Positive Descipline replaces Corporal Punishment
Parents and teachers have always found this kind or punishment to be effective in shaping children into well behaved adults. However, the degrees and magnitude of applying this form of discipline has always left many questions. Sometimes corporal punishment has been too extreme and in some cases achieving the opposite results in child behavior.
In view of this, Save the Children in 2015, embarked on a project to train pro violent parents and caregivers on the importance of adopting positive disciplining methods.
As a measure of this impact, Save the children conducted follow up interviews to assess the progress of the training in Southern Province. The assessment was conducted at Adastra basic school and Swan combined school in Choma. Other schools included; Kaonga secondary school in Mazabuka District.
Some households in the same area were also followed up and assessed on whether they had changed their mindset or not. At the schools, the monitoring team first interviewed the teachers who were trained, in order to ascertain how they were applying the techniques of positive discipline and how they have found these methods helpful in exerting discipline.
“We stopped practicing corporal punishment after the training. We discovered that usually when you appeal to the emotions of the pupils, they respond positively other than when you beat them” said Distiria Munengo, a grade nine teacher at Adastra basic school.
She explained that however there is need for the parents to work closely with teachers if the efforts of the teachers are to be appreciated. Meanwhile, the pupils at Astrada basic school said there was a general improvement in the execution of corporal punishment but that it still exists in some instances.
“The teachers who went for the training do not beat us though the other ones who didn’t go still do. They should just talk to us because when they beat us we rebel instead of conforming to what they want”said grade nine pupil Niver Bwanga. During the meeting some pupils gave practical demonstration of the kind of punishment they were subjected to in the past, when corporal punishment was being practiced.
Nevertheless, another teacher from Swan primary school in Choma, Philis Mwanza says children have now become complacent because they know they will not be beaten when they do something wrong.
“I think we need to find a model that can combine a bit of physical punishment with positive advise. Positive discipline will only be effective if corporal punishment is phased out strategically” she said.
At Kaonga primary school in Mazabuka, teachers felt that positive discipline is working well but that it will take a while to completely eradicate corporal punishment because it has been in existence for a long while.
“Part of what we learnt in the training is to keep the pupils busy. We give them a lot of work to ensure they are pre-occupied” said Emelda Mutolo a grade twelve teacher at Kaonga secondary school.
Bonfiace Mutolo, a teacher at the same school urged Save the Children to consider incorporating more teachers on the positive discipline training because it is very difficult for the few trained teachers like him to inculcate the idea of positive discipline in the majority of other teachers.
And pupils at Kaonga Primary school generally condemned corporal punishment and welcomed positive discipline as a progressive measure.
From the assessment taken it was clear that the idea of corporal punishment is slowly fading out and being replaced with the rationale of positive discipline as teachers and parents begin to realize its values when they are exposed to the Save the Children trainings.