be reinstated in schools. Whose kids are they targeting to suffer whippings? Are the reasons that kids act up fully understood? Will whippings furnish kids with parents? How will whippings reverse dyslexia and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in kids? Or will flogging correct undetected physical ailments, which trigger behavioural and learning issues in kids? For example, inflicting licks on a loud kid whose vocal pitch is completely due to his undetected partial deafness. Certainly the solution must fit the problem.

Kids act up for a number of reasons: dysfunctional homes, hunger, peer pressure to fit in, boredom (some schools are mind-numbingly boring), misalignment between learning style and teaching method and also as a result of demands placed on them that are beyond their state of mental and/or physical readiness.

We know a number of capricious factors contribute to the approaches children employ to deal with the world, their unfamiliar environment, being new arrivals on the scene. Well, some of us know and have internalised this. Still many stakeholders expect, no they demand, that kids who are obviously experiencing difficulty adjusting to an overtly demanding world, easily comprehend and absorb academic disciplines, adjust to the rigours of life and live like model citizens for which really there are no models. So-called model adults prove to be consistently fallible and contradictory. Further, some stakeholders expect kids to illustrate superior coping skills to deal with the pressures around them compared with adults who sadly resort to alcohol, drugs and subtle or brutal lawlessness to deal with their difficulties. These are some of the models kids are faced with daily. Perhaps police officers should inflict corporal punishment on drivers who have an affinity for flaunting traffic laws.

Will corporal punishment help a student who needs a patient and skilled tutor to help him/her improve his/her reading, writing and numeracy skills? Will it help a kid out of an abusive and neglectful home to understand the harsh realities of life and help him/her transcend those circumstances?

Why would any respectable professional educator want to associate corporal punishment with learning? I believe that too few stakeholders in education who are good assessors of student's problems, be they academic, physical, social or mental, are recognised and respected for this skill. Will corporal punishment fix this? By contrast, there are many educators who interact with kids for decades but don't master the basics of detecting kids' underlying problems. Yet this is a critical component of their profession. Why don't the wheels of education demand better?

Rather than seeking to use kids' imperfections as a reason to abuse them, let's endeavour to protect, love and support them instead. I invite all citizens to be proactive, be innovative, promote positive change, avert crisis, think outside the box to assure safe, non-threatening learning experiences for T&T's kids.

B Joseph
Via Email

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Licks a slave masters' tool *LINK*
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