By: Abdul-Ganiyy, Raji
Still fresh in the memory of those of us who pay keen attention to educational matters in the country is the recent inexplicable invasion of Federal Government Girls’ College, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria, by some irascible agents of the State Security Service, SSS.
A student of the school was given some lashes of the cane for being rude to her teachers. It was reported that this girl later put a call to a female relative of hers who is an agent of the SSS and informed her of her predicament in the hands of her teachers. Consequently, the relative, together with her other irrational colleagues, stormed the school, beat up the teachers and confiscated their cell-phones and other personal effects. They even shot sporadically within the school premises, thereby creating unnecessary panic among the innocent students of the school.
Teachers’ trainers have always made us believe that the best way by which teachers can make their students develop good behaviour is for them to set good personal examples for their children and serve as exemplary models to them. Some teachers’ coaches hold the opinion that formulating class rules and ensuring that every member of the class is aware of the rules is a great catalyst for good behaviour among students. In a similar vein, some educational experts have made great efforts to convince us that flogging erring and rude children is an archaic practice and anachronistic aberration which should be dumped out of our school system.
I strongly align with the thought that teachers should set worthy personal examples for their children and serve as good role models to them. I also concur with the opinion that every class should have rules and the class teacher should make sure every member of the class is privy to the rules that guide behaviour in the class. But, experience has shown that these practices have proved ineffective with some children. In most schools, flogging of children is a serious offense. I am also a strong campaigner against corporal punishment. My hatred for corporal punishment was heightened by my experience at a Lagos public school the other day, where I saw a child being dehumanised by his teachers. The child was not only beaten by more than three teachers, he was also made to kneel down under a desk, which culminated in excruciating pains for him. I really don’t like corporal punishment and I believe it should not be allowed in our school system.
Sincerely speaking, our teachers need to devise other means of dealing with discipline issues in their classes in stead of resorting to flogging which erodes children’s self-esteem and confidence. However, I am experienced enough to admit that there are difficult children who are hell-bent on frustrating their teachers. Nothing works with them. Imagine a school child telling his class teacher, “my father can pay your salary, to hell with you.” When a child behaves rudely to his teacher, the reflex reaction of the teacher is to cane him. Although, this approach is faulty, we should not forget that the teacher is also a human being with blood running in his veins.
To ensure discipline among school children, there is a serious need for strong synergy and collaboration between the school and the home.The teachers need to create an ambiance of love and friendship in their classes. They need to make learning fun and children-friendly. They need to understand that the classroom is not military barracks. They also need to understand that not all their children have caring parents at home and children who are not shown love and care at home need an adult to show them love and care at school. Parents also have the task of instilling good morals in their children. They need to make their children value education and respect those who provide them with education. Parents need to be actively involved in the education of the children. It is their duty to purge their children of arrogance. They should tell their children that no matter how rich they, the parents, are, their wealth will amount to nothing compared with what they will have in the future if they get a good education. They need to ensure their children do and turn in their assignments regularly.
With this collaboration between the home and the school, I believe our children will find learning fun and we may truly be able to phase out corporal punishment from our school system.
A concerned teacher and school head