Tuesday, 7th Feb 2023

“There is no creativity and innovation without failure.” “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build the youth for our future.”

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction

Punishing children or students for bad behaviour is prevalent in all schools and at home too. This is how society works and teaches them that for every action, there is a consequence.

Creating an awareness

Young children and adolescents are still in their developmental stage and must first understand what is or isn’t acceptable behaviour before they can be punished for it. Prevention works wonders. For instance, you have told a group of children that they will have only 2 sweets each, to be fair. If one child takes someone else’s sweet as well, you can refer back to your initial statement and punish the child if you deem it necessary. The important thing is to give a clear explanation for the punishment so that the child can associate it with bad behaviour. A teacher should endeavour to comprehend what causes bad behaviour in a child because it sometimes leads to a deeper issue that requires attention rather than punishment. These days, we have obviously moved away from corporal punishment. Traditional punishment of writing a hundred times what one must not do is rare and doesn’t teach students anything. Instead, now they have taken the form of detention. In cases of bad behaviour, spending time alone during break or after school serves as an opportunity for reflection and a cooling-off period; detention given for missed homework will eventually help the student take responsibility for their own learning.

Reward and Punishment- Two sides of the same coin woven into the educational fabric

Reward can be defined in simple words as the direct outcome of a correct action normally appreciated by others in the form of offering some gain to the child or student concerned. The basic element of a reward is the realisation on the part of the group and the child or student that something better is achieved than the normal results. Therefore, it must be recognised in one way or the other. Rewards and incentives actually build self-discipline, intrinsic control, delayed gratification and intrinsic motivation. Rewards and incentives also eliminate or drastically reduce the need for direct, coercive control of a child by the parent or teacher, which strengthens the parent-child relationship or teacher-student relationship and has a positive influence of the parent on the child. So it is necessary to go ahead and use good incentives to motivate the child to do the required things. The child will benefit and the parent would be glad to implement this strategy

Objectives of Rewards

  • To appreciate and recognise student achievement
  • To provide students with incentives to keep up the good work or for further good effort
  • To attract peer attention towards achieving similar results i.e. to provide incentives for others

Types of Rewards

  • Economic and financial
  • Psychological
  • Praise and social approval
  • Recognition and social significance
  • Emotional well-being
  • Respect and dignity
  • Building capacity

What is Punishment?

Punishment can be affectivity defined as the direct outcome of undesirable behaviour. For instance, if an individual walks on the road without following the traffic rules and meets with an accident, minor or major; he is punished, though he may escape a formal punishment from the traffic authority.

Objectives of Punishment

  • Reprimand and improvement of a student
  • Creating avenues for the students to avoid repetition of the wrong act
  • Setting up an example for others

Types of Punishment

  • Physical and financial
  • Solitary confinement
  • Social disapproval and disregard

Is discipline without punishment possible?
Well, it is all about positive punishment and boosting morale.

A teacher is responsible for the overall development of the young minds in her or his care and must strive towards academic, aesthetic and emotional well-being.

What is Positive Punishment?

When we think of the word “punishment,” we typically think of something negative, such as spanking a child when he throws a tantrum in Walmart. However, in the world of psychology, the term “punishment” refers to any consequence that has a suppressing effect on behaviour – that is, it reduces the likelihood that the individual will perform that behaviour again. Positive punishment is a type of operant conditioning. Operant conditioning is a learning method that focuses on the consequences of behaviours. In positive punishment, the goal is to decrease the behaviour by presenting an aversive or unpleasant stimulus following the behaviour

Teachers who use positive punishments in their classrooms can better connect with students and build relationships with them over time. Students will respond positively to this method of discipline and learn how to behave appropriately in a classroom setting.

In a nutshell

“There is no one-size-fits-all narrative; everyone's path winds in different ways.” - Sarah McBride An education system can reach the pinnacle of its success depending on the quality of the balance between reward and punishment, which most teachers naturally provide, regardless of culture. Punishment suits children who seek firm guidance, and reward helps students to maximise their potential. Parents, teachers and schools play a vital role in finding the right approach for each particular situation. Today’s students are world citizens of tomorrow and the nation’s pride. They will face the dynamic world of tomorrow as accomplished learners of the education system. The late poet U. A. Fanthorpe illustrates in her poem, the way we were disciplined at school marks us deeply, and the puzzled child we were remains within us, wide-eyed and seeking answers.