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Were they 'dark days'?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by lanokia, Feb 7, 2016.


Was behaviour better in the 'dark days'?

  1. Yes for reason I shall outline below

  2. No for reason I shall outline below

    0 vote(s)
  3. Banning corporal punishment is not why behaviour has changed [reason given below]

  4. They should bring back corporal punishment

  5. Other [the Eureka option]

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Saw this article which described the days of corporal punishment as 'dark days'...


    I have no direct experience of those days... but I do find behaviour and pupil attitude [their sense of entitlement for example] very frustrating. Now don't get me wrong, I don't think a good thwacking would help,but curious to know what others think.

    So discuss and have a look at the poll...

    And you get multiple options.
  2. FritzGrade

    FritzGrade Senior commenter

    Hippy, trippy teachers of the 70s didn't want to be horrible to children and were dossers who couldn't wait to get home and go for a night out. Not interested in discipline.
  3. finisterre_277

    finisterre_277 Established commenter

    No one should be horrible to children except Count Olaf.
  4. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    There was still corporal punishment when I started teachingin 1980. Persistent low-level disruption was punished with caning. If, as a probationary teacher, I needed assistance with behaviour management, the DH would take several boys away and cane them. It was only ever low-level disruption and only ever boys who were caned.

    I hated it. I used to have to beg the DH for support only so that I could contact parents and arrange detention instead. It seemed barbaric to brutalise pupils.

    What changed was not (IMO) the loss of corporal punishment but the loss of teachers' status, the loss of valuing education and the rise of the entitlement culture and indulged children.
  5. artboyusa

    artboyusa Star commenter

    'It won't help you but it'll make me feel better' was how my mother put it, reaching for the yardstick with which I was about to get whacked for some misdemeanour.
    wanet likes this.
  6. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    The 'belt' was the only instrument of punishment known in schools I went to - administered on the hand.

    It was a punishment - but never really a deterrent. Just as one might get a clip around the ear at home, or a kick up the jacksy (well the threat of one anyway) from the local policeman, so one may occasionally get the belt at school. Hardly dark days - just days o_O
    guinnesspuss and wanet like this.
  7. racroesus

    racroesus Star commenter

    Somewhat true but banning corporal punishment wasn't the cause of increasing bad behaviour.
  8. Dragonlady30

    Dragonlady30 Star commenter

    The cane was still in evidence when I started teaching. The HT was good in that she used it only 3 times in 12 years. She threatened, and that was enough. Believe me, she was some scary lady; she terrified me, let alone the kids.
    You've only got to read the section in 'A Kestrel for a Knave' where the smokers get the cane to see that its overuse did absolutely nothing for discipline.
  9. Dragonlady30

    Dragonlady30 Star commenter

    I was a teacher in the 70s and the titles of Hippy or Trippy did not describe me in any sense of the words. Make your point without gross generalisation please!! :D
  10. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    I never hit or was hit.

    I agree completely with @GLsghost's analysis of the change. Indulged and entitled children and parents and an inability to accept responsibility for their own actions or lack of them.
  11. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    Although most teachers could belt, many chose not to. There was also an element of gaming the system on both sides:

    Our geography teacher was a very sporty, fit youngish bloke who was far too hard with the belt - the solution? - refuse to accept the punishment. That meant being sent to the head of geography who was the polar opposite of our teacher, being a lady, very small and thin, and (to us anyway) incredibly old. The trick was to stand with one's hands out level with her shoulders so that she could never get more than the weakest stroke at you. Some people got the belt from her for a bet and would put on a show of over- reaction -someone even rolled on the floor in mock pain - great fun:oops:

    PE teachers weren't generally to be messed with, and if you got in trouble the choice might be a game - 'one straight or three misses' chose the latter and if you could get your hands out of the way three times without being hit, you were free -BUT of course the teacher generally got the best of the bargain and most miscreants were lucky if they got away with only one hard whack on the fingers - but a decent spectator sport for others.
  12. marlin

    marlin Star commenter

    I started my teaching career in Scotland and had a strap in the cupboard behind my desk. The children could see it when the cupboard door was opened, but I never once used it. In the school it tended to be the DH that administered the punishment. I remember the staff meeting where we decided to stop using corporal punishment - about a year before it was stopped by law.

    I was 'slippered' at infant school - most unfairly. I won't relate the story here, but trust me it was unfair. :mad:

    I agree with GL (can't quote in an edit so text copied): What changed was not (IMO) the loss of corporal punishment but the loss of teachers' status, the loss of valuing education and the rise of the entitlement culture and indulged children.
    HelenREMfan likes this.
  13. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    How times change

    I couldn't ever do a job where the children in my care were hit by adults.

    It's just wrong. And a bit weird.
    finisterre_277 and Flere-Imsaho like this.
  14. cissy3

    cissy3 Star commenter

    I was given a few beatings by my mother when I was young, and by heck, that was a deterrent!

    At Primary school it was mainly boys who got the cane, but it was rare. I once had to receive a ruler smack on the palm, but I think the teacher liked me, and was doing it for 'fairness' sake, so it was a mere tap, which didn't hurt a bit.

    I went to a girls' grammar, and corporal punishment was not practised.

    As a 'probationer' in 1980, CP was still legal, but discouraged. I once clipped a lad round the ear for continuing to misbehave during a breaktime detention, and complaints from parents were received, but I was backed up by the DH. But, I thought, never again!

    By the time CP was abolished, I had built up a reputation and had few discipline problems.

    The shock was great therefore, when I returned to teaching (on supply) after a long break, and found behaviour to be apalling in many schools. (Though not all)
    The whole culture seemed different, with many 'superiors' bending over backwards to excuse pupils', and put the onus back on the teacher.

    I'm out of it now, and I have no answers. Except that I feel the pendulum has swung too far away to the other side.

    Edit: see GL's post with which I totally agree.
    guinnesspuss likes this.
  15. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    I started secondary school in 1965. It was strict compared to today's schools and we all feared getting a caning, but there were only two occasions in my time there that it might have been used, and I'm not actually certain it ever was.

    The cane was only allowed to be used by the headmaster. The word that someone was to be caned spread like wildfire among the kids during lunch break on the couple of occasions it happened. We'd return from lunch and be given something to read rather than a normal lesson. The teacher would pace up and down in anticipation, then at some point, we'd hear the headmaster shouting in anger at the kid who was to be caned at the top of his voice in the corridor. This would be followed by half a dozen loud whacks that sent shivers down so far down our spines, you wouldn't hear a page turn, let alone a pin drop.

    Caned kids were never seen again in the school.

    In later life, I realised that the noise of the caning could only have been achieved by the whacking of a cane on the table outside the headmaster's office, so I don't believe it ever actually happened.

    Class teachers were allowed to inflict physical punishment via the slipper on the bum or ruler on the knuckles, but there were only two who did this and by the second year (Y8) we'd all worked out there was something wrong with them, since none of the other teachers resorted to violence.

    I expect there will have been different policies in other schools. There will have been different headmasters too. I didn't know it at the time, but I found out after I left school that our headmaster was one of the most benevolent teachers around. He wouldn't take any nonsense though and supported any teacher who struggled with class discipline.

    Quite simply, it was instilled in us from the outset that we wouldn't want to encounter his wrath.

    There was however, another aspect of life that he taught us in assembly each day about common decency. We felt his wrath at anyone over stepping the mark wouldn't be limited to beating kids. There existed a feeling he'd take on an parents he thought were abusing their kids, inept coppers and anyone else who didn't do right by the kids he was responsible for.

    You wouldn't want to cross him, but you felt safe at school if you behaved, if that makes sense.
  16. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    I was around for the tail end of it at the start of my career. It probably didn't stop the hard core bad ones but it maybe deterred the aspiring bad ones from certain excesses. Strictly administered by SLT in theory but I did see one or two physical 'interventions' lower down the food chain during my early years in a Boys' sec mod. On odd occasions I had to shove or restrain to get my way but that was the culture then, and I never struck anyone. Then it all went out of fashion.

    In primary we had a teacher who made free with the ruler across the open palm for minor infringements - he didn't impress me, and I have no significant memories of that year in his class apart from being whacked for trivia. Not the sort of legacy I'd like to leave with my pupils - he was a bit of a nonentity all told.

    At secondary in the early 70s they often hired heavy-set deputies to handle the aftermath of the raised school leaving age. "Hired muscle for RoSLA" was how one colleague aptly described it. They had nicknames like Chopper, Basher, Crusher, and Killer and so on, with boxing trophies in their offices, and you simply didn't mess with them.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016
    wanet likes this.
  17. FritzGrade

    FritzGrade Senior commenter

    The 70s was when teachers transitioned to wanting to be friendly, thinking respect had to be earned, using forenames and generally soft; having been to school in the 60s and not wanting to be like teachers who had seen the war years. Teachers have been at the forefront of the easing of discipline and now endure the consequences,
    Many of the teachers who went to training college in the first half of the 70s were lazy dossers, who made their mark and left.
  18. Didactylos4

    Didactylos4 Star commenter

    racroesus likes this.
  19. Jude Fawley

    Jude Fawley Star commenter

    We had a French teacher who taught French of all things and hadn't worked out British corporal punishment.

    The ruler was applied edge on across the knuckles. Three on each hand. You were told to form a fist and hold your arm out with your knuckles up.

    I was beaten, caned, strapped, ruler knuckled wrapped etc.

    For not having the right pens, pencils and other mathematical equipment, not having P E kit, not having the materials for domestic science, for turning up covered in my dad's urine after he'd wet the bed we shared. Stuff like that.
  20. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    Yes. There was far more chance of getting beaten up by your classmates that there was being whallopped by a teacher.

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