Positive discipline instead of corporal punishment

“He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him, is careful to discipline him.” Although many parents and teach­ers still believe this to be true, two organi­sations have teamed up to help change the mindset of West Coast teachers.

Sonke Gender Justice, a non-profit or­ganisation, and children rights advocate, Save the Children, held a workshop at Blue Bay Lodge last Thursday to promote positive discipline in schools. According to Divya Naidoo, programme manager for Save the Children, corporal punishment is only a short term solution and not sus­tainable in the long run. “The law (on cor­poral punishment) may have changed but we still need to change mindsets. When the law changed, the rod was taken away but nothing substantial was put in its place and many educators were a little lost,” she said.

Many teachers at the workshop asked for practical solutions to deal with dis­ruptive learners, who may at times endanger the rest of the class. Naidoo said that hitting a child is never the answer and that prevention is always better than cure. “Right now teachers are dealing with the most difficult generation yet. The jump between learners today and the previous has never been this great. Tech­nology is adding to this challenge.

“Simple things like changing our tone when you speak to a child can help. We must remember children spend most of their active hours at school and educators have great influence on them,” she added.

Andre Lewak from Sonke, said all forms of corporal punishment – at home and school – should be done away with as using the rod and other forms of corpo­ral punishment so easily lead to abuse.