Elwood 5566

Because a Thrashing Always Improves Grades…

Posted in Education, Teaching by 노강호 on July 7, 2011

Jack’s thrashed palm

One of my students didn’t do well in his Korean language exams and so his teacher, a woman, gave him five thrashes across his palm with a large stick. Jack is a friendly student with a mild manner and despite not being the quickest academically, he always tries hard. I’m not against the stick but I am against using it either excessively or for punishing students because they didn’t perform well.

bruises can clearly be seen at the base of his thumb and left-center palm

I suppose he was quite proud of his bruises and told me that though he didn’t cry, it hurt so much afterwards he had to go to the nurse’s office for some ice. I am aware how situations and events can be wrongly reported by students but part of me wants to confront teachers who so viciously beat kids simply because they did not do well in an exam. Meanwhile, plenty of other punishments exist for ‘naughty’ students.

Students in my school being punished for lack of homework

First and second year high school students being punished en-masse. I would imagine this punishment particularly painful

A high school student waiting to be beaten. I’ve seen teachers in this school use golf clubs for this purpose

Two of the most common forms of punishment

Creative Commons License

© 林東哲 2011 Creative Commons Licence.

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4 Responses

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  1. wetcasements said, on July 8, 2011 at 6:16 am

    I don’t look at corporal punishment as a moral issue (although it is one). I consider it a pedagogical one — if a teacher relies on physical pain and/or public shaming, they’re a shit teacher. There are dozens of other ways to maintain discipline in a classroom and to offer positive, performance-based incentives.

    I guess the exception could possibly be in some of the more miserable inner-city schools in America, but Korean teachers can’t claim this type of grievance.

    And Jesus, if a kid isn’t A+ material you don’t punish him for it, you look for areas in which they can excel in their own way. That’s what drives me crazy about Korean schools and, frankly, what makes the Western approach (for all of its flaws) the better one in the long-run.

    • thesupplanter said, on July 8, 2011 at 6:00 pm

      Of course it’s a moral issue – it’s the use of violence for coercive purposes. How much more of a ‘moral issue’ is there?

  2. 林東哲 said, on July 9, 2011 at 2:34 am

    Yes, I agree, there are plenty other punishments available. With the thought of returning to the UK at some stage in the near future, I am greatly worried by the prospects of having to teach in a system where there are no effective means of punishment. I think once corporal punishment is banned in Korea, it won’t be too long before kids are given an armoury of rights, and all forms of punishment demonised.

    I hit kids and have done so in the UK. My nephew once fiddled with the electric sockets and a good clout taught him never to do it again.

    Not sure about British system being the better in the long-run. Better for what? If Britain were half way decent I wouldn’t be here. But, I do miss the creativity of British kids and the importance given to the arts that doesn’t end when high school begins.


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