ACS' Sitiawan's Principal. He's not a very forminable-looking man but his presence used to strike fear in all of us. He would walk around with his cane and it was enough to make the majority of us toe the line. He never hesitated using it or other forms of corporal punishments. I remember being warned that if our marks dropped too much from one exam to another, we'd be punished.... duck walk was one form of punishment for the gals. It was very humiliating but it made us work hard... for the fear of shame and pain.
I think a healthy dose of fear is good. How many of us slow down our cars on the highways when oncoming cars flash their lights at us? Why do it if not out of fear that our speeding will land us with a summon which means parting with our money? Fear! That makes us toe the line.
Kids today are smart. We molly coddle them too much. We use too much psychology. Start using corporal punishment and you'll get remarks from parents like..."For heaven's sake, they're just kids." Well, I've got news.. the message from heaven says...
Proverbs 23:13-14I deal with kids.. teenagers.. everyday I am at work. If you think you are doing them a favour by trying to counsel them, think again! Most of the time they've learned to work around the system and they know how to manipulate the situations to suit them. You'll be surprised at their ingenuity. Folly is bound up in the heart of a child... it is very true. It takes discipline to drive it away. If it's allowed to take root, they'll be emboldened and even crippled by it. Often, that discipline involves corporal punishment. When one is young, one does not think of consequences much. What to do? They're rather myopic, doing the right thing is not in their radar, going by their emo is. So they need to have other reasons to fear those no-can-do/go areas. And there is nothing like instant consequence (pain and shame) to drive home that point.
Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.
Folly is bound up in the heart of a child; but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.
I used to work under a Principal who instructed her PK HEM (Students' Affairs) to go round the school with a cane. If a student was caught being punished by the teacher while he was doing the rounds, the first thing that he would do would be to cane the student. It was a matter of punish first, ask no questions or ask later. And he would make his rounds at odd times. Guess what, for that year, I had no problems with students' work. Even Corrections were completed on time. The students feared him... Youths have lots of folly in them. And it's this folly that causes them to stray even further if we cut the slack too much. Yup! They'll literally climb above and over your head. That goes without saying cos we adults also do that.
These days... you have teachers who bribe students to finish their homework... as though they owe it to the students. This I find really silly and so wrong. One student even gleefully remarked that her teacher gives out RM2 for completed homework. Like that I might as well not finish at first and then work myself towards that RM2 'reward'. Try putting a healthy dose of fear into such students and I've no doubt most of them will complete their work. It works with adults and why not these marginal people.
Mr. Moses Tay? Well, he must have been one of the most disliked Principals to many students but under his charge, ACS Sitiawan became one of the top schools in Perak and the nation. There was one year when our school from this small insignificant rubber tapping town, where many of her students lived in attap wooden structures in the rubber estates; came up tops in Malaysia for the HSC exam. How did we get there? He made sure strict discipline was adhered to; so that teachers could focus on their main task - teach; and not be drawn by what we teachers have to do these days... talk incessantly to counsel kids who just laugh at our silliness (or their 'smartness' at fooling us) once we're out of earshot.
Corporal punishment! It should stay. We're too psychology inclined.. and it has also brought about too much permissiveness as a result. Too much kasihan culture in practice. And probably one of the contributors to the rot in our teenagers today too. Bring back the cane!
BTW, this is a report about 10-11 year-olds committing crime and laughing about it in the dock? These are kids with no fear of any thing.