There are different opinions given in disciplining school children in Malaysia. Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said school heads are allowed to delegate caning to a teacher if the need arises.
While a child therapist said there must be another way for teachers to discipline students without resorting to corporal punishment.
Let us go back where the teachers are trained that is the Teacher Training Institute or Institut Pendidikan Guru program. Some would ask whether Classroom Management program in the curriculum fits in.
Though it was emphasized that teacher trainees need to enter the classroom with practical skills in handling a classroom, it is how good they can manage a classroom that counts. With little exposure or experience let’s pray they can do it.
Studies show that children learn best in an orderly engaging environment. Children also respond to discipline in different ways as they different
Students having discipline problems are identified and seen as the unproductive group of children with low-level disruptive behaviours, the disengaged behaviours and the aggressive and the anti-social behaviours.
Low-level disruptive and disengaged student behaviours occur frequently, and teachers find them difficult to manage. Aggressive and anti-social behaviours occur infrequently.
Most teachers relied on intervention strategies to curb unproductive behaviour, while some use a threatened penalty for disobeying a law or rule which are used to deter students from disrupting the learning environment.
Since caning and corporal punishment is now debated and seen as inappropriate to mend behaviours, what is the call for the best solution?
Many psychologist, counselors or therapist prefers the step-by-step approaches usually begin with a warning, in-class timeout, out-of-class timeout, being sent to school leader, then suspension and exclusion. They involve isolating students from their peers and removing them from their learning.
Seem sensible as it allows the teacher to continue to teach and other students to continue to learn. However, the “offending” students find it hard to get back into learning after missing work and continue to disengage from schooling.
Educators appear to understand that dangers and activities that removing students from their learning don't generally work. Placing students in timeout are not compelling at settling the issue. Truth be told, they intensify it after some time.
Considering the physical condition, the curriculum and resources and the teaching strategy can keep students from getting to be withdrawn and accordingly getting to be noticeably problematic.
Teachers should try teaching critical thinking, problem-solving and conflict resolution skills so that students don’t fall back on animosity to adapt to circumstances. Concentrating on counteractive action is the key.
Teacher training should include figuring out how to set up, engaging proper learning conditions. Most teachers will faced and experience the low-level problematic and disengaged behaviours, so it is critical that educators figure out how to keep such practices from happening in any case.
Teachers should consider not focusing to “clean” student behaviour using rewards and consequences. Maybe they should look to understand the betterment way of teaching and applying the ‘element across the curriculum’ and the manner the student behaves.
Maybe the Teacher Training Institutes need to ensure the teacher trainees learn and be trained on how to create and maintain supportive and safe learning environment.
It should recognize the importance of the whole learning environment, rather than just focusing on managing student behaviour.
Azizi Ahmad The NST Letters 28 December 2017