5.14.2011

On the corporal punishment ban.

What do you think of the new rule that the board of education instated that says there can be no corporal punishment anymore? I mean beating kids wrong but they've banned stuff like running laps or even holding hands up and such.

This question is so old now, that I don’t even know if the questioner is even still reading. I guess I just needed some time to get a proper bead on the situation. As it happens, something occurred this month that has brought this subject back to the forefront of school cafeteria table discussion.

Basically, I’m reduced to kind of repeating what I’ve overheard and been told by the other teachers at school, so don’t take this all for gospel — I haven’t been able to check any news sources for myself. But what happened essentially is that a teacher was caught kicking a student who showed up late for a field trip on some other students’ cell phone video cameras. A massive ordeal thus ensued, causing the teacher to be fired, charged, and now sued by the parents of the student in question.

What’s got the teachers all in a state is the revelation that the students in question (both the boy who was kicked and the ones who took the video) were part of the school’s 짱 group — essentially a milder form of a gang. The allegation now is that the students premeditated the entire ordeal, provoked the teacher into anger and were ready, waiting with their cell phones to capture the moment in order to cause exactly what has happened to happen.

Now. What I have to say about that is this: the teacher got bested. The kids sound like a bunch of little shits — don’t get me wrong. But as the adult in the situation, you should have the foresight not to fall prey to a scenario like this.

And what I want to make clear from the beginning is that I in no way support the abuse, physical or otherwise, of any child by any adult.

However. There, for me, is a clear difference between abuse and corporal punishment. One that I don’t think many Americans understand very well. I understand it, simply because I was raised in a household that engaged in corporal punishment.

Abuse is what is done in anger. It is the striking of a child while in the midst of emotion with the purpose of causing physical harm to that child. It is uncontrolled, lacks methodology and clear boundaries, and it is absolutely inexcusable on all levels.

Corporal punishment is exactly that — a punishment. It is the use of physical means in a measured, predetermined manner and minus any emotion on the part of the administrator to control and correct the behavior of a child.

My parents were very clear with me when I was growing up about their philosophy behind using corporal punishiment. It was not designed to cause me actual physical pain (although that may be an unpleasant side effect), but rather the intent was to, for lack of a better expression, put me in my place. When a child’s pride gets out of control, corporal punishment is used to bring that child back down to a child’s level. Nothing less, and nothing more. The reason for putting a child back down on a child’s level is not so that parents have the right to reign over that child, but rather so that that child will willingly accept the parents’ guidance, which is ultimately for the best for that child.

Hence the name for the stick many Korean teachers carry with them to class (although fewer and fewer as the years go by): the love stick. The idea is that discipline is actually another form of love. If you love a child, you will guide that child in ways that are occasionally unpleasant and difficult for the child to accept. A child does not always know what is best for her. It’s the job of the adults in that child’s life to see those instances and be willing to take the hard course of being temporarily disliked by that child in order to keep the child out of harm’s way.

And I stand behind that philosophy. I’m a little bit old school in my ideas about how a child should be raised — I don’t believe that allowing a child to behave in whatever way they choose is really for the best for that child. Society doesn’t work that way, and a well-adjusted adult will ultimately come from a household which held that person accountable as a child, and taught that person that they are not, in any respect, the center of the universe. Nor do they know everything. Nor do they have the right to behave in any manner they wish, or take whatever they want for themselves.

I’ve talked about this before in the other blog, but when I graduated university and saw my peers start to take on the challenges of adult life, I understood, quite literally, the meaning behind my parents’ word that I would ‘thank [them] for this someday’. I saw people flail about in their personal relationships, not understanding the basic principles of reciprocity and personal responsibility. I saw them fail miserably at making important networking connections, because of the personal impressions they left on other people. I saw them lose or quit job after job after job, because their boss was “mean” and expected them to do things that they didn’t want to do. Those were lessons my parents had drilled through to me early on — I didn’t have to face all of the difficulties of becoming an adult while also taking on all of those lessons at the same time. They prepared me well for life, and for social situations where I was not the adored and protected center of everyone’s attention, where everyone was not catering to me and my special sense of creative freedom.

Now. Is corporal punishiment the only way to drive those points home? No. I don’t think so. I’m not a parent yet, so I don’t really have a lot of room to comment, but I am a teacher, and a teacher who has learned how to control her students without even the vague threat of physical intervention. I would, actually, like to think that I would be able to outsmart my own children in similar ways, and not have to resort to corporal punishment. To me — I’ll be honest — corporal punishment does seem a bit easy. And I would feel a bit, personally, like I was caving in, in some way, or taking the easy way out if I used it. That might change when I have children of my own.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t see corporal punishiment as a completely valid and effective method of discipline. After all, I was raised with it, and I don’t feel like I was done any permanent psychological damage, and I would certainly never call it abuse. There were times in my teens where my arrogance and strong willed-ness were so out of control, that I can see quite clearly now, looking back, how my mother’s slap across my face was the exact right answer. Nothing she could’ve said would have corrected my behavior as quickly or as effectively. Did her slap ever leave a mark? No. It never even really hurt. What it did hurt was my pride. And it needed to be hurt, in those moments.

So the long and the short of it is, I’m not one of those foreign teachers who is “horrified” to see the boys undergo corporal punishment. And it has been, almost exclusively at my school, corporal punishment. I work with lovely teachers. And they know where the line is. If a teacher has had an extremely ugly altercation with a student, they will not be the ones to carry out the punishment — they will hand the student over to a teacher who is not involved in the situation to take care of it. Because they know full well that laying your hands on a child in anger is wrong.

But where the introduction of this new law is a correct move, in my opinion, is in the grey area that exists because of human error. Not all teachers are as respectable as the ones I work with. Not all of them can be trusted not to cross that line. And that’s not okay. And it does need to be taken care of. The difference between a teacher and a parent is a stark one, in many cases. A parent, in an ideal situation, will have a much closer bond with and attachment to their own child. They are also not dealing with hundreds of children at a time. That makes them, again ideally, a lot less likely to go off course and cross the line between corporal punishment and abuse.

Where I think they’ve gone wrong with this ban is that they’ve suddenly decided that, just by putting a law into place, they are going to solve the problem. It doesn’t work that way — both the teachers and the students are used to a certain way of doing things. When the students hear, “no more corporal punishment”, what they are thinking is, “no more punishment!” And the teachers are hearing more or less the same thing.

Now, there are a few training programs popping up here and there to help the teachers along in finding new methods of dealing with classroom control. And that’s good. But I think that it really does need to be taken further — a whole new system needs to be put in place. It’s something that the Korean teachers have spent a lot of time asking me about over the course of the last few months — how do American schools control the students without corporal punishment? They listen with nodding heads and sounds of approval as I describe our rather emotionless formal system of demerits and detentions and suspensions and expulsions.

Where they get hung up, quite rightly, is on the fact that American schools have a whole body of employees in place specifically to deal with the students’ discipline. Korean schools have the 학생부, but that staff is made up of a few homeroom teachers who already have their hands full. It is no one’s specific job to manage all of this nonsense. Homeroom teachers, at the moment, are expected almost single-handedly to deal with all of the discipline problems that arise in their classrooms. Which they can do — with corporal punishment. Going to battle with little more than psychological warfare takes a hell of a lot more effort. There is no sending students to the principal’s office — the principal is not to be bothered with such things.

But the fact that so many teachers at my own school are thinking about it enough to ask me, the foreign teacher, specifically about it, shows me that Korea will get there. They’re not idiots — they know that they need to work out a new system, and they will get around to it. It’s already beginning. It’s just going to be a little bit rough in the meantime while they go through the transition. They will get a system in place that will get the job done — I have nothing but faith in that. And the next generation of teachers and students will come into the game already knowing the rules, which will make things a lot simpler than changing the rules on everyone halfway through.

As for making a value judgment one way or the other about which way is better, I’m far from qualified to do that. What I do know is that everyone is actively engaged in making the situation work. And that’s what really counts.

Ask me anything.

37 comments:

Mr. Spock said...

I really love your analysis, especially the difference between abuse and corporal punishment. I remember distinctly getting spanked as a child and it did not hurt. It was just about the most humiliating thing in the world to be taken over mom's knee and shown who is boss. I respect her to this day on a fundamental unshakable level.

I really think it would behoove Korean schools to introduce suspensions. In a country where the kids come to school extremely sick, being forced to miss a week of school would send a REALLY strong message. At my school as a kid they also had in-school suspensions, in which the kid sat at a desk outside the main office, on display for everyone to see. Ouch. I think that suspensions would work very well because one of the chief problems is that the parents take the child's word over the teacher's. If the entire chain of command at school greenlights a suspension, it becomes extremely difficult for parents to ignore. Okay, so it's your kid's second suspension this semester, with all of the warnings and phone calls associated with each one... Do you really still believe that the teacher is just picking on your kid? I think it would be a great tool in Korea.

This Is Me Posting said...

Going to disagree.

When my parents punished me, I had to do really difficult or boring chores under their supervision. I was grounded. I was not allowed to do certain things. But I very rarely was CPed and less and less the older I got. Teachers would make us stay in detention after school with extra homework. Sometimes I would run laps, but I never viewed running laps as a CP.

That said, if I had ever - and I mean EVER - been hit by a teacher, I would have taken a chair and swung it at them. If a teacher can hit a student, the student should be able to defend him or herself and the videos of Korean CP that have been floating online... if it had been my kid getting hit in those ways by one of their teachers, I would stop at nothing until the teacher was a bloody mess and behind bars.

Mr. Spock said...

INP covered that in her argument though. She talked about the difference between corporal punishment and lashing out abusively in anger. Remember also that a child can refuse to run laps, do extra homework and even go to the corner. Some kids eventually realize that they can just say no. Having no recourse beyond those toothless punishments renders the authority figures ultimately impotent.

This Is Me Posting said...

@Mr. Spock

No, she didn't. Read it again.

She distinguished between CP (incorrectly, I might add) and abuse (incompletely).

My punishments - both from my teachers and from my school - fall into neither category she described. Also, you speak as someone who's never dealt with a child or teenager. You're right in that the child or teen can say no, but as I hope your parents taught you, actions have consequences. I didn't do the extra homework? No problem. I got docked 10% of my final grade. No extra laps? No problem. Another drop in GPA. Never was I in a position that not doing the punishment wouldn't result in a consequence: But that consequence was NEVER getting the shit kicked out of me; which is what CP is, bar none.

Perhaps you didn't care about your grades - and that's fine. I know there are people out there that don't - but I was concerned because I wanted to get into good schools. And with everyone obsessing in Korea about getting into SKY universities, it's a wonder why docking grades isn't enforced more in Korean schools.

So now you're countering that there are some punk kids out there who won't care about their grades, their future or these types of reprimands and that's fine. They're out there, but the problem with those kids is probably deeper than an extra assignment at school will fix. Perhaps the parents aren't motivating them enough. Perhaps they're not being guided properly. Perhaps they're simply not allowed to be bloody kids nor allowed to do something other than studying 25 hours a day. I try not to presuppose. But in my case, when I got punished, I knew damn well why I was being punished, the level of disappointment my parents felt toward my actions and how my actions had consequences. I also knew that NOT "doin' the time" would simply lead to more problems: No TV, no games, no weekend outings, no attending my desired extra curricular activities (which, in turn, leads more people to be disappointed in me). The fact that you haven't thought this through is honestly quite surprising to me. After all, you purport to be a Vulcan. This is some pretty Basic Disciplining 101. Nothing is as simple as just saying "no." I would suspect you would have realized that when you declined entry to the Vulcan Science Academy. Saying "no" has consequences.

This Is Me Posting said...

If you can't figure out how to punish without resorting to striking a child, you shouldn't be allowed around children. Period. Not just because "Wah! People shouldn't hit children!" but because all you're doing is being a huge douche bag bully. If you're okay with hitting a kid to "punish" them, then by god, those kids should be allowed to kick the shit out of you back if they can. NO ONE hit me and got away with it - EVER - once I learned how to defend myself. And I'm not even talking "I took some karate classes" bullshit, no. If a teacher had started beating me with a stick, I would have taken my chair upside his or her face. I would have found a weapon - anything I could have gotten my hands on - and fight back. EVERYONE has a right to defend themselves. Just saying "no" to a punishment makes you a petulant child. Not defending yourself makes you a victim and/or worse a coward.

The problem is, Mr. Spock, you haven't thought about what you're saying at all. A kid says "no" to running laps, you've got yourself a troublemaker. Big deal. You start using weapons (i.e. "love sticks") to beat people, pretty soon, one of these kids will have enough and realize that he or she can (and SHOULD) fight back and start escalating. They'll get sick of it and bring their own sticks. Or knives.

Or guns. Now Americans don't care about these things. They love it when their students bring guns to school and start shooting people. Hell, it's what they're known for. Happens all the time there. But for the rest of us non-crazy people: It's something we try to avoid.

The Korean said...

You start using weapons (i.e. "love sticks") to beat people, pretty soon, one of these kids will have enough and realize that he or she can (and SHOULD) fight back and start escalating. They'll get sick of it and bring their own sticks. Or knives.

Ok. Riddle me this, then. Modern Korea's educational system has always used CP, until very recently. There is no question that CP was liberally used since the 1960s, when Korea's school system more or less looked like it does today. And I know just how prevalent CP was in Korea -- both of my parents were teachers who began their career in the early 1970s, and I went to school in Korea from late 1980s to late 1990s.

Question: if things are bound to "escalate" "pretty soon," why hasn't there been a single reported case of a student bringing his/her own sticks or knives to fight back in the last 50 years? Such case would have been so out of line in Korean society that it would have been reported immediately. Even in the 2000s, a story of a student pushing a teacher -- not even hitting, but jostling -- made national news. Even the cases that involve a physical retaliation by a student WITHOUT a weapon did not appear in Korea until the last 5 years.

(And it is not as if you don't have the resources to search for these cases. Naver.com has searchable archived newspapers dating back to 1950. Spend some time there, and see if I am wrong.)

By your account, by 1980s there should have been a mass armed revolt by students all over Korea. No such thing happened. How do you explain this?

I'm no Picasso said...

But that consequence was NEVER getting the shit kicked out of me; which is what CP is, bar none.

You start using weapons (i.e. "love sticks") to beat people

Now Americans don't care about these things. They love it when their students bring guns to school and start shooting people. Hell, it's what they're known for.


I mean. You are clearly being very rational, so I feel compelled to explain my point further to you, or converse with you at all. Right?

busanchristian said...

When I saw teachers use the love stick in my school it seemed to be somewhat effective. What really seemed to work was something like the Autobike where the student has to stand in the back of the room, like he is riding a motorcyle. However, it seems now that Korean co-teachers are afraid to use that one too.

Mr. Spock said...

This Is Me Posting does not use logic, and I am therefore unable to proceed with a rebuttal.

Spock out!

I'm no Picasso said...

I think what cracks me up the most about people and their ridiculous overreactions to corporal punishment is the assumption that a little bit of physical pain is so horrific compared to other punishments. When I was a kid, I'd take a five minute spanking over a week-long grounding any day. Same with most of my students -- if they were offered the choice between three swats across their palms with the stick, or a week arriving to school early to stand out front holding signs in the mornings, I know which most of them would go for.

This Is Me Posting said...

@The Korean - I don't know, Korean. Why don't you tell me. Feel free to answer your own question. That's your gimmick, not mine. Perhaps it is because their spirits are broken or they're simply too worn out from studying 24/7 that they choose not to fight back. Perhaps it is because they are suffering from Stockholm or have never been told that their is an alternative. Perhaps apathy. Perhaps they simply feared the retaliation of their own countrymen. This is, after all, a country that's totally fine with beating the shit out of children, blaming women for getting raped because their jeans are too tight and suing the downtrodden because someone else lost face. The legal system there isn't exactly a shining model of justice. All I can do is conjecture which is exactly what you want me to do in order to "prove me wrong."

But the bottom line is that Korea DID change it's laws and part of that WAS due to international shaming after videos of teachers relentlessly beating their students surfaced on YouTube. Hmm, interesting. And those kids filming their teachers? I call that rebelling. In a society obsessed with the internet where they publicly and shamelessly hunt down a woman for not picking up her dog's poop, I'm not surprise that they chose this forum to fight back. Those kids were smart about it and fought back in a way they knew how and I commend them for it. Those kids who posted those videos knew that what was being done to them wasn't fair. Why don't you? Why are you defending the beating of kids (who could arguably be seen as being defenceless)?

I don't know why "NO 1NE EVAR IN HISTORY OF GREAT NATION KOREA EVAR" physically defended themselves against their teacher. All I'm saying is that all it would have taken is one and I don't think it would have taken long for hostilities to snowball. I'm presupposing, aren't I? Anyway, I can see why you're cynical about it. After all, America's never seen anything like that happen in it's history, am I right?

This Is Me Posting said...

@INP - Facetiousness and rationality are not mutually exclusive. Also, I don't know why you quoted this part:

But that consequence was NEVER getting the shit kicked out of me; which is what CP is, bar none.

You start using weapons (i.e. "love sticks") to beat people


This is in all honesty. Am I wrong about something here?

As for your last point:

I think what cracks me up the most about people and their ridiculous overreactions to corporal punishment is the assumption that a little bit of physical pain is so horrific compared to other punishments.

I completely get what your saying. I mean I can see why you're completely fine with this:

http://youtu.be/hMTXnf7mnZI

or this:

http://youtu.be/iVdbPrwyU54

Or how one of my students' hands was broken after her teacher caned her hand too hard... after just one strike to the hand.

Look, the problem here is - as I mentioned - you've incorrectly defined CP and incompletely defined abuse.

CP requires "the deliberate infliction of pain." You're deliberately trying to hurt someone. To do so "without emotion" to another person? I don't buy it. Everything we do has a reason/emotion tied to it. Perhaps I'm simply calling bullshit on your assessment that you can hurt someone without feeling anything yourself, but maybe that's just me. Maybe you can hit people and "feel nothing." Maybe I've just been raised in a society where you don't go around hitting people just because you're the bigger person.

And let us not forget that that's what anyone inflicting CP is: "The bigger person." The reason you can administer CP is because you're not expecting the person to retaliate which has been my point since the beginning and which I'm noticing EVERYONE here is pusillanimously avoiding whilst attempting to discredit my argument with nescient dismissals. IF YOU HIT SOMEONE, THEY SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO HIT YOU BACK. People have a RIGHT to defend themselves. Now, with that in mind, how tough do you think you'd be if some of the older students you know ('cause for all I know, you're teaching grade schoolers, I don't know) were allowed to hit you back? I'm just asking because I would very honestly like to know.

Hey! I got it! Let's go one further: Let's say you're allowed to hit your students "without emotion," of course, and they're allowed to hit you back "without emotion." Sounds fair, doesn't it? I trust these hypothetical students won't hurt you too much, don't you?

The Korean said...

Buddy, I am working within the framework that YOU set up. You essentially said, "Korea should not be doing X, because the bad thing Y will happen." So I replied: "Korea has been doing X this whole time, but Y never happened. Why is that?" If your framework is correct, you ought to have a ready answer for my reply. But you don't. Instead, you give a litany of wild conjectures about how Korea does not operate the way you expect it to, and backpedal out of your own reasoning. Hmm.

If you want to convince anybody that you are trying to make a rational argument instead of making a bald claim of cultural superiority, the least you can do is to follow your own reason why your proposition is true. Why would anyone take you seriously if you cannot even follow your own reasoning?

The Korean said...

And one point about this:

I'm noticing EVERYONE here is pusillanimously avoiding whilst attempting to discredit my argument with nescient dismissals. IF YOU HIT SOMEONE, THEY SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO HIT YOU BACK. People have a RIGHT to defend themselves.

I am not dealing with this "argument" -- and I suspect others are doing the same -- because this is actually not an argument at all. It is a naked assertion of your own beliefs. It is functionally equivalent to "I like chocolate ice cream." There is no point addressing it.

As I see it, the only thing you gave that is NOT a naked assertion of your own value is your proposition that if CP were widespread, students will "pretty soon" fight back with sticks and knives. And noted above, such fighting back never happened, and you cannot explain why it never happened.

I'm no Picasso said...

Look -- if you want to continue to assert that all corporal punishment is kids getting the shit kicked out of them, then I don't know what to say to you. My students got their hair cuts checked yesterday. Everyone out of code stood out in the hall and held out their hands while the PE teacher went down the line and give each one smack across the palm. That is corporal punishment. How else would you define it? It is also, clearly, not students having the shit kicked out of them. If you're not able to distinguish the difference, then I have very little hope of explaining anything else to you.

But, as a side note, I feel really bad for your students in Korea since you've decided that their entire lifestyle is apparently pathetic -- that they have broken spirits and suffer from SS. My students certainly are or do nothing of the sort. And I imagine they would be quite offended if they thought I believed that.

This Is Me Posting said...

@INP - Cool. So now we're arguing a barometer of "How much pain is okay?" I get it! Kinda like those people who say: "Okay, well, just how far do you have to go before it's considered sexual assault?" Right?

Once again: A victim is a victim because that person is powerless. Each of those students should have had the right to hit that teacher back or defend themselves. Period.

Yes, what he did is CP. No, they didn't have "the shit kicked out of them." (I mostly use that for dramatic effect and 'cause it's one end of the spectrum). But it only took one hit on the hand of my student for the teacher to have accidentally broken it. And that's my point. You can't hit a person and not expect some sort of consequence; whether it be physical, emotional, mental, long term or short term. I can't believe I'm legitimately having this conversation with people in 2011.

Like I said, I broke rules, both at my school and with my parents. No one had to resort to physical violence. And now, look at me: I'm the ONLY one here that apparently has a problem with hitting kids. Forgive me if I feel I'm the one stuck in the room with crazy people. What kind of world are we in where I'm the lone voice against people hitting defenceless kids?

Also, you are free to assume whatever you'd like about me. It doesn't make you (or your assumptions) any more right.

This Is Me Posting said...

Wow. Censored my counter to Mr. Korean with all my links. Cool.

Well, it's your blog. You're more than welcome to delete whatever you'd like.

I'm no Picasso said...

First of all, you're the one who said, and I quote: "But that consequence was NEVER getting the shit kicked out of me; which is what CP is, bar none."

I simply gave you an example of that being a complete falsity. Which you've agreed with. So I'm glad that at least now you're willing to admit that not all CP is kids having the shit kicked out of them. That's a step in the right direction toward being somewhat rational on this subject.

Secondly, I have not censored anything. My blog comments are not on moderation. Whatever you post will show up the second you post it. If you cocked up posting a comment, that has nothing to do with me. I have no reason to censor you. I think it's quite self-evident to everyone that you're not making a lot of sense anyway, so I'm not worried about what you have to say. Say whatever you'd like.

Thirdly, I didn't make any assumptions about you but, once again, just repeated what you said back to you. You said your students have broken spirits and suffer from SS. I did not say that. I just highlighted the fact that you did. If you would like for me to just ignore what you're saying and assume that you don't actually mean it, then that can be arranged. Otherwise, you should speak more carefully.

I'm no Picasso said...

This is me posting -- for some reason, Blogger does seem to be deleting your comments. I have no idea why, and I assure you it is not me who is doing it. So I'll repost them now, as I have them in my inbox.

I'm no Picasso said...

This Is Me Posting has left a new comment on your post "On the corporal punishment ban.":

@The Korean - Oh for crying out loud. I did answer your question. My mistake was I didn't Google shit for you 'cause I know Googling is hard: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2009/06/117_47481.html

Is 2009 recent enough for something like this to have - hold on, hold on, let me quote you here so I get this right - "never happened?"

Student is hit with book, she slapped back, she gets beaten to such a point she received 12 weeks of medical treatment AND lost her court case. So, not only do I make a mockery of your "never happened" and the rest of your pathetically sanctimonious Ad Ignorantium fallacy, I proved every single one of my conjectures correct.

Tell me again how I'm back peddling. And tell me again how this "never happens" in Korea, please. PLEASE. I'd like to laugh at your posts more. Also, tell me again how my points aren't worth addressing because my framework is crazy and nothing I say would ever happen like that. Especially not in Great Nation Korea.

So, once again for those that have a little trouble with this: MY stance is that everyone should be allowed to defend themselves. The Korean's stance is that this would never happen in Korea, nor has it happened, nor will it ever happen. The REALITY is that it's happened as recently as 2009 and a LEGAL COURT in Korea ruled that... wait wait, let me quote this article from a newspapaer in Korea: "Retaliating to Corporal Punishment Is Not Self-Defense," thereby making self-defence an illegal act.

You know what sucks about not being able to defend yourself, Mr. Korean? You become a victim and things start to look desperate. Maybe Korean kids haven't retaliated as much as I figured they would. Maybe they just internalize it or hurt themselves. Or others. Nah, of course not. This is Great Nation Korea. That would never happen either. Right(http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2009/05/113_44229.html)? Right(http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/115/2/357.abstract)? But I'm sure you're going to tell me with your awesome knowledge of everything Korea that suicide never happens in Korea too, so forget I said anything.

I think we're done here, Mr. Korean. It's been uninspiring.

I'm no Picasso said...

This Is Me Posting has left a new comment on your post "On the corporal punishment ban.":

1) I did say that and I stand by it. Please except my humblest apologies for not elaborating on "shit kicked out of you." I can see why you thought I was being extreme, I forgot that this isn't the internet and figures of speech and embellishments are never used online.

That being said, one's definition of "shit kicked out of you" is, once again, simply an argument of barometer. But again, my apologies.

2) The post was there. I read it on your blog after I posted it. I even reloaded the page to see your post after mine. After my response to you, the post was gone.

If you're saying that you didn't delete it though, I'll take you at your word and pull it up from my cache ('cause I definitely don't feel like retyping all that I wrote) and blame the whole thing on internet goblins.

3) If you can do me a favour, could you tell me exactly where I said that my students had broken spirits and suffered from SS? I'm looking over what I wrote and I can't seem to find it.

Believe me, I understand the importance of writing carefully and of making assumptions. I've apparently mislead you once with the whole "shit kicking" thing, I would hate to think I somehow mislead you again.

I'm no Picasso said...

TIMP: Kicking the shit out of someone is quite a literal statement to me. And, even taken figuratively, I fail to see how a singular smack across the palms is an equivalent. Also, to address your statement about emotionlessness on the part of the administrator, that PE teacher who took care of hair cut inspection yesterday had to check literally every student in the school. He gave out hundreds of smacks. I can assure you that he was not in a rage for the entire day. It was just routine, and he wasn't even acting angry. He ribbed the students a bit about not doing what they should have done, gave them all a smack, tussled their hair, and sent them back to class.

If your stance is that you believe that ever putting your hands on a child in punishment, no matter how little harm or pain you may cause, is wrong, then that's your opinion. And I can't argue with an opinion, so I would have to just agree to disagree. But I will not agree that a smack on the palm is the same as kicking the shit out of someone. That's just simply a very literal logical misstatement.

And you are right -- you didn't say your students. But I assume your students have never hauled off and hit a teacher, or shown up to school with a knife. I also assume your students have, at least at some point, been subject to corporal punishment. Your assessment of the situation is that students who undergo corporal punishment have only refrained from hitting teachers and carrying knives because their spirits are broken. Therefore, the logical conclusion is that your students must have broken spirits, in your opinion. It's just a matter of applying what you've actually said, logically.

This Is Me Posting said...

@INP - I've already apologized about "shit kicking." Twice. I already said I see your point and I've already said that I shouldn't have embellished.

As for hitting on the palms and being unemotional: Once again, I don't think anyone does anything against another human without emotion. I don't want to stipulate on his motivations here, because I have a feeling you'll take me quite literally, but I simply can't believe that he feels absolutely nothing at all while he's doing it: whether it be anger, excitement, remorse, perverse pleasure, shame, hatred, annoyance, pity, I don't care. It could be anything. But I just can't accept that people do something to other people without emotion. Furthermore, once again, it's easy for the teacher to hit these kids on the palms because he knows these kids won't hit back or defend themselves. How many kids did he hit? How hard? Now for each kid that he hit, imagine that that kid could hit his palm back. How many times a year does he hit any one particular kid? How does a kid feel after the 5th, 6th time he gets hit? Over what? A hair cut? Maybe because mom and dad are too busy working late nights and the kid can't drive himself to the barbershop? He gets a hit for that? That seems totally fair. What would happen if a kid refused to let himself be hit? What would happen if he pulled his hand away or pushed his teacher away? What would happen if the kid let his hair grow out anyway? Are they going to then strap him down and forcibly cut his hair?

Sigh. Okay, we'll end here, 'cause we're going around in circles. We won't agree to disagree though, as we're not debating the same issue and I'm tired of repeating myself. You're more than welcome to defend hitting kids who can't retaliate or defend themselves. I will continue to maintain that if someone is allowed to hit you, you should be allowed to defend yourself or retaliate. One should never be cowed into victimhood.

As for your last part: Interesting. I see where you're going with this. Although, let's be fair here: I also said that it could possibly be apathy. Or that they're simply too tired from excessive work (because kids never fall asleep in class due to overwork, right). Or possibly because they know the law would rule against them should they ever try to retaliate.

I mean, I gave a couple of scenarios in that post. I was, of course, speaking hypothetically and what's the word again... guessing. Interesting that you're only cherry picking those two points.

This Is Me Posting said...

Oh! I'm sorry, I forgot to say thank you for taking the time to repost my posts. That was very nice of you.

I'm no Picasso said...

The problem with what you're arguing is that it sounds like, essentially, you think all discipline is mean. Whether it be a slap to the palms or a week of detention, the students must be held accountable for following the rules. Which means that their will will have to bend to the teachers' wills. So I don't understand the whole argument about holding them down and cutting their hair, or them not being allowed to hit back. A student is also not allowed to give a teacher detention, or make a teacher stand outside the school gate holding a sign. Why? Because that would be ridiculous. Maybe you think students should not be punished, or should be able to retaliate however they choose when they are punished. I don't agree. I believe that strong discipline is essential to building good, strong character in people.

Again, with the emotionlessness, obviously I did not mean that the teacher is an intellectual void while he is disciplining. He is not, however, angry. He is not in a rage. He is not trying to hurt the students because he has a personal motivation. Just like any punishment carried out for the sake of personal revenge is wrong, so too is hitting a child in anger. But a punishment that is clearly defined and outlined for the students, and carried out in a rational mind is not something that I have a problem with. Not when it is only a slap on the palm.

Again, if you don't get these points, then I don't know what to say. I don't really feel comfortable with your system of logic, given that you've already stereotyped both Americans and Koreans quite cruelly. To be frank, I'd rather be slapped on the palm then be classified as someone who "loves it" when children bring guns to school, or whose spirit is broken. So we'll agree to disagree.

The Korean said...

Sigh. Do I really have to explain to you what your words mean? Here is what you wrote:

"You start using weapons (i.e. "love sticks") to beat people, pretty soon, one of these kids will have enough and realize that he or she can (and SHOULD) fight back and start escalating. They'll get sick of it and bring their own sticks. Or knives."

You did not just say a student in Korea would fight back in retaliation to corporal punishment. You had additional requirements, including temporal requirement ("pretty soon") and manner of retaliation (with "sticks or knives"). Furthermore, your temporal requirement states that many such cases should have already happened. So this is what I said: "By your account, by 1980s there should have been a mass armed revolt by students all over Korea." That is the thing that "never happened."

Or is this another "embellishment" that I was supposed to disregard, and attempt to read your mind instead?

This Is Me Posting said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
I'm no Picasso said...

TIMP -- Since you have now crossed the line from nonsensical rambling on over into being racist and condescending to a second language speaker, as the owner of the blog, I am not censoring. I won't tolerate that for one fucking second.

And for the record, TK seems to understand the English language a hell of a lot better than you do. As well as logic in general. And he is a second language speaker. So maybe you should take some time to think about that.

I'm no Picasso said...

*now censoring.

MeganMc said...

Another great post. I’m going to chime in with my own opinion on CP and this comes from my own experiences. When I was young my parents sent me to a private school. At this school they used CP.

It was used on or before me for two separate occasions: one with a ruler being swatted against my palms and another with me being forced to eat soap. The worst punishment, “paddling”, was never used on me, but it was used on my friend. He was sent to the principal’s office and when he came back he was red-faced from crying.

The swatting was because I said the teacher was wrong to punish my friend since the “bullies” in our class had provoked him. The teacher punished me and him for questioning an “elder”.

The second case, the “paddling”, was because the kids, her “darlings”, had picked on my friend until he finally snapped and shoved one of them down. I said nothing that time. I remember his look of sadness at being so alone and I was too scared to say anything since I knew the teacher would never take our side against her “favorites”.

The “soap” incident happened in the first grade when a boy (different from the other bullies but no less of one himself) repeatedly insulted me until I fired back at him, “Go to hell”. When I lost it, he grinned ear to ear. It was what he had been wanting the whole time. He quickly rushed to teacher and told her what I said. She took me to the bathroom and made me eat soap.

In all three cases, it was not the CP (done to me or to my friend) that caused me resentment. It was WHY they were done. CP was used on us because we were “weaker”. We were not as popular as the other kids and didn’t cause trouble the way the other kids could. The teacher was afraid to get the ire of her “darlings” so she chose to take their side and make an example of us. Neither teacher bothered to really investigate what was actually going on and who was actually being victimized. They couldn’t take the time for that.

MeganMc said...

And by being that lazy and afraid themselves of the popular kids, they inadvertently gave them real power over the rest of the class. Those bullies had most of the class under their thumb because everyone knew the teacher was on their side and if you crossed them, the teachers would use CP on you, not them.

The CP didn’t scar me, but the injustice of it did. While they didn’t abuse us, they did abuse the use of CP in my opinion.

Yet is there a better solution? The kids will still be punished regardless.

I don’t know Korea’s system well enough to say if it compares easily to America, but from what I’ve heard it does sound very similar to Japan’s. In Japan, they got rid of CP a long time ago and in the good schools this causes no problem, but in the bad ones it’s made a bad problem far worse.

In those places, the kids are sometimes out of control. They openly bully the kids and sometimes even the ALTs. The worst punishment they might get is a good yelling at from the principal. They simply stand there, heads down, going “Hai” the entire time and when it’s over they leave and go and do it again. They don’t care. From their perspective they can do whatever they want, it’s not like their heading anywhere in life. They’re already regarded as “heading for the dregs of society” and don’t see how they can make it any worse by being bastards to those around them.

In one severe incident that got passed through the ALT channels there was an ALT who was being tortured by one of his JHS students. The worst incident happened when he was biking home one day and this kid came running at him, throwing rocks. He managed to get away unharmed, but when he came to school the next day to report it, the school did the usual “yell at the student” and then ask the ALT to forgive him. Forgive him for “rocks”?

The ALT had to change his pattern and keep a watch out, but even then it didn’t stop this JHS kid from trying to push him down a flight of stairs. (He believed the kid was mentally unstable and all the teachers did so as well.) Nobody would do anything.

Explaining didn’t have any effect on this child, but that was all the adults were willing to do against him. This very kid even seriously beat another kid, breaking one of the other child’s ribs, and all the school did was ask the “beaten” child’s parents to please keep hushed about it. The bully was never ex pulsed or anything. They don’t do that here in Japan, not in JHS.

And demerits and detention are out of the question since those would interfere with club activities.

I saw a previous poster on this forum mention that if he was hit, he would hit back. I wonder, if a student hits a teacher, throws rocks at him, tries to push him down a flight of stairs, does the teacher have the right to do those things back?

I'm no Picasso said...

MeganMc -- Thank you for sharing all of that. The one place where I do take a stand for taking CP out of the schools is in the sense that teachers are, after all, human beings. And they make mistakes. And, in my opinion, a mistake with CP is worse than a mistake with other kinds of punishment.

This Is Me Posting said...

Hey INP,

After my last posts I decided to wait a bit until I wasn't so heated before coming back to see what The Korean would have to say and found your censors.

It's your blog, you can do as you wish.

I just wanted to say that as a second language speaker myself (I didn't go to an English school until I was in high school), I didn't know that attacking The Korean's incorrect assessments of my posts was beyond reproach. He attacked my English, I attacked his. No big deal.

From my experience, when you blog 95% of the time in English, identify yourself as "Korean-American" and live in the USA since the age of 16, there's a certain statute of limitations in calling oneself a "second language speaker" which is why I don't go around saying I'm a second language speaker even though I've only been using English as my primary language for the past 15 years.

I shall heed your warning and contemplate how attacking the English of a second language speaker is, apparently, racist and chalk up your outburst against me as a moment of bad judgment and not as a racist act. You felt the need to defend a friend, as wrong as he was, and I can respect that.

I apologize for the troubles I've caused on your blog.

I'm no Picasso said...

TIMP -- You attacked TK's English out of anger, without there actually being an issue with his English. You brought it up out of nowhere just to be nasty and ugly and just to condescend. I don't care what your fucking background is. If you think that you being a second language speaker makes it better, then it's just more proof of your issues with logic -- you have absolutely no excuse not to know better.

All I did was make a comparative statement. If you think someone thinking someone else's grasp of English is better than yours is racist, then so be it. But I suggest not being the first one to bring the subject up in the future if it offends you. When you start on a line of conversation, other people are bound to follow it.

I'm no Picasso said...

And just for the record...

The censorship has nothing to do with TK being my "friend". I'm quite sure he can take care of himself, and I'm even more sure that your comment probably didn't even bother him in the first place. Because it wasn't true.

What it does have to do with is the fact that my boyfriend, my coworkers, a large percentage of my friends and all of my students are ESL speakers. I am an ESL teacher. Attacking someone based on their ESL speaker status, be it "racist" or just fucking ugly, is not something I can imagine you would think I would actually allow to happen on this blog.

JLR said...

I'm not trying to stir up the commentariat again, but did you see today's post on You Are Not So Smart? It's about the Backfire Effect. I think it explains why neither side to this argument will ever get anywhere with the other side (and it does touch on spanking, but only very briefly). It's just kind of timely. Really not trying to stir up shi!t, I promise.

I'm no Picasso said...

I'm well aware of that. This is one of the few things I mostly just refuse to argue with people about. Because, in my opinion, people (especially Americans) are highly irrational and reactionary about it. Especially if they don't have any first hand experience. But to me, it's one of those things that you don't get to have a stronger opinion about when you don't know anything about it, so I mostly just ignore it. People who quote data from their child psych books in my face in an attempt to argue with me about the way I was raised just aren't going to get anywhere with me, so it's not even worth the effort of responding most of the time. They can have their opinion and insist that it's fact, but at the end of the day, it's still just their opinion. Which is fine.