Teachers get more power to punish

Xinhua
NEW regulation by China's Ministry of Education aims to grant primary and middle school teachers more room in punishing their students in order to achieve better teaching results.
Xinhua

A NEW regulation by China’s Ministry of Education aims to grant primary and middle school teachers more room in punishing their students in order to achieve better teaching results.

The regulation, which is still in the phase of soliciting public opinions, lists punishments available to teachers in three categories based on the level of severity of the offense, including naming and shaming, forced standing that lasts no longer than one class session, and suspension of class for no longer than one week.

Zhang Lifeng, a 43-year-old parent in Tengzhou in east China’s Shandong Province, welcomed the move.

“The regulation should have come earlier,” she said.

“It will benefit both teachers and students as well as parents.”

With a “troublemaker” son who often drives her crazy, Zhang said it is essential for teachers to use proper methods to guide misbehaving students down the right path.

However, she suggested that severe punishments such as suspension from class for no longer than one week could be improved to better protect students’ self-esteem and save parents time.

In recent years, Chinese teachers have shouldered pressure in dealing with misbehaving students given that many parents worry about the physical and mental consequences of punishments.

The regulation specifically prohibits punishments that directly cause physical pain to students, such as hitting and poking with sharp objects, and punishments that violate students’ dignity, such as insults and discriminatory or insulting words and acts.

Ma Yihao, an eighth grader at Guangdong Experimental Middle School, south China’s Guangdong Province, said the regulation will help students behave better.

However, Qiu Xiaotong, a seventh grader at the same school, disagreed. “It is normal for adolescent students to make mistakes. I don’t think punishments are necessary. They may cause more trouble,” said Qiu.

On the other hand, teachers said the regulation will at least help students better understand the consequences of misbehaving and that the role of parents is important during the implementation of the regulation.

“We teachers personally don’t want to use punishments,” said Chu Yun, a Chinese teacher from the Guangdong school.

“Teachers will also need parents’ support and cooperation to reach a consensus on the level of punishments to be administered.”

Chen Xianzhe, a professor from the School of Education at South China Normal University in Guangdong, said punishments are just a part of the teaching process.

Chen also said public opinion is important to perfect the regulation.

The regulation asks schools to draft their own rules, accordingly, to clarify the situation for teachers.

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