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'Stop beating kids!'

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Up to 88 percent of junior high schools in Taiwan still practice physical punishment as a form of discipline despite repeated instructions to stop from the Ministry of Education, according to the latest survey by the Humanistic Education Foundation (HEF).

The HEF said the survey results indicate that school life for a high ratio of junior high school students aged between 12 and 15 remains miserable.

The HEF survey, covering 250 schools and 1,550 students on the main island of Taiwan, also shows that 91 percent or 223 schools administer the punishment of forcing students to copy handwriting for more than one hour.

As many as 83 percent of schools force students to run laps in the sports field or jump while maintaining a squatting position as corporal punishment.

There are as many as 71 percent of schools disciplining students by paddling their palms or behind, said HEF officials.

Other major forms of corporal punishments include standing, squatting, kneeling or holding heavy objects, which accounts for 62 percent; and verbal humiliation, 47 percent.

Close to 25 percent of schools administer corporal punishment by forcing students to strike themselves or others and teachers at 20 percent of schools slap their student in their faces.

Sixty percent of junior high schools still fail to faithfully comply with the MOE on the policy of normally organizing classes without grouping students based on academic performance. The proportion is higher than the 57 percent failure rate registered in 2008.

Tests have become a routine in most teenagers' daily life.

A great majority of 96 percent of the students said teachers give them tests during daily morning preview sessions that start before the formal study in accordance with scheduled courses.

Up to 40 percent said they have daily tests in the early morning although subjects vary based on curricula schedule.

HEF officials criticized many of the junior high schools for turning themselves into "cram schools" or "testing factories" with the singular goal of preparing the students for getting higher scores in the examinations in order to enter better senior high schools.

For the length of time that junior high students are required to stay at schools, 83 percent of students have to stay for more than 40 hours per week while 2.5 percent reported that they have to stay for as many as 68.8 hours in school because they cannot go home after normal classes end.

Almost 25 percent, or more than 220,000 of the 940,000 junior high students, have to go to schools on Saturdays or Sundays, the survey shows.

MOE officials reiterated that school teachers and educational administrators at the 22 municipal and county governments should all comply with the rules of abolishing the practices of corporal punishment and assigning students to certain classes in line with students' academic performance.

Faculties or schools violating the rules will be referred to the Control Yuan, the nation's highest watchdog agency, for disciplinary actions, they said.

June 16, 2009    luluyan0710@
I TOTALLY DISAGREE with HEF's point of view! I wonder why we cannot organize students on the basis of their academic performance! Do you know how difficulty it is to instruct a class with various proficiency students? Besides, as the old saying goes "spare the rod, spoil the child." I wonder how we teach a child a lesson without any punishment. Actually, I do not believe "love conquers all." In fact, those mean students do not care a [expletive deleted]! I hope HEF can put their ideal into practice rather than just criticizing the teachers who really WORK HARD to instruct students!
June 16, 2009    cuckoo@
School is like a Home.

At home the parent educates kids with strict discipline and punishment.

At school, the responsibility of the teacher is heavier than the parent’s. The teacher teaches the students lessons and should use strict discipline method. The teacher hopes and wishes that the students will be well prepared for SENIOR HIGH and COLLEGE.

The HEF should understand that without strict disciplinary punishment by the teacher students can’t learn or correct their own mistakes.
June 17, 2009    eddie@
luluyan0710@ wrote:
I TOTALLY DISAGREE with HEF's point of view! I wonder why we cannot organize students on the basis of their academic performance! Do you know how difficulty it is to instruct a class with various proficiency students? Besides, as the old saying goes "spare the rod, spoil the child." I wonder how we teach a child a lesson without any punishment. Actually, I do not believe "love conquers all." In fact, those mean students do not care a [expletive deleted]! I hope HEF can put their ideal into practice rather than just criticizing the teachers who really WORK HARD to instruct students!
AMEN to that..... spoiled brats don't wanna study? beat them with a stick..
September 25, 2009    tmdurk@
Sorry, this article is bogus. "Stop beating kids." Do you think making a kid stand in the corner, run laps, or squat is "beating?" Abuse perhaps, beating: hell no!

Without punishment children gain a sense of superiority over their authorities. What happens in the real world? At work you can lose your job. Well we aren't going to kick everyone out of school are we? What about if you mouth off to a cop? Tickets and jail time. Well you can't fine kids for being out of line... you need some type of punishment, positive and negative reinforcement.
October 5, 2009    hopeandchange@
If you are thinking the education system will change you are dreaming. When has the government ever done anything that works (besides take your money and spend it). If you want change you better pull your kids out and teach them yourself.
October 18, 2009    elumpen@
How depressing to see so many ignorant teachers (I assume the above shrill voices are teachers) posting such mindless comments. Luluyan [wonders] "how we teach a child a lesson without any punishment". Well, luluyan, if you can miraculously impart knowledge by beating people, you should be awarded a PhD in psychology. As for preparing students for real life and a job by hitting them - sorry, but I'm sick of interviewing slack-jawed graduates who won't do anything until you prod them with a stick. How about teaching kids self-control and self-motivation? Get a grip, teachers. The reason kids don't do anything until you beat them is because they're so damn used to it. If you were inspiring, interesting people who knew how to teach, you wouldn't have a problem.
October 19, 2009    hopeandchange@
elumpen@ wrote:
How depressing to see so many ignorant teachers (I assume the above shrill voices are teachers) posting such mindless comments. Luluyan [wonders] "how we teach a child a lesson without any punishment". Well, luluyan, if you can miraculously impart knowledge by beating people, you should be awarded a PhD in psychology. As for preparing students for real life and a job by hitting them - sorry, but I'm sick of interviewing slack-jawed graduates who won't do anything until you prod them with a stick. How about teaching kids self-control and self-motivation? Get a grip, teachers. The reason kids don't do anything until you beat them is because they're so damn used to it. If you were inspiring, interesting people who knew how to teach, you wouldn't have a problem.
That was well said!
September 21, 2010    ME54535@
I JUST WANT BEATING TO STOP. THERE IS NO REASON TO TAKE ALL YOUR ANGER OUT ON YOUR KIDS OR ANY ONE ELSE'S KIDS..........STOP
September 21, 2010    ludahai_twn@
No teacher or anyone else has the right to beat my children. There are other ways to punish children and prepare them other than physically beating them...
September 22, 2010    freeman@
Once again, we see both muddleheaded sides arguing. Step back from the rhetoric. The art of teaching students requires a dynamic approach requiring positive and negative reinforcement. Dealing with troublesome students depends on many factors. Now, in a perfect world, we would have hours and hours to deal with a difficult child who is disrupting the whole class. Sadly, we don't live in a perfect world. In order to provide public education, certain concessions must be made. We need effective methods so we don't waste too much time with troublemakers. We should not sacrifice the whole class for one troublemaker. Many forms of corporal punishment should not be allowed but certain forms are useful and should be regulated under national guidelines from the Ministry of Education. They would be deemed acceptable as long as they don't pose a threat to the student's long term mental and physical health. With regards to the misery of students, testing should be reduced to monthly quizzes, a mid-term test and one final test. More emphasis should be placed on in-class exercises with the teacher proactively helps students who are having difficulties. Students should be allowed to make mistakes because more often than not, this is when real learning occurs. The teacher should be there to guide the students who are having trouble work through their problems with the material. We just need to teach them to persevere until they master the concept. Also, if the schools are sufficiently large, students of each grade could be segregated into at most two groups based on academic performance. However, the standard curriculum should be the same. The more advanced class should just expand upon topics in the core curriculum. Students should be allowed to fail a grade if necessary. What we need to eradicate is the negative social stigma that is associated with failing a grade. Additionally, in public schools, the core curriculum and classes offered at the primary and secondary levels should be simplified to provide students with the basic skills needed to be productive members of society. Specialization can come later as long as the core education provides them with the necessary prerequisites.

September 23, 2010    hobos666@
ME54535@ wrote:
I JUST WANT BEATING TO STOP. THERE IS NO REASON TO TAKE ALL YOUR ANGER OUT ON YOUR KIDS OR ANY ONE ELSE'S KIDS..........STOP
Here is a perspective between having corporal punishment and not having corporal punishment.
While I was growing up in Taiwan, the class size usually filled with 45-55 students. Yet when I moved to the U.S. at 4th grade, the classes were at most filled with 20-25 students. Guess where I learned more as a student... Let me tell you, it's definitely not in the class of 20-25 students. During high school, our teachers had their own restroom because of past acts of violence committed against them by students. In Taiwan, teachers can feel safe about having possible discipline problems. By the way, during the years I was in high school in the states, our school was ranked the 99th best public high school in the country.
September 23, 2010    hobos666@
Perhaps members of the HEF should go to the states and work at many non-chartered inner-city schools in the states. I bet after spending a year in an environment where passing through metal detectors and campus security guards carry guns with them will challenge them to show the love for these kids while making them act accountable in class.
September 23, 2010    finemando@
WOULD YOU BLAME A TEACHER FOR YOUR CHILD'S INABILITY TO SCORE GOOD GRADES? IF YOU WILL, THEN JUST SLACK YOUR JAW AND ALLOW THE TEACHER TO CONTROL YOUR CHILD.
October 7, 2010    freeman@
I have a question. Has the abolishment of corporal punishment in educational institutions in other countries helped the students, teachers, and schools? If you take public schools in the US as an example, we find that control of the classroom is non-existent, academic proficiency scores are down and violence is up. I am sick and tired of bleeding hearts complaining that it is inhumane to use corporal punishment to punish a child. As a teacher, I explain my methods of punishment to parents and ask if they are acceptable. When it comes to the student's responsibility, classroom behavior, and safety, I am very strict and accept no backtalk, derision or whining. The students know where I stand and this gives them a sense of security. I have had to teach my share of unruly classes but I find when other teachers substitute these classes, they are surprised how well-behaved the children are. Children are not really responsible for themselves until they reach adulthood. They should be gradually given more responsibility and freedom as they grow older and more competent. This is how life works. With freedom comes responsibility. Reiterating my earlier comment, in school, students must gain the basic academic and social skills to function in society. It should start out authoritarian and controlled and then gradually give them more freedom when they can handle it. This is the basic learning process for any activity. When you learn to ride a bike, one of your parents helps by holding and stabilizing the bike as you pedal. After a few trials and possibly mishaps, when they feel confident in your abilities, they stop and let you ride by yourself. If you fall down during the process, they encourage you to try again. After encouragement, if the child really intends to give up, sometimes the parent must force the child to continue. In the case of riding a bike, to some, the skill is not so important so there is no need to force them. However, I can't say the same for reading, writing, and arithmetic. These skills are a must. I have one last anecdote. A teacher told my father that my brother would be a slow learner because he couldn't read phonics in the early grades of primary school. My father was indignant and took it upon himself to teach my brother to read. My father didn't believe brother had learning difficulties. He was authoritarian and wouldn't allow him to give up. After many days of my father's tutoring, with tears and hard work, my brother learned to read. My father wouldn't let him give up. My brother became a voracious reader and later went on to obtain a university degree in literature. If my father had let him, my brother would have never learned to read. This shows that at times you must force children to learn for their own good. The secret is knowing when encouragement will no longer suffice and coercion is necessary.
October 8, 2010    elumpen@
freeman, while your point is well-made, you confuse 'discipline' with 'punishment'. It's perfectly true that kids need boundaries, but there are other ways to enforce them, and a creative teacher can always find a way to put a misbehaving kid in his place (or, if all else fails, just send him out of the room). The fact remains that big people shouldn't hit small people who are unable to defend themselves or answer back. Adults are not infallible and an undeserved beating leaves scars that never heal.

As for "forcing children to learn for their own good", that's just ridiculous. Your example is a good illustration of why: phonics is an utterly stupid method of teaching English (or any other language) because the symbology is never used outside the classroom. It simply adds an extra burden to the process of language acquisition. It's therefore no surprise that most students struggle with it and/or hate it; and as far as I am aware, most countries that tried it quickly discarded it after finding it to be useless. In Taiwan, if something doesn't work - it's the STUDENT's fault, not the teacher's! I can't help wondering if perhaps your brother never had any interest at all in literature and only pursued this career because of constant, lifelong hectoring from your father. If he and his teachers had paid a little more attention, they might have discovered that his talents were in mathematics, or music, or sports. One doesn't have to be good at EVERYTHING.

And thus we return to the subject of corporal punishment. Student not behaving? Not learning? Beat them! Still misbehaving? Still not learning? You didn't beat them hard enough! Perhaps we need to force the teachers to learn that this just isn't working, for their own good? Perhaps we should try beating them.

And finally, the answer to your first question is "yes". In general, academic standards rose after corporal punishment was abolished because 80% of teachers were bad teachers, kids were afraid of them, and while they may have sat in class quietly, they learned precisely nothing. Discipline most likely started to deteriorate because of other concurrent social trends, such as the insistence of governments that a parent's primary responsibility is to go to work and pay lots of taxes - as opposed to, for example, looking after the wellbeing of the next generation.


October 11, 2010    freeman@
@elumpen

I never once stated that I approve of beating children. I only believe certain forms of physical punishment are acceptable.
Why do people lump all forms of physical punishment with beating? I have taught my share of troublemakers and I have found the certain forms of physical discipline like writing and detention, have definitely helped their attitudes.

Secondly, you obviously don't keep up with the recent statistics regarding education in the US. Please check your facts. Look at the statistics for literacy. When I graduated high school, everyone in my class, even the worst student, could read. This is not the case today. Google "decline in education".

Thirdly, I didn't mention KK phonics which you are probably referring to in your post. I am referring to what is popularly called American Phonics. It is the direct pronunciation from the spelling of English words. How did you learn to read English? How do you suggest we teach reading? Some form of phonics is how almost every native English speaker and speakers of other phonetic languages learn to read. We learn the sounds of letters, learn to pronounce simple words like 'cat' and then later learn exceptions like "worm." It is the basis of reading all phonetic languages. You are using phonics right now as you read this post unless you memorized the pronunciation and meaning of all the words you are now reading. I have had the most trouble with adult students who have difficultly with pronunciation because at times what they say is unintelligible. They memorized English words and their pronunciation. Ask any Taiwanese student to read the word 'problem' aloud and see if they pronounce it correctly. Most of my students can. Please research something before you discount it.

More info is available at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonics

Also, both of my parents worked when I was young. I didn't get into trouble and I was salutatorian of my high school graduating class. How do you explain my situation? I should have disciplinary problems. With regards to my anecdote, my father did not pressure me or my brother to pursue any particular area of study. He was relatively hands off with regard to our education. He only stressed that we get some form of post-secondary education. My brother only started university in his early 20s after leaving home and working for a few years. My father only forced my brother to learn phonics so he could learn to read. Actually, in high school, my brother did poorly in math but did fairly well in almost all his other subjects. My father never berated him about his math skills.

Concurrent social trends may be a factor but generally, as you get closer to the heart of the problem, directly related factors usually have a greater impact. Also, the education system should incorporate measures to enhance or mitigate the impact of social trends.
October 11, 2010    johnzacks@
 
hopeandchange@ wrote:
That was well said!
Bravo! let's grow out of the "Dark" ages
October 11, 2010    johnzacks@
freeman@ wrote:
Once again, we see both muddleheaded sides arguing. Step back from the rhetoric. The art of teaching students requires a dynamic approach requiring positive and negative reinforcement. Dealing with troublesome students depends on many factors. Now, in a perfect world, we would have hours and hours to deal with a difficult child who is disrupting the whole class. Sadly, we don't live in a perfect world. In order to provide public education, certain concessions must be made. We need effective methods so we don't waste too much time with troublemakers. We should not sacrifice the whole class for one troublemaker. Many forms of corporal punishment should not be allowed but certain forms are useful and should be regulated under national guidelines from the Ministry of Education. They would be deemed acceptable as long as they don't pose a threat to the student's long term mental and physical health. With regards to the misery of students, testing should be reduced to monthly quizzes, a mid-term test and one final test. More emphasis should be placed on in-class exercises with the teacher proactively helps students who are having difficulties. Students should be allowed to make mistakes because more often than not, this is when real learning occurs. The teacher should be there to guide the students who are having trouble work through their problems with the material. We just need to teach them to persevere until they master the concept. Also, if the schools are sufficiently large, students of each grade could be segregated into at most two groups based on academic performance. However, the standard curriculum should be the same. The more advanced class should just expand upon topics in the core curriculum. Students should be allowed to fail a grade if necessary. What we need to eradicate is the negative social stigma that is associated with failing a grade. Additionally, in public schools, the core curriculum and classes offered at the primary and secondary levels should be simplified to provide students with the basic skills needed to be productive members of society. Specialization can come later as long as the core education provides them with the necessary prerequisites.

well said
October 11, 2010    crtspreston@
Running and sweating is getting off easy. Writing sentences like, "I will not chew gum in class" 500-1, 000 times is getting off even easier. Screaming uncontrollably is out of order. Just kick the kid out of school for a day or two and let their parents deal with them. The problem this creates for the parents, who are the best and rightful disciplinarians, will often be enough to solve the problem. Even kids in Jr. High and high school with the "thickest" of heads will eventually come to understand reality.
October 11, 2010    dlaidig@
Yes come to the States and see what we have wrought on ourselves. In 1970 the dress code was pretty much abandoned in US schools. It has been down hill from there. As we all know, people, and animals need structure. If there is no structure there will be no learning.
October 12, 2010    quelenglish@
Teachers should inspire and encourage respect for learning. Teachers are NEVER EVER BEEN MANDATED to punish students. Teachers are being paid by us parents to do their job and that is to teach and not to punish. Beating or insulting can never be called DISCIPLINE. Remember, parents and teachers have the power to mold a child as he grows up. Teach a child proper ethics and morals....parents and teachers are one in that category. INSPIRE AND ENCOURAGE never belittle a child's potential.
October 13, 2010    freeman@
elumpen@ wrote:
freeman, while your point is well-made, you confuse 'discipline' with 'punishment'. It's perfectly true that kids need boundaries, but there are other ways to enforce them, and a creative teacher can always find a way to put a misbehaving kid in his place (or, if all else fails, just send him out of the room). The fact remains that big people shouldn't hit small people who are unable to defend themselves or answer back. Adults are not infallible and an undeserved beating leaves scars that never heal.

As for "forcing children to learn for their own good", that's just ridiculous. Your example is a good illustration of why: phonics is an utterly stupid method of teaching English (or any other language) because the symbology is never used outside the classroom. It simply adds an extra burden to the process of language acquisition. It's therefore no surprise that most students struggle with it and/or hate it; and as far as I am aware, most countries that tried it quickly discarded it after finding it to be useless. In Taiwan, if something doesn't work - it's the STUDENT's fault, not the teacher's! I can't help wondering if perhaps your brother never had any interest at all in literature and only pursued this career because of constant, lifelong hectoring from your father. If he and his teachers had paid a little more attention, they might have discovered that his talents were in mathematics, or music, or sports. One doesn't have to be good at EVERYTHING.

And thus we return to the subject of corporal punishment. Student not behaving? Not learning? Beat them! Still misbehaving? Still not learning? You didn't beat them hard enough! Perhaps we need to force the teachers to learn that this just isn't working, for their own good? Perhaps we should try beating them.

And finally, the answer to your first question is "yes". In general, academic standards rose after corporal punishment was abolished because 80% of teachers were bad teachers, kids were afraid of them, and while they may have sat in class quietly, they learned precisely nothing. Discipline most likely started to deteriorate because of other concurrent social trends, such as the insistence of governments that a parent's primary responsibility is to go to work and pay lots of taxes - as opposed to, for example, looking after the wellbeing of the next generation.


I never said I approve of beating children. I only said that certain forms of corporal punishment like writing are acceptable.

Secondly, phonics is used to teach reading in almost every phonetic language. It allows you to directly pronounce word from their spellings. You are probably confusing phonics with KK phonetic symbols that are used in dictionaries. Please research before you make this kind of comment.

My father never bothered me or my brother about our academic standings all through public school. He only stressed we get some form of post-secondary education. My brother chose to study English Literature in university. My father would have preferred he studied the sciences. My father only forced him to learn phonics in primary school so he could read. You like to infer quite a bit without having the actual facts. Please do not make presumptions like an idiot.

Recent reports on education prove you wrong. Google decline in education for more facts. Now, kids aren't afraid of teachers, don't respect teachers, don't sit quietly in class and still learn precisely nothing. Only difference is that the few who may have learned something before, no longer learn because the classrooms are out of control.

Concurrent trends may have an impact on education but I think other direct factors like classroom discipline will have a greater impact. Most troublesome students are the result of overly indulgent and permissive parenting whether they be from single-parent families or not. I don't have control over social trends but I do have control in my classroom. In fact, many substitute teachers have commented how well my classes behave. How many classes do you know that will continue to do their homework when the teacher is not present? Some of my students have even become English teachers themselves. This should give you an idea how long I have been teaching. Maybe most of my evidence is anecdotal but I know I am doing my part as a teacher. Children need to know what treatment they will receive and what behavior is expected from them. This is the social contract in the classroom and in greater society. It is as simple as that.
October 21, 2010    thodoris.mazarakis@
I suggest you all read the following report:
http://www.phoenixchildrens.com/PDFs/principles_and_practices-of_effective_discipline.pdf


There is little research evidence that physical punishment improves children's behavior in the long term. In contrast, there is substantial research evidence that physical punishment puts children at risk for negative outcomes, including increased aggression, antisocial behavior, mental health problems and physical injury.
The clear connections between physical abuse and physical punishment that have been made in empirical research and in the child abuse statutes of several states suggest that reduction in parents' use of physical punishment should be included as integral parts of state and federal child abuse prevention efforts.
October 28, 2010    charles@
The cultural aspect should be taken into consideration.
Taking a study done in the USA and applying to kids brought up in a family in Taiwan influenced by traditional Chinese culture will not be accurate.
November 5, 2010    yourfavouriteteacher@
I'm a teacher, I never hit a kid even when they are being little sh**s. So if a teacher hits my kid, I will sue not only them, but the school and M.O.E for allowing the incident to occur by hiring such an ill-tempered teacher. You hit my kid, you will pay!
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