Punishment in schools is an emotional and controversial topic for many people. Punishment refers to disciplinarian actions given to students for wrongdoing. Punishment in schools may be physical. Such punishments include smacking, spanking, kicking, pulling hair, twisting arms or ears, sit-ups with ears pulled and arms crossed, kneeling, standing on a bench in the classroom, squatting, excessive exercise, and hitting with objects such as cane and belt. There is also psychological punishment, which includes verbal abuse, suspension, dismissal, ridicule and isolation. The arguments for and against mainly revolve around the ethics and practicalities of using physical force as a way of maintaining student discipline. The most common type of punishment is corporal punishment.

People who are for punishment in schools generally take the view that, provided that punishment can be properly regulated, it can be an effective way of maintaining discipline in an educational setting. This punishment is given for an offence that the student has committed and serves not only as a discipline but also as a deterrent against future rule-breaking.

Despite the few above opinions that some people give in support of punishment in schools, others believe that punishment should be discouraged in schools due to the following reasons.
Punishment is a form of child abuse psychologically, as well as physically. It also sends out the message that violence is socially acceptable, which is entirely the wrong message to be given out. You can’t prevent violence with violence.

Punishment in school doesn’t work. There is no evidence that schools that use punishment are any more disciplined or orderly than those that don’t. If anything, the lasting effects of physical corrections are more negative than positive and undermine the teacher-pupil relationship.

Additionally, punishment makes a child fear the teacher. It can cause a child psychological harm. Many will remember the punishments well into adulthood. Children learn from the teachers and use physical punishments on other children. Punishment is an outdated way of controlling children and will present the school as old-fashioned and behind the scenes.

Punishment is not always the way to solve a problem in our school of education and discipline. Education needs to lead children to think for themselves, to be smart, creative and determined and this can only happen when there is a cordial relationship between teachers and students. We have to teach that mistakes are meant to be learned from, not something to be avoided or be punished for. Punishment and negative feedback demotivate people.

To conclude, Punishment such as spanking, hitting and other methods of causing pain to children can lead to antisocial behaviour, physical injury, increased aggression, and mental health problems. Children should not be punished because punishment causes physical and psychological harm to children.


More points on children should not be punished.

Punishment creates fear in students, especially during teaching and learning processes. Children learn simply to please the teacher and not to acquire skills and knowledge for their development. Physical punishment influenced by fear distorts a student’s motivation to learn. Students who are physically and emotionally abused develop anxiety that causes loss of concentration and poor learning.

Physical punishment can cause troubles in a student’s mind, a situation which can lead to psychological problems such as fear, anxiety and long-range mental problems which are connected to the loss of self-confidence and concentration in learning. Children who receive corporal punishment usually have lower intellectual power than those who do not receive corporal punishment.

Sometimes punishment leaves children feeling more resentful (bitter and anger) as opposed to having learned correct behaviour. They are left focusing on the hurt they feel and not the lesson they could learn. Actually, through punishment children can learn to stop the behaviour but not the reason why the behaviour should be stopped. Punishment only suppresses behaviour; it does not teach someone how to act appropriately. Therefore, the student can repeat misbehaving. Punishing students with the belief of improving his or her performance is a wrong option. This is because students will not improve; instead, they will continue to dislike the subject and the teacher of that particular subject. A child who receives compliments for being a good student is likely to show better academic performance than one who is punished for doing poorly.

Moreover, punishment lowers student self-esteem to learn and make them develop the feeling of learned helplessness. Being physically hurt by parents or teachers may cause the child to feel angry, helpless, powerless, guilt or ashamed and this can affect the child’s emotional, mental development and school performance. The prevalent use of physical violence against students creates an overall threatening school atmosphere that impacts students’ ability to perform academically.

Punishment also sets up a powerful environment for learning aggression and promotes violence in society. Moreover, corporal punishment strengthens ill-behaviour. This is because there is a tendency for the student to imitate aggression. Thus, teachers and parents who punish children physically are likely to have children who are physically aggressive in the future. The more students are exposed to corporal punishment, the more they become aggressive. Often children who experience or witness physical violence will themselves develop disruptive and violent behaviour. Furthermore, they may disturb their classmate’s learning as well as their own. It also encourages children to resort to violence because they see their authority figures (teachers) using it.



Punishment, particularly corporal punishment is an area of concern for schools and school officials because it has been found to hurt academic performance. Teachers in schools and parents in homes use punishment as one of the most important tools for controlling students’ behaviour and discipline. Different people like teachers, parents and other educators have different views regarding punishment. Some support and others oppose the use of punishment, particularly corporal punishment. From the psychological point of view, punishment is defined as anything that decreases the occurrence of a behaviour.

Those who do not support the idea children should be punished in school believe that punishment can cause trouble in a student’s mind which can lead to psychological problems such as fear and anxiety. They also contend that punishment sets up a powerful environment for learning aggression and promotes violence in society.

Despite these facts, punishment is also recognized to have some positive impacts.

Punishment is often considered necessary to children’s upbringing, to facilitate learning and to instil discipline. Some people need a little more push for them to reflect on their mistakes during their “punishment time”. It is because some students are a little tougher than others which makes it harder for them to understand what they have done since they are normally more stubborn. It was never said that punishments are needed for every little mistake, but students need the right amount of punishment for the right amount of discipline problems. Of course, you can try to warn him or her gently in the beginning, but if the situation worsens and gets a little bit out of hand, Punishments should be carried out when needed.

Traditionally, punishment such as canning has a proven track record. It is also effective as a deterrent, quick to administer, and efficient use of staff time. In recent times indiscipline in schools is on the ascendancy because Ghana Education Service (GES) warned that teachers should not use canes on students. Students should be punished because if they are not punished, they will think that they are grown enough to do everything on their own. There is a proverb that says spare the rod and spoils the child. If they are not canned they will be a white elephant in the school.

Physical punishment seems to be a good method for keeping discipline in the classroom, particularly in classrooms with many students. The majority of teachers believe that, without the use of corporal punishment, students will ignore them, their instructions and their directives. For this reason, immediate and strong corporal punishment appears to be a useful technique to keep discipline effective in the classroom.

Positively, punishment can help students to develop their responsibility as if it is done with students enough comprehensive of their faults. Sometimes it can be looked at as effective prevention and reformer of misbehaviour in the classroom and the school because a student who has received punishment will try to avoid misbehaving, learn good behaviour and will ultimately develop responsibilities. If the student knows that the consequence for misbehaviour involves physical punishment, he/she will not misbehave.

To conclude, punishment is to correct behaviour and it is how it is administered that makes some people raise few alarms. The existence of punishment in school has many advantages than its disadvantages. It is effective prevention of misconduct and reformer of misbehaviour in the classroom and the school. Therefore children should be punished in school.



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