necessary the world over for school personnel to institute some form of guidance and discipline. If it was effective at maintaining appropriate student behavior, school corporal punishment would be expected to predict better learning and achievement among students. There is in fact no evidence that school corporal punishment enhances or promotes children's learning in the classroom. In a cross-sectional study in Jamaica, school children who received one or two types of school corporal punishment scored lower on mathematics, and children who received 3 more types of corporal punishment at school scored lower on spelling, reading, and mathematics ( Baker-Henningham et al., 2009 ). In a study in Nigeria, children who attended a
school that allowed corporal punishment (slapping, pinching, hitting with a stick) had lower receptive vocabulary, lower executive functioning, and lower intrinsic motivation than children who attended a school that did not allow corporal punishment ( Talwar, Carlson, & Lee, 2011 ). The strongest demonstration of the links between school corporal punishment and children's learning to date has come from UNICEF's Young Lives study of children in four developing countries, namely Ethiopia, India, Peru, and Vietnam ( Ogando et al., 2015 ). The study followed children over time and linked corporal punishment at age 8 to school performance at age 12, thus eliminating the possibility that children's later school performance could predict their corporal punishment earlier in time. The study also controlled for a range of factors that might predict both whether a child receives corporal punishment and their school performance, namely: age of the child, gender of the child, height-for-age, birth order, caregiver's education level, household expenditures, household size, and whether the child lived in an urban locale. Children from each country reported high rates of school corporal punishment (from 20% to 80% of children) when they were 8 years of age, and the more corporal punishment they received at age 8, the lower their math scores were in two samples (Peru and Vietnam) and the lower their vocabulary scores in Peru ( Ogando et al., 2015 ). Importantly, in none of the countries did school corporal punishment at age 8 predict better school performance at age 12. One reason that corporal punishment may interfere with children's learning is that children avoid or dislike school because it is a place where they are in constant fear of being physically harmed by their teachers. In the Young Lives study, 5% of students in Peru, 7% in Vietnam, 9% in Ethiopia, and 25% in India who reported being beaten by teachers as their most important reason for not liking school ( Ogando et al., 2015 ). Interviews with students in Barbados, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe have revealed that school corporal punishment was painful, that it made the adolescents hate their teachers, have difficulty concentrating and learning, perform less well in school, and avoid or even drop out of school for fear of being beaten ( Anderson & Payne, 1995 ; Elbla, 2012 ; Feinstein & Mwamombele, 2010 ; Gwirayi, 2011 ; Morrow & Singh, 2014 ; Naz, Khan, Daraz, Hussain, & Khan, 2011 ; Youssef et al., 1998 ).
- Fall '17
- School corporal punishment