The key stakeholders' perceptions of punishment and their effects on classroom culture
Date of Award
Master of Education (M. Ed.)
Institute for Educational Development, Karachi
This study is about the key stakeholders' perceptions of punishment and their effect on classroom culture intended to answer among other questions, the notion and rationale for using or not using punishment in the class. It was further proposed to look into how teachers can confer with other stakeholders of the school, including students, through their perceptions about punishment to understand the effects of punishment and explore the possible alternatives to it. The study was conducted in a community owned school in Karachi, where six students of class eight and their four teachers were involved as participants. In addition to these, one principal and three vice principals of the three sections of the school were also taken as participants. To shuffle the cards well, six parents and one board member of the school were also interviewed. The study revealed that, in the technical sense of what punishment would mean, it is not fair to deny completely the use of punishment in schools as a technique to adjust students' misbehavior. The terms misbehavior', discipline' and punishment' have been a common language in schools and that they can be explained together as if one influences the other. Some stakeholders looked into punishment as those actions involving physical situations only and they were not able to assess precisely psychological punishment. Nevertheless their perceptions indicated that there are some vivid examples showing that teachers can organize classes without tension of punishment, and though punishment may work, it should not be suggested to be used. In addition, although most teachers from the sample admitted how they remained skeptical about the use of punishment in the classroom, yet they could not do without it as punishment remained part of the hidden curriculum. At some point, some stakeholders suggested the word punishment' to be replaced, although meaning continuing practice. Some administrators also expressed their concern about the negative effects of punishment in schools. However, they accepted the continuance of some practices, and felt that particular modes of punishment might help in behavior management. Students on the other hand expressed their feelings that, as social beings who also wanted to belong, they needed encouragement, cooperation and firm control in a democratic alliance of parents, teachers and themselves. Students demanded for more democratic classrooms. Students should be able to face the reality of life from their time in school, as they will also be liable to go wrong in the wider community and punished. Hence, punishment starts at home through school and continues in the wider community. The effects of punishments cover social, academic and moral, aspects of life where, when a student tends to avoid one kind of punishment, one of these aspects is affected. For this reason some of the suggested alternatives to punishments were more or less other forms of punishments. The shaping of students' behavior where triangulated efforts are required from the parents, teachers, and the students, the Montessori classrooms where teachers are to organize classes which are conducive enough for learning, and guidance and counseling sessions in schools, were suggested as alternatives which can help avoid punishment.
Shoo, R. (1999). The key stakeholders' perceptions of punishment and their effects on classroom culture (Unpublished master's dissertation). Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.
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