The perceptions and mental models of teachers on corporal punishment in school.
Sihle, Mkhize Ndabezinhle Buyiswa.
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Some of our teachers are so imbued with the idea that violence solves problems for them at school that they don't realize that there is an effective alternative discipline that is humane and violence free. They are not alone in this trap. Parents and learners too also strongly believe that inflicting reasonable pain is morally an acceptable disciplinary measure, and a deterrent. This study seeks to understand the reasons that make teachers perpetuate the culture of corporal punishment today, despite the fact that the 1996 South African Schools Act abolished the practice in all public and private institutions by declaring that the use of any form of physical punishment is unlawful and unconstitutional. Anyone, therefore, who contravenes the act, is guilty of an offence. This legal concept seems to be confined within public and private institutions, and does not extend to the parents at home and to society at large, where the culture of physical punishment is still widely practiced. From the point of view of Systems Theory we regard a school as a social system. Regard for the perspectives of the people involved in this human system is important in identifying problem situations, exploring them, and developing a grounded theory to account for them. In this study I employ the Primary Research Paradigm and use surveys as a means of collecting the research data. Winberg (1997:30) says that Primary research occurs through direct interaction between the researcher and the researched. It is sensitive and sees with the eyes of the researched and walks in their shoes. I use triangulation, combining conversations, interviews, observations, questionnaires and documentary analysis to collect data on the feelings, attitudes and perceptions of teachers, learners and parents.