10 b iii). Explain the various conditions under which punishment ought to be given out.
Conditions under which punishment should be given
From the foregoing, it looks like we are discouraging the use of punishment. However, we recognize that punishment cannot be dismissed or ignored. We would, therefore, want to look at it as one of the methods of behavior change which should be used under specified conditions in order to be beneficial. The teacher may find the following suggestions useful:
- If the teacher must punish he should specify and communicate the punishable behavior to the pupils by means of classroom rules and regulations.
- The pupils should be involved in the drawing of the rules
- These rules should be posted where the pupils can see them
- The rules should be reviewed often
- The school should also provide the pupils with models of acceptable behavior. If the acceptable behavior is good grooming, punctuality, honesty, hard work or responsibility, then a student who displays any of these characteristics should be called in front of the school during the school assembly for all to see an example of the desirable behavior that the teacher wishes to reinforce. The schools should never display models of undesirable behavior because every time they do so they create hero worship of the pupils with the undesirable characteristics: Those with the most unkempt hair, lazy, dishonest or poorly groomed pupils should never be put on the display. They should be denied recognition.
- If the punishment must be delivered it must be done immediately. This should be done in line with the principle of contingency discussed above.
- Pupils should be informed of the alternative behavior that is what they would have done instead of the punished behavior.
- The punishment should always be perceived as fair. This means that the teacher should not be seen to practice partiality. Those who deserve to be punished must receive their punishment as prescribed. Impartiality can be a major cause of school unrest and increased indiscipline.
- Punishment must be delivered consistently in line with the principle of consistency. This means that whenever possible the punishable act should never be allowed to escape punishment.
- The teacher should try and avoid group punishment at all costs.A lot of gains are made if the teacher is able to isolate a student or two and punish them instead of punishing the whole class. If the whole class is making noise or failing to cooperate it is advisable to sometimes ignore the incidence or to look for alternative methods of dealing with the situation. When the teacher uses group punishment, it ceases to be punishment as learners may actually enjoy it.