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Six of the best - it never did me any harm!!!

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by scoby123, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. Much has been written about the growing ill discipline in today's schools. Were things really much different in the 'good old days'? We, the 'now older generation' were certainly not angels; but the difference is that we knew what to expect if we were 'caught'.
    There have been attempts by a television reality show to replicate education in the 50s. But they were doomed to fail: quite simply, they could not recreate the fear of corporal punishment, administered by teachers who often wielded the cane, just because they could.

    This post is dedicated to everyone who attended secondary (and primary?) school in the era of corporal punishment, and who suffered at the hands of teachers who subscribed to the educational theory of 'This is going to hurt me more than it will hurt you!'.

    Below are some of the 'offences' for which we were punished ...

    1 I was caned for not wearing my school cap. I was three miles from school, and twenty yards from home. It was my brother (the headboy) who reported me !

    GS West Hartlepool Grammar School For Boys


    2 I was caned by the Headmaster, because he didn't like the way I wrote the letter 'f'.

    LS West Hartlepool Grammar School For Boys

    3 I was given an extra stroke of the cane, because the sound of my being caned was different from that of my three friends - who had an exercise book down their trousers! I was ridiculed by the teacher as a wimp, and promptly caned again!

    GR West Hartlepool Grammar School For Boys
    4 I was given SIX strokes of the cane by my English teacher who took exception to the way I pronounced the word 'schedule'. I had pronounced it as the american 'skedule, instead of the english 'shedule'. Before each stroke, he snarled "How do you pronounce it?"

    HS West Hartlepool Grammar School For Boys
    5 I was caned by my Music teacher as part of a weekly ritual whereby he caned the whole class at the start of the lesson, with the words, "I know some of you will misbehave and escape detection. However, you will not escape punishment".

    PL Brierton Secondary Modern School

    6 I was caned by the Headmaster within ten minutes of entering secondary school: as the register was being taken, the Headmaster appeared, wishing to speak to our form teacher. He warned the class not to speak. I made the mistake of saying to my neighbour, "Who's that?", was spotted and sent to his study where I was duly caned.

    TS West Hartlepool Grammar School For Boys
    7 I was caned by the Headmaster because he saw me en route to school, talking to a girl from the neighbouring Girls' High School. She was my sister!

    MH West Hartlepool Grammar School For Boys


    8 I was caned because when summoned to see the Headmaster in his study, I trod on his carpet, instead of keeping to the linoleum reserved for 'the plebs' !

    BG West Hartlepool Grammar School For Boys


    9 At the age of 11, I was punished by my History teacher, because he would not accept that I could not write neatly: I was made to rewrite my homework. He saw it as no better, told me to roll up my (short) trouser leg, and promptly hit me three times with the flat of his hand ! To this day, I cannot write neatly

    PD West Hartlepool Grammar School For Boys

    10 I was caned by my Maths teacher, because he considered I had overreacted when taking evasive action to avoid a bogey flicked by him, as we worked, while he sat with his feet up reading The Daily Mirror

    JT West Hartlepool Grammar School For Boys

    11 I was given 100 lines by the head boy as part of a whole class punishment for noise outside the chemistry lecture theatre. Although I was at the doctors at the time, this failed to serve as a reasonable excuse. I was subsequently caned by the Headmaster for my protest, and for showing disrespect to his head boy.

    RB West Hartlepool Grammar School

    12 At Junior School, at the start of the school day, the whole class was tested on our 'times tables'. Those who underperformed were rapped across the knuckles with a ruler. At the end of the day, we were again tested; underperformers were again punished with the ruler. This took place most days! Strangely enough, we became quite numerate!

    DK Brougham Junior School


    Is there anybody 'of a certain age', with similar experiences? Were girls similarly treated?
     
  2. Much has been written about the growing ill discipline in today's schools. Were things really much different in the 'good old days'? We, the 'now older generation' were certainly not angels; but the difference is that we knew what to expect if we were 'caught'.
    There have been attempts by a television reality show to replicate education in the 50s. But they were doomed to fail: quite simply, they could not recreate the fear of corporal punishment, administered by teachers who often wielded the cane, just because they could.

    This post is dedicated to everyone who attended secondary (and primary?) school in the era of corporal punishment, and who suffered at the hands of teachers who subscribed to the educational theory of 'This is going to hurt me more than it will hurt you!'.

    Below are some of the 'offences' for which we were punished ...

    1 I was caned for not wearing my school cap. I was three miles from school, and twenty yards from home. It was my brother (the headboy) who reported me !

    GS West Hartlepool Grammar School For Boys


    2 I was caned by the Headmaster, because he didn't like the way I wrote the letter 'f'.

    LS West Hartlepool Grammar School For Boys

    3 I was given an extra stroke of the cane, because the sound of my being caned was different from that of my three friends - who had an exercise book down their trousers! I was ridiculed by the teacher as a wimp, and promptly caned again!

    GR West Hartlepool Grammar School For Boys
    4 I was given SIX strokes of the cane by my English teacher who took exception to the way I pronounced the word 'schedule'. I had pronounced it as the american 'skedule, instead of the english 'shedule'. Before each stroke, he snarled "How do you pronounce it?"

    HS West Hartlepool Grammar School For Boys
    5 I was caned by my Music teacher as part of a weekly ritual whereby he caned the whole class at the start of the lesson, with the words, "I know some of you will misbehave and escape detection. However, you will not escape punishment".

    PL Brierton Secondary Modern School

    6 I was caned by the Headmaster within ten minutes of entering secondary school: as the register was being taken, the Headmaster appeared, wishing to speak to our form teacher. He warned the class not to speak. I made the mistake of saying to my neighbour, "Who's that?", was spotted and sent to his study where I was duly caned.

    TS West Hartlepool Grammar School For Boys
    7 I was caned by the Headmaster because he saw me en route to school, talking to a girl from the neighbouring Girls' High School. She was my sister!

    MH West Hartlepool Grammar School For Boys


    8 I was caned because when summoned to see the Headmaster in his study, I trod on his carpet, instead of keeping to the linoleum reserved for 'the plebs' !

    BG West Hartlepool Grammar School For Boys


    9 At the age of 11, I was punished by my History teacher, because he would not accept that I could not write neatly: I was made to rewrite my homework. He saw it as no better, told me to roll up my (short) trouser leg, and promptly hit me three times with the flat of his hand ! To this day, I cannot write neatly

    PD West Hartlepool Grammar School For Boys

    10 I was caned by my Maths teacher, because he considered I had overreacted when taking evasive action to avoid a bogey flicked by him, as we worked, while he sat with his feet up reading The Daily Mirror

    JT West Hartlepool Grammar School For Boys

    11 I was given 100 lines by the head boy as part of a whole class punishment for noise outside the chemistry lecture theatre. Although I was at the doctors at the time, this failed to serve as a reasonable excuse. I was subsequently caned by the Headmaster for my protest, and for showing disrespect to his head boy.

    RB West Hartlepool Grammar School

    12 At Junior School, at the start of the school day, the whole class was tested on our 'times tables'. Those who underperformed were rapped across the knuckles with a ruler. At the end of the day, we were again tested; underperformers were again punished with the ruler. This took place most days! Strangely enough, we became quite numerate!

    DK Brougham Junior School


    Is there anybody 'of a certain age', with similar experiences? Were girls similarly treated?
     
  3. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    I think you're a bit late with this. Go back 23 years and try again.
     
  4. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    This just in: government announces 'National Curriculum'; passes 1988 Education Act.
    Er, why do you want to know about girls' experiences...?
    http://behaviourguru.blogspot.com/
     
  5. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    Pretending for just a few seconds that the OP is not trolling and is not a write-only poster...
    I think it may be significant, when looking at the use of CP in the 50s and 60s to remember the social context of the time.
    What seems like utterly trivial offences to us now, or not even offences at all and would almost certainly attract no sanction whatsoever may well have been viewed in quite different ways by the generation who went through wartime rationing.
    Children were beaten for droping their coats on the floor, though seeming crazy to us perhaps didn't seem quite so crazy to people who had had to save their clothing rationing coupons for months or years before getting the chance of buying an army surplus coat.
    And things did move on. In the 1970s when I was at secondary school, I don't think the cane was used more than two or three times a year, if that. And it would have been for serious offences (the one instance I can remember a boy in my class being taken to the headmaster and being caned was when he'd deliberately let off a fire extinguisher and sprayed a teacher with it.)
    Finally, assuming the question about girls is genuine then no, in my schools, girls were not subject to CP at all. I understand from reading about this in the 1980s in the run up to abolition that some schools caned girls on the hands and that perhaps this was more common in Scotland.
     
  6. There was definitely some rule that i read once that stated that "girls, infants and handicapped pupils should not be beaten". For some reason, the cadence of that line has meant that its stayed with me all these years. I wonder if i can find the relevant document online anywhere.
    *goes to look*
     
  7. I was at primary school in the 1970s and only boys were caned: in fact only one boy was ever caned when I was there, and that was for vandalising a teacher's car. I then went to a (state) girl's comprehensive school where no-one was caned.
    Whilst fascinating in a horrific way, I don't think it helps to dwell on where we have come from too much - life is too different now to make meaningful comparisons.
     
  8. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Occasional commenter

    Many thanks to posters so far, I think this OP is a troll (is that the correct cyber-etiquette term?). In this 21st century, CP is inadmissable - full stop. Search the Internet as much as you like, but in the developed world it will not come back. If it does, or anything correlating to it (e.g. capital punishment, judicial CP (as promolgated in some Islamic areas - such as amputation), then we are regressing to the Middle Ages at least.
    I was a member of STOPP, (Society of Teachers Opposed to Physical Punishment), and we were successful in bringing it to the British Parliament and getting CP banned. Mr/Mrs OP, go away!
     
  9. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    I don't think that's the reason people thought the OP was a troll. It's the way the questions were put rather than the suggestion that CP is brought back.
    The USA has capital and corporal punishment. Are you suggesting that that country is not part of the "developed world"? If so, you're wrong.
    It was a factor. It was by no means the only cause of CP being banned. The increasingly litigious society was at least an equal cause.
     
  10. In my clear enough recollection of those dark days, MrBronson, Mathsteach has it about right. I don't think the "litigious society" argument is relevant, going to court has always been the necessary route if immoral and illegal activities cannot be stopped any other way. But in any event the ending of corporal punishment in the UK was an inevitable (if stupidly delayed) consequence of progress away from cruelty and abuse towards children and young people in society generally. It annoyed many of us at the time that the profession (or at least its weaker members) stood in the way of accepting the obvious, that it was morally repugnant for a teacher to repeatedly beat a pupil with a heavy implement in a bizarre ritual with the intention of causing severe pain, injury and distress. The legal cases had to happen because the delay was unacceptable, and they helped things along, but it would been abolished anyway, not for fear of litigation but because it was plain wrong.
    You also give a misleading impression when you say "the USA ... has corporal punishment." A small number of states retain some form of corporal punishment, but these are almost exclusively southern states with a historic legacy of slavery and whipping, where somehow that history seems to have lingered in the form of school "paddling", a grisly legacy of the days when (white) teachers could impose any physical punishment they liked on (black) kids. I expect soon the last remnants will be stopped in all states, and as Mathsteach wisely says, it will not come back. The more developed states, like the rest of developed Europe, gave up the practice, in some cases at the end of the19th centuryand certainly by the third quarter of the 20th. The UK (and some of its old commonwealth) were left in the humiliating position of still indulging in this form of child abuse into the 1980s, when it was finally kicked into touch for good.
    I'm not sure whether the OP is using "never did me any harm" ironically, but either way, that comment always nicely illustrates just how much harm it all did, even to the spectators, ie being harmed to the extent that you think that formally beating children with implements is an acceptable practice, and could ever do any good, other than relieving the anger (and possibly perverted desires) of the abuser. No, all that has gone, and thank goodness will never return. May those who did these things to children hang their heads in shame.
     
  11. garyconyers

    garyconyers New commenter

    The thing about corporal punishment in schools was that it worked as an ultimate sanction to prevent serious misbehaviour for the majority of pupils. Of course it is right that it was stopped - I can't see how inflicting pain on minors to punish them can be justified.
    Unfortunately there are no real punishments left in schools to deter pupils from serious misbehaviour - hence the classroom chaos we see in many schools today. We now have the ludicrous situation where its easier to blame teachers for being abused, assaulted and generally mistreated by kids than the kids in the wrong. Making puplis responsible for their own actions rarely happens as that means having to do something about it. So its the teachers' fault.
    Doesn't make a return to six of the best right though.......
     
  12. I replied to this in detail, but it didn't post. Can't be bothered doing it again, so I'll just say - utter drivel from beginning to end. I don't know where in Scotland you were educated, but your perception of the belt and how it was used could not be more inaccurate.
     
  13. I was regularfly belted for the first three and a half years of secondary school, probably 1/2 a week - eseentially I had no interest in schooling whatsoever - by around 14/15 I was in all the bottom sets as well. That said I was never guilty of some of the 'crimes' related in this thread, I don't ever recall swearing at a teacher and only once did I walk out of a class - only pupil I know of who did this. My crimes were of the low-level disruptive type. And yes the belt didn't cure me but it certainly did a lot of good for the other pupils, I don't recall ever being belted twice in a lesson. My disruption was never personal, I just had no interest in the stuff at the front of the class, and to be frank no-matter how the lesson was presented I would still have had no interest whatsoever in schooling.
    I can't apply my experience across the whole spectrum of Scottish Education at the time - I had hoped I was making this clear by referencing background - , but as far as I am aware there was nothing special about the secondary school - only around a dozen a year ever went on to further education. In the space of 6 to 12 months a turnaround resulted in me joining that dozen later.
    The reasons for the turnaround had nothing whatsoever to do with teachers, other than the fact that most teachers were fine with probably only a few being 'poor' which was mainly indicated by the teachers atitude to their work - ie some were clearly, even to a child passing time before they popped a baby or found Mr Right. Quite simply I was belted because I was considered thick and came for a very poor background - this is one of the reasons I know that teachers are as guilty of ad-hoc discrimination as any other human being, something professions kinda refuse to accept or believe. As soon as I wasn't considered thick - from the bottom sets I suddenly started scoring 70-90% in tests - all belting stopped in every subject. I was then reasoned with, but note this was AFTER the turnaround. I am guessing some of the teachers were a bit shocked and I suspect ashamed - not becuase of the belting but becuase I had gone thru 9+ years of schooling and nobody had noticed, this would have been a insult to their 'professionism'.
    There was no doubt a number of reasons for the turnaround, however I suspect the pime reason lay with luck. I had a much older sibling who mistaking ordered a a whole series of Time-Life Books. I loved those books, not the reading of them ofc, but I loved the pictures, big fat gloosy pictures on science, history and nature etc, you'll know the type. It was just a short step from looking at the pictures on one side of the book, to the text on the other page. I wolfed down knowledge at what must have been an incredible rate. This was all done at home. I then noticed that in my maths class the whole suject centred around the 'New Mathematics' textbooks, and lo everything was neatly and consistently laid out in a constructive fashion as per the Time-Life Books - there was a story to tell there as well. The rest was for me at the time quite easy. Teh stuff at the front of the classroom although formal with no pictures was actually quite simple, the pattern, irrespective of subject was pretty much the same. I was dux in the whole school in 5 subjects within 2 years . Only in Mathematics did they have books however, so I ended up with a Maths degree - they had lots of textbooks at Uni.
    I read my first fictional book, all 97 pages of it, when I was 14 going on 15. My parents would never have been able to buy a computer nor think of buying one, no home-internet then.
    I have been on both sides of the fence and I can honestly say I never questioned adult authority. in the sense that if told I was doing wrong I could expect punishment soon after if continued. That was the way the world was in those days.
    Did I equate belting with adult authority no, but I never questioned the right to be belted, nor do I recall anyone else doing so. In retrospect belting helped the other members of the class far far more than it did me any good. When I turned the corner I sure as heck didn't like any disruptive getting in the way of my understanding.
    As for the modern techniques of children behaviour control I can't say I have must experience. But what I can say, is that the most dangerous moment at schooling for me was on the rare occassions a teacher did attempt to 'reason' with me. That was really dangerous. Because the moment they took off their adult authority cloak and came down to 'my level' was the moment I felt a need to punch them in the face and kick them in the balls - which is exactly the way I would have responded if any child had spoken to me in the same way.
    Most teachers are very good at teaching, most teachers know their subject(s) very well, but most teachers have not got a clue to what goes on inside children's minds. Only sheer profession arrogance would dictate otherwise. Some teachers maybe extraordinary gifted and can manage this, but pragmatically it is just dumb to profess that most teachers are in this boat. And even the gifted ones would not necessary be effective.
    You can replace the word 'teacher' with 'adult' in the above paragraph, it makes no difference. The simple fact is that children are jsut not simple enough to be subject to such a broadscale approach employed by modern techniques. Only real effective measures would be of the form of cultural changes within a given school.
    It's a total and complete myth that teachers as good at understanding children - it is certainly a myth that they are trained to do so. Eat that up and start making effective changes to your environment rather than following an endless chain of faddite techniques.
    Society's problems should be society's problems not the teachers. A teacher's work environment should be no safer or riskier than any other work environment. Refusing to accept this is just screwing over teachers. And I don't care what fracking BSing is used to justify poor working environments but if its happening take it to society not to the bleeding hearted educationists who pretty much don't have to work in such environments.
    For the good of the other kids.

    My perception of the belt are, in review, accurately and honestly recorded.

     
  14. This is punishment by humiliation, a very feminine form of retribution.
    In my day refusing to accept puninshment would have been 'girlie', indeed humiliating, which is another reason no one refused being belted.
    Belt was not applied to girls because it would not have been manly to do so, no matter the provocation, I am guessing any male teacher that tried this would have been ripped to shreads by the other teachers, in the staffroom ofc.
    I suspect women teachers didn't belt gilrs because male teacher didn't. Women teachers did in fact belt boys, and they tended to be very good at it. Those that didn't belt, few, were jsut a lethal as you were redirected to a male teacher would would certainly make the effort.
    On the whole female teachers were very well protected, only teachers I recall who had problems were male, these teachers were 'softies' who lacked strong presonalities and the children knew it.
    Nowever as said above, girls where pretty much a non-event in terms of misbehaviour, irrespective of their background.
    Society and Equality have a lot to answer for ...
     
  15. Actually as I recall you had to be very careful with female teachers, the comeback was more than likely to be verbal, which could get carried on outside the class by the other kids.

    Additionally being disruptive to a male teacher was more acceptable to your peers than a female teacher who didn't belt. You had to be peer-fair in your disruption.
     
  16. Oh and none of the other children ever complained about your disruption because it was accepted that you were paying the price for it. Perhaps kids nowadays know exactly the worth of detection/talkative schemes.....
     

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