Ahad, 31 Ogos 2008

Negative effects of punishment

IN everyday terms, people use the word “punishment” to describe negative consequences imposed on people when they misbehave.

Often, the term has moral overtones, suggesting that those being punished “deserve” the punishment because their actions violate a rule, law, or social expectation.

Psychologist Kazdin in his book Behaviour ModificatioiIn Applied Settings suggests that punishment has a more narrow (and morally neutral) definition, which is the presentation or removal of events that leads to a reduction in a target behaviour.

Teachers should understand the pros and cons about using punishment in the classroom, as schools frequently build punishing, or aversive, consequences into plans designed to help manage student behaviour.

From an ethical standpoint, students shouldn’t be punished.

One cannot ignore the fact that students who misbehave or who do not complete their homework should be reprimanded.

To date there isn’t a particular devise invented which clearly states the type of punishment that can be meted out.

Punishment, however light or punitive, should be carried out with the good intention of rectifying the action, not otherwise.

There are cases of teachers meting out punishment with intention to broadcast, “Look I’m the boss”.

In such cases, there are bound to be counter attacks by students.

Punishment is sometimes accompanied by significant negative side effects.

Students who are regularly the object of punishment may over time show a drop in positive attitudes toward school (resulting in poor attendance and work performance), have a more negative perception of teachers, and adopt a more punitive manner in interacting with peers and adults.

Punishment of any sort loses its effectiveness over time as the students become immune.

In most cases, teachers are conveniently over-dependent on punishment of any sort to manage their students.

Won’t it make the situation even worse? This certainly has a domino effect on both parties.

Since I have over 24 years of teaching experience, I am in a position to say that students are human too. Punishing them doesn’t guarantee a positive change and won’t work wonders.


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The Star Online: 31 Ogos 2008

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