Aug. 15. 2020
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   Student Survey Findings on Corporal Punishment Ban
   12687    2011-01-03

According to the survey, students in Seoul perceive "the times before the ban on corporal punishment are better than now when alternative punishment is in place" and a majority of teachers do not conduct direct corporal punishment e.g. using a stick, preferring an indirect way to impose educational punishment on students of wrongful conducts. The survey was jointly conducted KFTA and Seoul FTA after the Education Office of Seoul banned corporal punishment in the latter half of this year from November 15 through 19 in 25 elementary, middle and high schools in 24 districts, targeting 914 students via mail.

According to the findings, 35% of the students responded, "I prefer the times when corporal punishment was banned," while only 24.4% of them said, "I prefer now when alternative punishment is in place," and 40.5% said, "I don't know," or "Others." In particular, middle school students(43.7%) and high school students(35.3%), excluding elementary school kids, responded, "I prefer the times when corporal punishment was banned," a greater percentage than that of middle school students(20.2%) and high school students(23.8%) who said were found to have responded "I prefer now when alternative punishment is in place."

On the question asking about pros or cons against the ban on corporal punishment, more said yes to it with 41.1% for pros and 35.6% for cons. Among elementary school students, a higher percentage was found for pros(68% for lower-grade students and 54.8% for higher-grade ones), while more middle school students opposed the ban on corporal punishment by 41%, higher than the consent rate(31.6%). Among high school students, 38.8% conceded the ban while 37.2% opposed it, both of which are in the similar range.

For a question asking changes in the attitudes of teaching or disciplining of teachers after the ban, 40% of the students responded, "Changes have occurred," while 36.3% of them said, "There is no change," and 23.7% said, "I don't know." As for middle school, in particular, 46.9% said, "Changes have occurred," which is the highest percentage among all groups.

To a question that asked on specific changes, if any, on the mode of teaching or disciplining after the ban, the answers were as follows: "The number of giving disciplinary punishment or advice significantly decreased(16.2%)"; "Active disciplining(12%)"; "Passive attitudes such as leaving sleeping or noisy students alone(4.8%)." As such, it was found out that the level of teachers' disciplining of teachers weakened due to the corporal punishment ban.

To a question asking changes in the attitudes of students since the ban was introduced, answers were "There is no change(59.9%)," "There is change(27.4%)," "I don't know(12.7%)" in this order. To a question asking changes in the attitudes of students, if any, 21.4% of the respondents said, "They seem not to follow or reject teachers' instructions," a higher percentage than the answer, "They strive to follow teachers' instructions(13.4%)." To a question that asked how the overall classroom environment for students changed after the ban was adopted, answers were, "There is no change(24%)," and "I don't know(15.7%)," along with "Passion and participation in class increased(4.1%)," and "I find teachers friendly(7%)." Some other answers were "The overall classroom atmosphere has been distracting as more students have become noisy(17.9%)," "More students do not complete their homework(6.3%)." "More students do not bring to class things they are supposed to bring(7%)." and "More students come to class late, shirk from class or miss class(7%)," hinting at the overall classroom atmosphere.

To a question asking "What punishment is most commonly conducted in schools?" after the ban, the answers were "Giving or taking off scores in student GPAs(42.7%)," "Out-of-the-school guidance(disciplining classroom)(14.2%)," "Asking parents to come to school for parent-to-teacher meetings(12.1%)," "Guidance in classrooms('sitting on a chair for thinking over')(10.1%)," and "Volunteering and laboring(7.9%)" in this order. Among the respondents, 3% said that they "Conduct all sorts of alternative punishment."

To a question asking changes in the student-teacher relationships, students responded, "There is no particular change(49.2%)," "In more cases, teachers neglect students who have caused trouble(13.2%)," and "I feel more detached from teachers(8.9%)," while only 6.7% of them said, "I feel more akin and closer to students because we talk more than before."

On these survey findings, Lee Seon-yeong, the director of the Teachers' Authority Dept at KFTA said, “Given the reality that many students do not follow normal instructions of teachers in classrooms, which is also recognized by students themselves, the findings reaffirm the stupidity of the Education Office of Seoul that argues that now we are in this transitional period of confusion and chaos of schools and things will soon settle down," adding, "A majority of students perceive the need for indirect punishment, that is, an immediate control against students who stir trouble in classrooms, so it must be allowed. And the Education Office of Seoul must devise measures to protect the learning right of students and teaching right of teachers that inevitably follow the ban on corporal punishment."

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