Corporal Punishment in Schools.

The Collegiate School (in New York?) is the oldest school in the USA, and close cousin of the English public school. An author and historian interviewed on the radio (Douglas Kennedy) talked of having attended this school, in the 1960’s and 70’s.

It had, he said, been as harsh as any English public school with its canings and other forms of physical punishment. But that was all in the past. There, as everywhere else these days, physical punishments like canings have gone out of favour.

However, he went on to add that they have it all taped psychologically i.e. that the physical violence has now been replaced with psychological violence.

To me this is no improvement. To me this is a retrograde step. Psychological torture can be so much worse that physical torture, and there being no real evidence, no blood, people can get away so easily with so much more.

This school, I feel, is a microcosm of the modern world. We live in a world where there is a lot of focus on physical violence and much effort is being put into rooting it out wherever it is found, while all the time psychological abuse is going unchecked and is on the increase. We may see less blood nowadays, but we live in a world which is brutal and violent beyond anything in the past — it’s just all taking place in the mind.

Mr Lynch, a slave owner, gave this advice about looking after slaves: keep them physically strong but psychologically weak. Yes, people today are physically bigger and stronger than ever before, but they are psychologically smaller and weaker than ever before.

Do you think schools have been improved by banning corporal punishment?

yes, because all the schools that used corporeal punishment used psychological punishment. It was part of it. You could look at it as one less tool for psychological punishment. Generally they punished the kids in front of the other kids also, which meant they were punishing eveyrone and also making the other kids complicit or feel complicit. This doesn’t mean everything is suddenly peachy without corporal punishment. Hardly.

Except the opposite of this is true, muscle is less needed then ever before. People must learn huge amounts of more information then ever before. And while we have our crutches, we know much more. Almost every single one of us would have qualified as a Doctor in most small cities across the world 200 years ago. If only because we understand micro biology better now, but physically we aren’t required to do anything like we used to. Yes, there a few people that have learned from the past how to maximize strength, or use chemicals to do so. But both of these things require greater knowledge, knowledge gained from the past.

It’s well known that people are bigger today than anytime in the past and longevity has improved. People are kept physically functional more than ever before. That they do not need to carry heavy loads is neither here nor there. They have physical capacity to do what those in power require of them. But when I talk of phsychologically weak I do not mean memory. I mean that it is increasingly the case that people accept whatever dirt those in power care to dish out to them. They are rapidly loosing the will or ability to fight back, to protest, to say no to the boss. That is where the boss wants them to be: they can do the physical and mental work he requires of them and have not the wherewithall to either be aware of or withstand his abuses.

 In pretty much every post you write, I see you basically stating that anybody who thinks differently than you about anything is a terrible, evil, wretched, or stupid human being. A lot of times, that's pretty much 100% of the content of your post.   What do you make of the fact that there are people with the exact opposite views of you saying the exact same thing- i.e., competitive libertarians saying that the problem with the world is all the 'psychologically weak' people accepting the leftist, socialist, collectivist dirt being dished out to them by the powers that be?

You are completely wrong to suggest that physical punishments have been replaced with psychological ones.

The fact is that before the banning of the cane, the slipper and the strap; psychological punishments were a thoroughly pursued along with the physical ones. In fact the effectiveness of the physical punishments were made more effective via the psychological anticipation of the punishments and the shame that accompanied it. moreover the psychological punishments were made more effective due to the physical. They worked together very well.
Psychological abuse without the threat of the physical is somewhat lame, and ineffective. Many kids don’t give a rat’s arse and have far more weapons in their psychological arsenal than any teacher I know

Teachers these days have almost no weapons to protect themselves from the psychological punishments dished out by the children, who are far better equipped to mentally harm teachers. At the slightest hint of criticism; sarcasm from a teacher to a pupil is met with instant accusations of racism; sexism; agism; mental abuse and teachers often have to walk a knife’s edge between coping with student abuse and dismissal.

I thought I’d corrected you before, but maybe it was somebody else. So, at risk of repeating myself: I probably have about the rosiest view of humanity that you will find anywhere. I think that people are totally completely and utterly good. Their one weakness is that they are susceptible to the drug Power. All the ills of our society are down to this universal addiction to power. get people off power and the world would be the most wonderful place, wonderful beyond your imagining and wonderful for EVERYBODY — and if you read my posts with a little more care and a little less determination to criticize and attack and shoot down, then you would have a more open mind and one that was capable of accurately picking up what I have been saying — it is SO tiresome having to explain myself all the time just because of other people’s bad behavior, just because their competitiveness blinkers them.

The good thing about physical violence is that it is hard to hide the evidence, and hard to persuade the victim that they are not being abused. The bad thing about psychological torture is that there is usually no visible evidence and it is easy to persuade the victim that not only are they not being abused but often enough to persuade them to kiss the hand that is abusing them. It is very, very evident from the responses here that there is very, very low awareness among the members of the forum of the extent of the abuse that they are ALL suffering ALL the time.

As to your last paragraph, you sound like somebody who has had experience of teaching. I too have experienced the horrors, I too have quailed before Little Jimmy as I see the thought flicker through his little mind that he has spotted an opportunity to get Teacher into trouble.

I’ve had lots of experience teaching, ages 6years to 80 years, in all levels of education.
The best pupils are 8-10 years old, after that the best learners are ant adults who have made their own choice to engage in education, and in that case, any mature person beats any university brat doing what its parents expect. But most terrible time is around 13-14.
A ten year old knows how to wipe her nose, put her own coat on, he can read, he can write and she still has a thirst for knowledge and is still keen to help and please. Even kids from troubled backgrounds can be brought round with some careful encouragement and the imposition of safe boundaries that protect them and the other members of the class.