[LETTERS to the editor]Update use of corporal punishment
Corporal punishment must be allowed for the sake of education and students.
Students nowadays are very different from those of the past. Many of them rebel against their teachers and disrupt their classes. It’s impossible to say it’s only because of teachers’ inability [to keep them in line]. They don’t show respect for teachers just as their parents and members of society don’t. They usually release stress in the classroom.
I suggest a ceremony is needed at the beginning of the first term in March, wherein the students dedicate a “teaching cane” to their homeroom teacher. The ceremony will be meaningful as it will show that society acknowledges the teachers’ authority and will make it easier to manage classes.
When that authority doesn’t work, teachers must use corporal punishment, but only under strict conditions. First of all, they have to use only the standard cane; therefore the cane will be a strong warning to the teachers who still use other forms of physical or emotional punishment. Teachers and students of every class have to jointly make and agree on rules including corporal punishment, so students’ self-esteem does not suffer.
As a teacher and a parent, I have been worried that the classrooms are getting worse just like in the West. In the U.S., teachers can’t touch their students but can have them kicked out of school in the worst case, unlike in Korean elementary schools and middle schools. Therefore, corporal punishment based on strict conditions needs to be used in the classrooms in Korea.
Moon Hye-jung, Seoul
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