Positive Discipline

:
Creating a Good School without
Corporal Punishment
Alternatives to Corporal Punishment
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Positive Discipline:
Creating A Good School Without Corporal Punishment
By Dipak Naker and Deborah Sekitoleko
Copyright © 2009 Raising Voices
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-9970-893-10-2
All photographs © Heidi Jo Brady and printed by permission of the photographer
for this publication only.
Illustrations: Marco Tibasima (marcowocka@yahoo.com
Photography: Heidi Jo Brady (heidi@hjbphoto.com)
Edting: Prema Michau (premalkm@gmail.com)
Design: Sarah Healey (healey.s@gmail.com)
Samson Mwaka (mwakasw@yahoo.com)
Raising Voices
16 Tufnell Drive, Kamwokya
P O Box 6770 Kampala, Uganda
Tel: 256 41 4531186
email: info@raisingvoices.org
www.raisingvoices.org
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POSITIVE DISCIPLINE:
CREATING A GOOD SCHOOL WITHOUT
CORPORAL PUNISHMENT
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We have all experienced corporal punishment at
school or at home, perhaps in the form of caning,
slapping, pinching, being made to kneel in the sun
or generally being humiliated. We have all grown
up witnessing its regular use, and as a result, we
have come to think of corporal punishment as
normal. Because our parents and teachers used it,
we have come to understand corporal punishment
as an acceptable way to relate with children. We
may even have come to think of it as necessary,
because people who loved us and cared about us
used it.
However, times change, and with change we gain
new knowledge. As custodians of children’s hopes
and aspirations, we must accept the responsibility
for creating an environment that will help children
thrive. There is now a widespread understanding
that corporal punishment is unlawful child abuse
and harmful. It no longer has a place in the
education system. This handbook introduces the
knowledge and skills that are needed to create
good schools in Uganda as a measure to promote
learning, growth and development of children.
1 Positive Discipline
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Acknowledgements
2
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Acknowledgements
3
As custodians of children’s hopes
and aspirations, we must accept the
responsibility for creating an environment
that will help children thrive.
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Contents
Chapter 1 | Understanding Corporal Punishment 7
What is the definition of corporal punishment? 8
Is corporal punishment common? 9
Can we imagine schools without corporal punishment? 10
Why should we expect our schools to change? 11
What is wrong with corporal punishment? 12
Why do adults use corporal punishment? 14
What is the Government’s position on corporal punishment? 22
Chapter 2 | Alternatives to Corporal Punishment
Positive Discipline within Good schools 25
Why do children behave as they do? 26
What is positive discipline? 27
How does positive discipline create successful individuals? 30
How does positive discipline lead to good schools? 31
What is a good school? 32
Why should we create good schools? 34
Whose responsibility is it to create good schools? 36
Chapter 3 | Positive Discipline and Good schools in Action 39
What are the first steps for creating a good school? 40
How do I know if I’m using positive discipline? 44
How do I respond to misbehaviour using positive discipline? 46
How do I create a positive classroom environment? 50
What are some examples of positive discipline in action? 52
Final Word 61
Appendices 62
Notes 71
Recommended Reading 73
4 Positive Discipline
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Who Is This Handbook For?
This handbook is for anyone involved in designing or delivering education within
Ugandan schools, including headteachers, teachers, school governing committees,
students, parents, public officials implementing education policy and anyone who
wants to get involved in creating good schools. This handbook will guide you in
thinking about alternatives to corporal punishment and how to put these alternatives
into practice at the schools in your community.
Using This Handbook
1. Read this handbook once to familiarise yourself with the concepts.
2. Read this handbook a second time while considering the following questions:
What do you think about the ideas being proposed? How do they compare
with your experience of education? Would these ideas help create better
schools? If so, how could you act on these ideas at your school? Make notes
in the margins or in a separate notebook as you think of the answers to these
questions.
3. Gather a small group of friends or colleagues and discuss the ideas in each
chapter.
4. Ask the teachers in your school to read a different chapter of this handbook
each week and to discuss it at their weekly staff meetings, paying particular
attention to how the ideas could strengthen the school’s discipline practices.
5. Engage teachers and other school members in developing a written plan
for how these ideas could be implemented to replace or strengthen existing
disciplinary practices.
6. Share this plan with key stakeholders.
7. Put the plan into ACTION!
5 Positive Discipline
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Corporal punishment is so common it has almost
become invisible.
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7
Chapter
1
Positive Discipline
Chapter 1 | Understanding Corporal
Punishment
C
hapter one explains the di-
verse perspectives on corpo-
ral punishment, the reasons
why people continue to use it
and the need to find alterna-
tives. It aims to help you understand what
corporal punishment is, its consequences
for children and the Government’s stance
on the issue.
This chapter answers the following questions:
What is the definition of corporal punishment? 8
Is corporal punishment common? 9
Can we imagine schools without corporal punishment? 10
Why should we expect our schools to change? 11
What is wrong with corporal punishment? 12
Why do adults use corporal punishment? 14
What is the Government’s position on corporal punishment? 22
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8 Positive Discipline
What is the definition of corporal punishment?
The following definition, by the Committee on the Rights of the Child, is the most
widely accepted understanding of what we mean by corporal punishment:
“Any punishment in which physical force is used and intended to cause some
degree of pain or discomfort, however light. Most involves hitting (smacking,
slapping, spanking) children with the hand or with an implement—whip, stick,
belt, shoe, wooden spoon, etc. But it can also involve, for example, kicking,
shaking or throwing children, scratching, pinching, burning, scalding, or forced
ingestion (for example, washing children’s mouths out with soap or forcing them to
swallow hot spices). In addition, there are other non-physical forms of punishment
which are also cruel and degrading and thus incompatible with the Convention.
These include, for example, punishment which belittles, humiliates, denigrates,
scapegoats, threatens, scares or ridicules the child.”
2

Corporal punishment is always
degrading and has no place in the
home or our schools.
UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
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Positive Discipline
Is corporal punishment common?
In a recent study in Uganda,
3
over 1400 children and almost 1100 adults were
surveyed about their experiences with violence, punishment and discipline. The
survey results indicated that corporal punishment was indeed a common practice.
More than 98 percent of the children surveyed reported experiencing corporal
punishment. More than a third
of these children said they
experienced it at least once
a week; 20 percent said they
had been burnt as a form of
punishment; and more than
60 percent of the children
said they experienced corporal
punishment at school regularly.
One out of every seven
children said they experienced
it everyday. Caning was the
most popular form of corporal
punishment, followed closely
by slapping and pinching.
It [corporal punishment] is too much and happens every day and
no one cares about it.
14-year-old boy
Corporal punishment is so common it has almost become invisible. Many adults
hardly notice themselves or others using violence to interact with children. In the
same study cited above, when responses from adults and children were compared
regarding use of physical punishment, adults consistently underestimated how often
they used physical violence against children.

0 20 40 60 80 100
Others
Tying up
Locking up
Burning
Denying food
Overwork
Pinching
Slapping
Caning
Forms of physical violence experienced by children
% of children
Males
Females
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10 Positive Discipline
With regard to experiences at school, younger children reported the highest amount
of ad hoc physical punishment, while older children reported being harassed or
humiliated by teachers. Girls reported a considerable amount of sexual harassment,
and one in five girls reported being forced to have sex. A lot of the bullying, teasing
and humiliation of girls revolved around their sexuality. Older boys reported the
most severe incidents of physical beating, probably due to the prevailing gender
stereotypes of physical resilience and notions of tough masculinity.
Many older children seemed to mimic the behaviour of adults, and as a result, they
victimised younger children. Bullying was reported as a major problem, especially
as an experience of girls and younger children.
When children grow up they keep what was done to them in mind,
and in the end they also do the same to those younger than them,
especially at school.
14-year-old boy
It is clear from this study that we are tolerating a considerable amount of violence in
our schools. A school that allows corporal punishment to continue fosters a belief in
all its members that other forms of violence will also be tolerated.
A good school declares a zero
tolerance of all forms of violence.
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
%

o
f

c
h
i
l
d
r
e
n
Others
(matron,
cooks)
Headmaster Teacher Other
children
Who perpetrates violence against children at school?
Males
Females
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When teachers and administrators were asked about the consequences
of corporal punishment, they provided the following examples:
Corporal punishment can lead to lifelong psychological damage,
such as depression, inhibition, rigidity, heightened anxiety and suicidal
thoughts.
Corporal punishment causes children to lose interest in learning.
Children resent the learning experience and, as a result, do not value
education.
Children learn to hate a subject or teacher. Education doesn’t thrive
when children live in fear of those who teach them.
School absenteeism and dropout increase. Children lose interest and
develop a negative attitude toward schools and learning.
Corporal punishment breeds cruelty and violence. Violence breeds
more violence. It is common knowledge that a significant number of
people who commit crime and violence were physically punished when
they were children.
Corporal punishment tarnishes the school’s image. Some parents do
not take their children to schools known for degrading and humiliating
children.
It costs money to treat injured children. When children are injured from
corporal punishment, the school must take responsibility for paying the
medical expenses.
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12 Positive Discipline
What is wrong with corporal punishment?
Most adults do not want to harm children. They use corporal punishment because
they experienced it during their childhoods. As a result, they trust that corporal
punishment will teach children how to behave. Often, adults do not realise the
damage they cause when they use it.
Consider the following consequences of corporal punishment:
1. Corporal punishment has physical consequences. Many children suffer
physical injury as a result of corporal punishment, such as broken bones,
infections and physical illness. These physical consequences can be painful
for children and costly for families. Injuries can affect children’s physical
development and can have an economic impact on the entire community.
Teachers beat us badly when we are late, and yet we come from
far. My friend has scars where the teacher hit her so hard.
10-year-old girl
2. Corporal punishment has emotional and psychological consequences.
When children are beaten, they often feel anger and shame at the same time,
which leads to a feeling of humiliation. When we force children to tolerate
an injustice, we damage their sense of dignity and self-confidence. Children
may also stop trusting adults who repeatedly use corporal punishment against
them. These negative experiences can lead children to depression, thoughts of
suicide, desires for revenge and aggression toward others.
What is left for me here? No one cares about me. They torture me
with words, and my heart is sick. It is better that I die than live this
way.
15-year-old girl
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3. Corporal punishment has behavioural consequences. Many children
who experience corporal punishment bully other children, or as adults, use
domestic violence. Corporal punishment teaches children that violence is
an acceptable way of imposing their views on someone less powerful than
themselves.
I become violent and beat other small children.
16-year-old boy
I feel so ashamed, shy, and feel lonely.
17-year-old girl
4. Corporal punishment has developmental consequences. Many children
who experience corporal punishment on a regular basis live with slowed or
interrupted cognitive and emotional development. They become withdrawn and
fearful of trying new things. They feel ashamed of themselves due to regular
humiliation. They need more time to learn social and academic skills. Their
performance at school deteriorates, and their ability to form healthy, satisfying
relationships can be severely affected.
I don’t settle when I think they are going to beat me. My brain
closes. I just be as if I do not have life and quake with fear a lot.
12-year-old boy
Because of these consequences, corporal punishment is counterproductive. It brings
harm to children rather than success. It does not help children learn what was
wrong with their behaviour. It undermines their confidence and contributes toward
children trusting adults less. If you are interested in helping children learn, corporal
punishment will not assist you in achieving that aim.
Most adults do not want to harm
children.
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14 Positive Discipline
Why do adults use corporal punishment?
Most educators enter their profession because they want to help students learn. They
do not intend to harm children by administering corporal punishment. Given the
harmful effects of corporal punishment, why then do so many educators continue
to use it? The answer to this question is not simple. Educators aim to fulfil their
responsibilities according to beliefs that are common in their communities. Until
now, much of our society and culture has encouraged educators and all adults to
hold the following types of beliefs:
1. Spare the rod and spoil the child.
Some adults believe that if children do not fear them, they will disrespect their
elders and behave in a way that is contrary to Ugandan culture and tradition.
These adults believe that by instilling fear in children, they can mould children’s
value systems and teach children to appreciate their heritage.
Yes. I beat them. How else will they learn respect for elders?
female parent
However, you cannot force somebody to respect you or the ideas you
represent. Respect is earned by giving respect, role modelling and helping
children see for themselves the wisdom of respecting those around them.
Furthermore, if we want children to respect culture and tradition, we have to
help children understand how culture and tradition enrich our lives; we need to
teach children about their heritage in a manner that respects their dignity.
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2. Without pain there is no gain.
Many adults have been told throughout their lives that learning occurs when
associated with pain. Our own schooling taught us to believe that without the
threat of the stick or a public rebuke, we will become lazy and not exert the
effort required to learn new things.
There are as many ways to punish a child as there are children.
What is important is that the child experiences pain and remembers
the pain or else they will not learn.
male community leader
However, we now know that positive reinforcement and compassion are more
powerful motivators for children (and adults!) than pain. Pain motivates a
behaviour aimed at avoiding pain. It does not teach children how to learn from
their mistakes. When forced to learn under the threat of a stick, children often
memorise the correct answers instead of internalising the deeper logic about
what makes those answers correct. Over time, these children become poorer
learners than children who grasp the underlying principles. Deeper learning
requires effort and safety, not the threat of physical pain.
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16 Positive Discipline
3. Good teachers are always in control of their students.
We have all learned from our environment that the only acceptable way of
relating to children is to exercise power over them, to control them and make
them comply with our wishes.
I do beat. It is my duty to make sure children behave well. If I don’t
punish they will get out of control.
female community leader
We must ask ourselves, is our main goal to control children or to guide them
on how to behave and learn from their mistakes? If we threaten them, they may
comply due to fear of the punishment, but as soon as we remove the threat,
they will likely revert back to the original behaviour. Helpful teachers do not try
to control children by beating or shouting. Instead they strive to show children
the error in their behaviours and create an environment within which children
can learn from their mistakes.
4. I was beaten and I learned how to behave better.
Many adults argue that they were beaten and humiliated as children, and it
did them no harm. Furthermore, they argue that it helped them learn right from
wrong, and it showed that the adult who punished them loved and cared
for them.
My father beat me all the time because he cared about me.
female teacher
As adults, we need to consider why we hold this belief. Often, when
experiencing abuse of power, people focus only on avoiding pain and
humiliation. They stop thinking for themselves and they learn to conform—to
agree with the reasons they are given for the abusive behaviour. If you were
beaten as a child, you were probably told repeatedly that it was for your
own good and that it would make you a better person. If a person is abused
regularly, it is natural for that person to think that abuse is normal.
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5. I only use corporal punishment sparingly.
Many adults say that a light slap or a few canes are useful ways to quickly
resolve a conflict and to show children they made a mistake. As long as the
punishment does not cause physical injury, many adults see nothing wrong
with it.
Yes, I slap her once in a while. It puts her right quickly.
female parent
However, most of the damage of corporal punishment is emotional and
psychological. It is not about what you do, but how the child experiences it.
Even single slaps humiliate children and insult their right to physical integrity.
Imagine if you were at work and your supervisor slapped you as a way of
correcting your mistake. The humiliation you would feel with one slap would
be just as damaging as five slaps. Although we cannot see emotional injury,
it often has more serious long-term consequences than physical injury. Also,
many adults underestimate the frequency and severity of their punishments. It is
hard to maintain clarity when you are angry, to maintain awareness of whether
you used a gentle slap or a hard one.
With an impulsive slap, adults do not guide children to learn from their
mistakes. Most of the time children simply link the behaviour to the pain, and
do not understand why the behaviour was wrong.
6. I only use corporal punishment as a last resort.
Some adults argue that it is important to retain corporal punishment as a last
resort. They say it serves as a powerful deterrent and allows a way out of a
conflict when all else has failed.
When nothing else works, a stick is necessary.
male teacher
However, far too often in normal day-to-day interactions, adults use physical
violence against children when other options have not been exhausted.
Furthermore, we undermine efforts to develop nonviolent forms of discipline if,
as adults, we retain the authority to infringe on a person’s dignity whenever it
suits our needs.
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18 Positive Discipline
Can we imagine schools without corporal
punishment?
Corporal punishment has become common in our schools and a part of how
we educate our children. Many parents feel that teachers have a responsibility to
control children and need to beat children to teach them discipline. Some teachers
feel they need corporal punishment to produce disciplined children who perform
well academically.
Many teachers and adults within the community, who have emerged from similar
schools, may well ask: What is wrong with teaching children to fear adults and with
shaming them into choosing better behaviour? Do we not value children learning to
obey and comply with what is expected of them? Isn’t it our role as adults to teach
children how to behave as members of their community?
These are important questions that require debate and reflection. We hope that as
you read the different ideas presented in the following pages you will see how the
world is changing around us and how we must respond to these changes. We have
to build skills and capabilities in our children to succeed in the global environment,
and recognise that our current approaches are not working. Humiliating children
with the aim of educating them is counterproductive. Humiliation debilitates children
more than it helps them learn.
Think back to your own experience of school. How many times a week did you
experience corporal punishment? How many times a day? If you explore your
own experiences or speak with today’s students, you will realise that all corporal
punishment does is make children fearful and ashamed. It does not teach them
what is wrong with their behaviour. It does not instil in them the joy of learning and
the ability to apply their skills to new situations. Imagine what your education would
have been like if your school had provided these experiences?
We hope that as you read the different ideas
presented in the following pages you will see
how the world is changing around us and how
we must respond to these changes.
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0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Yes, many
Are children punished in your community?
Yes, some
Rarely
Never
I don’t know

% of adult respondents
Male
Female
Why should we expect our schools to change?
It is sometimes argued that schools reflect the norms of our communities. If more
than 90 percent of adults say that in their community children are beaten, shouted
at and denied food or other basic needs as a form of punishment, is it any surprise
that corporal punishment is widely practiced in the schools of those communities?
Why do we have a higher expectation of schools, given the prevailing norms?
The answer is simple.
As a society, we expect
our schools to be places
where new ideas emerge.
We expect our schools to
nurture our best minds and
to develop new directions
for the progress of society.
Our schools should be
places where we learn to
think critically, evaluate
ideas, develop new ways
of relating with each other
and develop the skills that
will help us progress as
a nation. That is why we
have high expectations
for the values our schools
should embody. That is why
we invest our hope in creating good schools—schools that will help our children
achieve their aspirations. That is why good schools are crucial to the development
of Uganda.
As a society, we expect
our schools to be places
where new ideas emerge.
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20 Positive Discipline
What is the Government’s position on corporal
punishment?
Due to the negative consequences of violence against children and the challenges
of adopting a nonviolent approach, the Ministry of Education and Sports has
taken a clear stance against corporal punishment in Ugandan schools. We have
expressed this policy position through three circulars as well as other guidelines that
have been widely disseminated.
Key communications from the MoES
10 June 1997: The first circular was issued by the Commissioner for Education
and copied to all district education officers, inspectors of schools, headteachers and
principals to communicate a temporary ban on the use of corporal punishment in
schools and colleges (see Appendix 1).
9 September 1998: The Guidelines on Policy, Roles and Responsibilities of
Stakeholders was issued for implementing Universal Primary Education, and in
Clause 3.4 (iii) it explicitly forbids use of corporal punishment in schools.
10 September 2001: The second circular was issued by the Permanent
Secretary and copied to headteachers of government-aided secondary schools to
communicate guidelines for handling of discipline in secondary schools
(see Appendix 2).
7 August 2006: The third circular was issued by the Director of Education and
copied to primary schools, post-primary institutions, tertiary institutions, colleges and
polytechnics to expressly forbid corporal punishment in any school in Uganda. This
circular requires each school’s Management Committee or Board of Governors
to approve a school disciplinary policy. It further requires that any incident of
punishment must be recorded in a specific punishment book maintained by the
school. The circular clearly states that anyone ignoring these guidelines would be
committing an offence and would be held responsible in the courts of law
(see Appendix 3).

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Sample of other national policy that supports Uganda’s policy against
corporal punishment in schools
The Constitution of Uganda
The Constitution protects the dignity and the safety of every Ugandan, including
children. Article 24 of the 1995 Constitution protects every person, including
children, from torturous, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Article 44 under section (a) makes the provisions under Article 24 nonderogable,
meaning there can be no justification for contravening these rights. These provisions
ensure that our children have a constitutional right to be educated without
humiliating and degrading treatment.
Children Act Cap 59
Section 5 explicitly states that anyone entrusted with the care of a child has a duty
to maintain that child and to provide for her or his basic rights. Under section 5 (2)
the Act emphasises the responsibility of the same duty-bearers to protect children
from discrimination, violence, abuse or neglect. This means that parents, community
members and teachers have a responsibility to ensure that when children are in their
care, their safety is protected. In schools this means teachers have a responsibility
to prevent violence against children, such as in the form of corporal punishment or
bullying.
The Penal Code Act Cap 106
Section 221 explicitly states that any person who causes harm to another by an act
of omission or commission is guilty of misdemeanour and liable to imprisonment
for up to six months. Under section 81 and 228, the Act states that any person
who threatens or assaults another person causing actual bodily harm is guilty of
misdemeanour and is liable to imprisonment for up to five years.
The Education Act 1970
Under Government Standing Orders, chapter 127, the Act explains that the Director
of Education shall, on advice from the Education Service Commission or on her or
his own motion, remove from the teachers register the name of any teacher who is
convicted of a criminal offence involving amoral behaviour or who has been found
guilty of misconduct, which in the opinion of the Education Service Commission or
Director of Education renders the individual an unsuitable person for employment
as a teacher.
These as well as many other policy commitments are intended to ensure that
children’s rights are protected, particularly children’s right to access an education in
a safe environment.
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22 Positive Discipline
The Teacher’s Professional Code of Conduct provides guidelines for
governing behaviour regarding the teacher-learner relationship, including
the following:
Teachers must ensure that a learner develops as an integral whole (body,
mind, soul, character and personality).
Teachers must refrain from any kind of misconduct that will harm the
physical, mental and moral welfare of a learner.
Teachers should not have any sexual relationship with a learner.
Teachers should not use a learner’s labour for private or personal gain.
Sample of regional policy that supports Uganda’s policy against corporal
punishment in schools
African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
Article 11 of this document requires taking “all appropriate measures to ensure
that a child who is subjected to school or parental discipline shall be treated with
humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the child and in conformity with
the present Charter” (see also Articles 16, 17 and 20).
African Charter of Human and People’s Rights
This document declares that every individual, including children, is inviolable (Article
3), is entitled to respect for life and the integrity of person (Article 4) and has a right
to be protected from degrading punishment (Article 5).
International agreements with Uganda’s legal commitment
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and The International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights
Both of these agreements declare the right to human dignity and physical integrity
including that of children.
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The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
Article 19 explicitly requires the Government to ensure that children are
protected from all forms of violence. Article 28 specifically says that the discipline
administered in school must be consistent with human dignity. Article 37 requires
the state to ensure that children are not subjected to cruel or inhuman treatment.
As a result of these provisions, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the body
mandated to provide official interpretation of the Convention, has consistently
interpreted the CRC to require a complete prohibition of corporal punishment.
Uganda and the global movement to prevent violence against children
In December 2005, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution that called for
the elimination of all forms of corporal punishment against children in schools and
detention facilities. Also, the Secretary General of the United Nations published a
multi-country study in 2006 that unequivocally supports the policy stance taken by
the Government of Uganda. The report of the independent expert who coordinated
the study states:
“The study marks a turning point—an end to adult violence
against children, whether accepted as ‘tradition’ or disguised as
‘discipline’. There can be no compromise in challenging violence
against children.”
4

At the World Education Forum in Dakar, Senegal (2000), representatives including
those from Uganda committed to act on the basis of six collectively identified
Education for All (EFA) goals. Three of the EFA goals (Goals 2, 5 and 6) are
explicitly linked to quality of education and commit governments to invest in creating
safe, healthy, inclusive and equitably resourced educational environments.
At a global level, more and more countries are introducing legislation to protect
children from corporal punishment. Ugandan children are amongst the 42 percent
of the world’s child population who are legally protected from corporal punishment
at school.
5
Our challenge is to ensure that all our children enjoy this protection in
reality, rather than just on paper.
CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 23 3/4/2009 2:04:07 PM
The first step in finding alternatives to corporal
punishment is to understand the factors influencing
children’s behaviours.
CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 24 3/4/2009 2:04:09 PM
25 Positive Discipline
2
Chapter
Chapter 2 | Alternatives to Corporal
Punishment: Positive
Discipline within Good
Schools
I
n chapter one, we discussed corporal
punishment and why it does not
enable children to learn. In chapter
two, we acknowledge that prohibiting
a common response to children’s
misbehaviour will only succeed if
schools are given workable alternatives.
In this chapter, we encourage you to
reconsider your response when you see
children misbehaving, and we present the
alternative of using positive discipline in
the context of a good school.

This chapter answers the following questions:
Why do children behave as they do? 26
What is positive discipline? 27
How does positive discipline create successful individuals? 30
How does positive discipline lead to better schools? 31
What is a good school? 32
Why should we create good schools? 34
Whose responsibility is it to create good schools? 36
CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 25 3/4/2009 2:04:10 PM
26 Positive Discipline
Why do children behave as they do?
We need to understand what motivates children’s behaviour if we want to guide
children by using alternatives to corporal punishment.
Just as children have basic physical needs, they also have basic emotional and
psychological needs.
6
For children to develop to their full potential, these emotional
and psychological needs must be met. These needs include the following:
• Theneedtobelongtothegrouptheyfindthemselvesapartof.
• Theneedtobeacceptedbypeoplewhomatterthemosttothem.
• Theneedtofeelemotionallyandphysicallysecure.
• Theneedtofeelrespectedbytheirpeers.
When these needs are met, children are far more likely to become self-respecting
individuals who make positive contributions to their communities. However, if
these needs are not met, children will display unhealthy behaviours as they attempt
to meet these needs for themselves. Take for example children who are noisy or
disrespectful in class. They may be behaving this way because they do not feel
accepted by their peers. For some reason, they are feeling vulnerable and insecure
in that class and, in turn, are trying to make themselves look brave and strong.
Think of other common misbehaviours at your school. Could they be understood as
children trying to fill their emotional and psychological needs?
A child’s behaviour may also be influenced by the gender roles imposed by the
community or the child’s social status within the community. For example, girls are
often expected to carry a larger burden of the work at home and to be submissive
to their male counterparts. This may affect their attendance and participation at
school. Children with a disability are often stigmatised and ridiculed within the
community. This may affect their ability to respond to the teacher’s questions,
because they may fear additional ridicule.
When teachers understand children’s behaviour in this way, they will find it easier
to determine nonviolent responses that will benefit everyone. They will discover
new ways of guiding children’s behaviour. Sometimes a teacher will realize that
the behaviour is not the child’s fault and that the child needs support rather than
punishment. At other times a disciplinary consequence will be necessary. Many
times, a teacher will find effective and creative ways to respond to children’s
behaviour, without disrupting the class with disciplinary action.
CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 26 3/4/2009 2:04:11 PM
27 Positive Discipline
2
Chapter
What is positive discipline?
Positive discipline is a different way of guiding children. It is about guiding children’s
behaviour by paying attention to their emotional and psychological needs. It aims
to help children take responsibility for making good decisions and understand why
those decisions were in their best interests. Positive discipline helps children learn
self-discipline without fear. It involves giving children clear guidelines for what
behaviour is acceptable and then supporting them as they learn to abide by these
guidelines.
When necessary, positive discipline includes nonviolent consequences for poor
behaviour. It uses consequences that replace the experience of humiliation with the
following:
• Consideringtheeffectsofone’sbehaviour
• Identifyingalternativeandpreferredbehaviours
• Demonstratingunderstandingofwhyapreferredbehaviouris
important
• Makingamendsforharmdonetoothersortheenvironment
This approach may require students to engage in writing essays, making apologies
or performing chores in the classroom—any activities that make them stop, think
and demonstrate their intention to act differently in the future. Positive discipline
does not reward children for poor behaviour. It provides children with an
opportunity to grow as individuals by understanding their mistakes and appreciating
how appropriate behaviour can bring them positive experiences and opportunities.
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28 Positive Discipline
A positive discipline approach is child-centric, placing at the heart of every
interaction the best interests of the child. Central to this approach is the relationship
between teacher and child—its tone, its nature and the compassion and respect
within it. Teachers create these relationships based on basic knowledge of children’s
developmental needs and frame their responses to children with the aim of helping
them learn and grow.
Positive discipline depends on the teacher’s role as mentor and guide. It involves
providing positive reinforcement for good choices as well as consequences for
poor choices. A positive discipline approach rejects the use of violence as a tool for
teaching. It’s about making a long-term investment in a child’s development, rather
than grasping for immediate compliance.
In chapter three, you will find more detailed information about how to use positive
discipline.
Positive discipline helps children learn
self-discipline without fear.
CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 28 3/4/2009 2:04:11 PM
29 Positive Discipline
2
Chapter
When teachers and administrators were asked why we should
use a positive discipline approach, they shared the following
thoughts:
Corporal punishment is ineffective as a means of discipline. There
are positive ways to teach, correct or discipline children that do not
include physical and humiliating punishments. These methods improve
children’s development and their relationships with their parents and
community.
If we legitimise physical and humiliating punishments through our
actions, it becomes difficult to protect children. We must show through
our leadership that there are no acceptable forms of violence against
children.
Physical and humiliating punishments increase the use of violence
in society and make violence acceptable in the eyes of subsequent
generations.

A commitment to positive discipline teaches children that violence is
an unacceptable and inappropriate strategy for resolving conflicts or
getting people to do what you want.
CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 29 3/4/2009 2:04:11 PM
30 Positive Discipline
How does positive discipline create successful
individuals?
Experiencing positive discipline instils a desire to possess and demonstrate self-
discipline. People who learn through positive discipline show its positive effects in
their personalities.
• Theyhavecleargoals.
• Theybelieveinthemselves.
• Theyareself-motivated.
• Theyarewillingtoworkhardfortheirgoals.
• Theytrusttheirownjudgement.
• Theythinkofnewwaystosolveoldproblems.
• Theyarepersistent.
Their self-discipline comes from within, because they feel positive about themselves
and the people around them. They respect themselves and recognise that each
person has a meaningful contribution to make to our collective development.
Through many different experiences, they realise that their decisions and actions
determine whether or not they will succeed. They learn to accept responsibility for
their fate.
Think of your school as a child. Did it help you develop this strong self-confidence
and desire to succeed? Unfortunately, as educators we have inherited the idea
that we should intimidate the students in our classrooms instead of cultivating
their confidence. We beat children and humiliate them with the aim of creating
obedient students. We even refer to this process as imposing discipline. However,
by intimidating children, we are not equipping them to respond to the challenges
of life. The children we are educating today will need a wide range of skills and
abilities to compete for jobs and make wise decisions. We need to help them
develop self-discipline by allowing them to experience positive discipline.
People who learn through positive
discipline show its positive effects in
their personalities.
CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 30 3/4/2009 2:04:11 PM
31 Positive Discipline
2
Chapter
How does positive discipline lead to better
schools?
By using positive discipline we change what we know as education. Instead of
children coming to school to obey rules and memorise information, they experience
school as a place where they discover and define the kind of person they want to
be. Inspired by the outcomes of positive discipline, schools around the world are
now supporting all aspects of children’s growth, rather than just giving children
information.
This is a life-changing opportunity for many children, but they will only take
advantage of it if they feel physically and emotionally safe. Positive discipline helps
children feel safe and supported, but this sense of safety must extend beyond the
classroom. We must ensure that everything about a school makes children feel as
safe and supported as possible in all areas of their development, in all aspects of
growing up. This new kind of school is what we call a “good school.”
A good school ensures that its
structures and policies respect
children’s rights, include children
as valued stakeholders and support
children in growing their skills as
leaders and thinkers. A positive
discipline approach succeeds
when implemented within a good
school, because a good school
demonstrates the same investment in
children’s development. Without this
schoolwide consistency, children will
lack trust in the system and positive discipline will fail. Positive discipline, therefore,
inspires us and requires us to develop good schools.
A positive discipline approach
succeeds when implemented within
a good school.
CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 31 3/4/2009 2:04:11 PM
32 Positive Discipline
What is a good school?
A good school provides an environment, relationships and governance structures
that enable children to grow to their full potential. A good school enables children
to become compassionate, responsible, creative and thoughtful individuals.
Consider the following features of a good school:
1. A good school educates the whole child.
A good school helps children build courage and confidence in all three areas
of their development: cognitive development (how children think), social
development (how children interact with others) and ethical development (how
children become responsible citizens).
Cognitive development
A good school goes beyond teaching children to memorise information. It
helps children feel safe experimenting with the information they learn. It helps
them gain the courage and skills to examine the information presented to
them, to ask questions about the information and to try using it outside the
classroom.
Social development
A good school goes beyond the elimination of corporal punishment. It makes
children feel accepted and valued as members of their community. It develops
children’s self-confidence and ability to trust their own judgement. It provides
children an opportunity to build strong relationships with others and understand
how to positively contribute to those relationships.
Ethical development
A good school goes beyond asking children to follow traditional values.
It makes children feel safe asking questions about values and about their
responsibilities as citizens. It engages children in democratic school processes
and in the creation of progressive school policies. The adults at a good school
role model clear ethical standards and guide children in developing a lifelong
value system.
CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 32 3/4/2009 2:04:11 PM
33 Positive Discipline
2
Chapter
2. A good school uses positive discipline.
A good school has a zero tolerance policy toward corporal punishment and
uses a positive discipline approach. It provides students with a system that
helps them succeed and grow as they learn healthy and acceptable social
behaviours. This system is informed by compassion and derives its vision from
the belief that children need guidance, not retribution. In this system, mistakes
are an opportunity to teach rather than humiliate.
A good school helps children develop self-discipline by providing children with
mentoring, clear guidelines and ongoing support. Through positive discipline,
a good school helps children develop clear goals for themselves and helps
them build the skills and character to achieve those goals. It inspires children to
be persistent and recognise that achieving worthy goals takes hard work.
3. A good school serves all children equally.
A good school is sensitive to the varying needs of children. Girls may need
special protection from sexual violence, including harassment from teachers
and older boys. They may have specific needs relating to their reproductive
health, such as during menstruation. A good school meets the needs of
children with disabilities by equally including them in the learning process and
ensuring their participation is not undermined by bullying and stigma.
CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 33 3/4/2009 2:04:11 PM
34 Positive Discipline
Why should we create good schools?
A good school provides the following benefits:
1. Better behaviour in the classroom
Once you invest in creating helpful relationships with children, and present the
work in the classroom as a collaboration between the teacher and the students,
the classroom environment will likely change. Once students realise that their
views and opinions matter and that you take them seriously, they may invest
in contributing more positively rather than focussing on disrupting the class or
misbehaving to gain attention. As a result, their behaviour in the classroom will
improve.
2. Increased teacher satisfaction
When you have a class full of students who are interested in what you have to
teach, instead of feeling intimidated by your presence, teaching can become
more fulfilling. The satisfaction of seeing students fully attentive and excited
about learning is what makes teaching a meaningful activity.
3. Improved classroom learning
When students are encouraged to explore ideas and ask questions, they learn
more efficiently. They are better able to remember the information and apply it
to new situations. You may also see better academic performance on tests and
exams.
4. Better school reputation
Enthusiastic students are great ambassadors for schools. As they share their
pride in their school with their family and community, the school will gain a
reputation for being outstanding. In their direct and indirect representation
of the school, you will see the positive effects of implementing alternatives to
corporal punishment.
5. Greater contribution to communities and the nation
Creative, bright students who can apply their knowledge and skills are not
only good for our schools but also for our communities and country. They will
become the problem solvers of the future. They will become active participants
in our economy and the leaders of our nation.
CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 34 3/4/2009 2:04:11 PM
35 Positive Discipline
2
Chapter
6. Shared confidence in doing the right thing
Contributing to children’s holistic development is the right thing to do.
Ultimately, the health of our nation will be judged by the way we treat and
educate our children. By getting that right, we can make a substantial
contribution to everyone’s future.
CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 35 3/4/2009 2:04:12 PM
36 Positive Discipline
Whose responsibility is it to create good schools?
Everyone has the responsibility to insist on good schools in our communities.
Governments have the responsibility to develop policy guidelines and laws that help
educators create good schools. Educators—such as headteachers, teachers, school
governors and the public officials involved in education—have the responsibility
to turn their schools into good schools and to engage all stakeholders, including
children, in that process.
If you are reading this, then at some point in your life you likely went to school.
But what kind of a school was it? Did the school teach you skills that you could
use to keep growing as a person? Beyond teaching you reading, writing and
basic arithmetic, did your school teach you the life skills you needed to become
successful? Did your school allow you to participate in making decisions that
affected you? Were you taught in an environment and with methods that made
you feel excited about learning and confident that your teachers were interested
in helping you learn? Did your school build your confidence to make a positive
contribution to your family, community and country?
Think back to your experience and answer these questions honestly. If you answered
“no” to any of these questions, you are not alone. You may have found a way to
manage with the opportunities you were given, but imagine what your possibilities
might have been. We can do so much more for the children in our schools today.
We can prepare our children to compete in the global economy by improving our
style of education along with the rest of the world. We can update our professional
skills and methods so that children are excited about leading our nation rather
than intimidated into following our commands. We need to create good schools to
ensure our nation’s success.
It is clear that children who are taught in an encouraging environment, in which
they feel respected and valued, get more out of their school experience—more skills
to apply to their daily lives, more experiences for improving their minds and more
opportunities to learn leadership and self-discipline. Everyone wants to give children
better opportunities than they themselves had. You are in a position to make this
possible. Imagine the effect you could have on the lives of children if you took the
steps to create a different kind of school.
CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 36 3/4/2009 2:04:12 PM
37 Positive Discipline
2
Chapter
Imagine a school in which children feel safe to learn. Imagine a school in which
children are active participants. Imagine a school in which children not only learn
all the basic skills but also explore new ways of thinking—so that they can succeed
in changing the world around them. If you do that, you will have imagined a good
school.
7
It is all of our responsibility to make good schools a reality.
Everyone has the responsibility
to insist on good schools in our
communities.
CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 37 3/4/2009 2:04:12 PM
Positive discipline guides children in understanding their
misbehaviour and in building a personal desire to make
better choices in the future.
CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 38 3/4/2009 2:04:15 PM
Chapter
39
3
Positive Discipline
Chapter 3 | Positive Discipline and
Good schools in Action
I
n chapter one, we discussed corpo-
ral punishment and why it does not
enable children to learn. In chapter
two, we introduced the concept of
positive discipline and how, in the
context of a good school, it can be
a more effective way of inspiring children
to realise their full potential. In chapter
three, we provide tips and tools for tak-
ing the first steps toward creating a good
school and implementing a positive dis-
cipline approach.
This chapter answers the following questions:
What are the first steps for creating a good school? 40
How do I know if I’m using positive discipline? 44
How do I respond to misbehaviour using positive discipline? 46
How do I create a positive classroom environment? 50
What are some examples of positive discipline in action? 52
CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 39 3/4/2009 2:04:15 PM
40 Positive Discipline
What are the first steps for creating a good
school?
Creating a good school requires a schoolwide commitment. It will require the
school’s administration and teachers to learn new skills and collectively reflect on
the school’s methods. If you want to create a good school, consider starting with the
following steps:
1. Educate yourself.
Do some background reading. Read this publication carefully as well as some
of the recommended reading listed at the end of this handbook.
Get in touch with other schools that have already begun this process and learn
about their approaches, including what worked and what didn’t, what was easy
and what was challenging.
Get an exercise book for writing down your ideas and thoughts and for
charting out what actions you will take.
2. Create a shared vision.
If you want to create a good school, you must ensure that all stakeholders
get involved. It will take everyone’s time, effort and patience to create a good
school. Stakeholders are more likely to remain committed if you engage them
in creating a shared vision. As a group answer the following questions:
• Whydoesourschoolexist?Doesitexisttoproduceoutstandinglearners
who will become creative, thoughtful and disciplined members of the
community? Or does it exist simply to contain children in a classroom?
• Willwebesatisfiedifchildrenemergewithbasicskills?Ordowewantto
provide a higher standard of education?
• Whatkindofindividualsdowewanttohavegraduatefromourschool?
And what kind of educational environment do we want them to graduate
from?
• Whatkindofschooldowewantfiveyearsfromnow?
CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 40 3/4/2009 2:04:15 PM
Chapter
41
3
Positive Discipline
3. Share ideas and generate interest.
Share your ideas with potential supporters, such as non-governmental
organisations (NGOs) that may be interested in influencing the quality of
education at your school, as well as local district officials in your area.
Discuss the ideas in this handbook with the school governing body. For
their next meeting, create a short presentation on good schools and how they
benefit everyone in the community.
Ask for a special meeting with teachers, including the headteacher, to discuss
how these approaches could help the school achieve better results. Discuss
how these approaches could be implemented and who would lead the school
through this process. Emphasise that creating a good school may seem hard at
first but is in the best interests of everyone concerned.
Design special lessons and classroom discussions about positive discipline
and why your school is choosing to apply it. Explain carefully what it is and
what it isn’t. For example, emphasise that with positive discipline teachers still
have a responsibility to guide children and may still give consequences for
children’s poor behaviour.
Organise an open day for parents. Explain how your school is improving
their children’s education. Encourage parents to get involved and apply the
positive discipline ideas at home.
4. Create written policies.
Develop a written policy on positive discipline at school. This document
should include a basic explanation of positive discipline and the responsibilities
of teachers and students in applying it. Once finalised, launch the policy
publicly with the support and involvement of students, governing bodies,
teachers, parents and community leaders.
Write a Code of Conduct that specifically tells teachers what they can and
can’t do when they discipline at school. This document should clearly outline
consequences for the breach of school standards. It should also describe
what support the school is willing to offer teachers to help them fulfil their role
professionally.
CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 41 3/4/2009 2:04:15 PM
42 Positive Discipline
Develop a written action plan for how you will create a good school, and
review the plan once a month to monitor progress. Ensure that this plan takes
into account the varying needs of children in your school. Think about the
special needs girls may have based on the beliefs and stereotypes in your
community. Consider the gender norms that may influence how teachers
discipline boys differently from girls. Think about children who have a disability
and how you will ensure that they are not excluded from participating in school
activities.
Ensure that the entire community is aware of the school’s transformation
and is committed to the process. If appropriate, you could engage community
members, including community leaders, in signing a community-wide
agreement that supports and promotes the new policies and plans.
5. Create structures that will keep all stakeholders engaged.
Establish an elected student’s body that has a clear say in all of the above
decisions.
Establish a teachers committee that, together with the student’s body, has the
day-to-day responsibility to spearhead the process of creating a good school.
Create a regular forum for teachers and students through which they can
share their ideas and experiences of creating a good school. It could be a
schoolwide essay writing competition, picture drawing competition, suggestion
boxes, school assembly presentations, dramas and short stories or any other
method through which ideas can be shared. Sharing ideas and experiences
can also take place through formal class projects or peer education projects.
CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 42 3/4/2009 2:04:15 PM
Chapter
43
3
Positive Discipline
6. Build teachers’ and administrators’ ability to successfully use positive
discipline.
Positive discipline is a critical component of good schools. Provide training and
resources for teachers and administrators on how to use positive discipline.
Begin by studying the remaining sections in this chapter.
Creating a good school requires
a schoolwide commitment.
CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 43 3/4/2009 2:04:15 PM
44 Positive Discipline
How do I know if I am using positive discipline?
The following table will help you analyse your current approach to teaching. Read
through the table and compare the two columns. Consider how you would rate
yourself based on the guide provided. Assess yourself by circling a number for each
row (rows A to F). Be as honest as possible, since this activity is entirely for your own
learning.
Choosing a number
1 means your approach is completely described by the positive discipline column.
2 means your approach is mostly described by the positive discipline column,
although you have some doubts.
3 means you are not sure. You agree with parts of the descriptions in both columns.
4 means your approach is mostly described by the corporal punishment column,
although you have some doubts.
5 means your approach is completely described by the corporal punishment
column.
Interpreting your score
Once you have circled a number for each row, add up the circled numbers to
determine your score.
A total score of 6 to 14 means you are already practicing the ideas of positive
discipline. You could be a valuable role model for other teachers in your school and
could take a leadership role in creating a good school for your community.

A total score of 15 to 21 means you agree with some ideas of positive discipline
and would also gain from building your understanding and skills. Review the
contents of this handbook and meet with your colleagues to discuss the ideas
presented. Through discussions with colleagues you can advance your skills and
knowledge with greater ease and support.
A total score of 22 to 30 means you approach education using the ideas of
corporal punishment. We hope you will choose to engage with some of the ideas
in this handbook and begin to think about the effectiveness of using a positive
discipline approach.
Take a few days to reflect on your results. Then repeat the questionnaire, except
this time choose numbers based on what kind of an educator you aspire to be.
Compare your two scores. As you improve your knowledge and skills for using
positive discipline, continue to re-evaluate yourself. Aim to decrease the difference
between the two scores.
CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 44 3/4/2009 2:04:15 PM
Chapter
45
3
Positive Discipline
Positive Discipline
Corporal Punishment
Motivates. You never use violence
and instead role model values and
behaviours that children aspire to
acquire. While doing so, you provide
a clear indication of rewards and
consequences for choices.
Punishes. You use fear or shame to
ensure that children think or behave
in a prescribed way. You use such
punishments as beating, insulting and
humiliating.
A 1 2
3
4 5
Aims to empower children. You help
children take responsibility for making
good decisions by providing them with
the skills and environment to freely
explore ideas.
Aims to create obedient children. You
create a classroom environment in which
children learn to obey what they are told
instead of think for themselves.
B 1 2
3
4 5
Child-centric. You consider all issues
from a child’s perspective and calculate
all your responses based on how they
will help children learn from their
mistakes.
Teacher-centric. Your priorities prevail in
all considerations and your point of view
determines the right course of action.
C 1 2
3
4 5
Democratic. You tolerate different
ideas and even mistakes if they may
lead to constructive learning. Your aim
is to create workable rules that are
mutually beneficial.
Authoritarian. You tell children what
to do and punish them if they choose
another course of action.
D 1 2
3
4 5
Values and respects individuality. You
accept that all of us are individuals with
a variety of views and priorities. You
welcome these differences.
Values conformity. You reward those
who behave and think like you do and
punish those who do not.
E 1 2
3
4 5
Long-term development. Your
approach is based on nurturing the
development of the whole child over a
long period of time.
Short-term compliance. Your approach
aims to create obedience in a specific
situation. It only gives secondary and
indirect consideration to the long-term
development of the child.
F 1 2 3 4 5
CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 45 3/4/2009 2:04:15 PM
46 Positive Discipline
How do I respond to misbehaviour using positive
discipline?
Many teachers agree that when they discuss or read about positive discipline it
makes sense, but when they attempt to practice positive discipline on a day-to-day
basis it becomes harder to understand. They are able to eliminate physical violence
from their responses, such as no longer using a cane, but still feel dependent on
other equally humiliating punishments.
We understand that changing to a positive discipline approach is not easy. The
process requires patience and persistence. In collaboration with your colleagues,
you will need to build your understanding of the principles of positive discipline and
learn practical positive discipline techniques.
The four principles of positive discipline
In a positive discipline approach, a disciplinary response should be:
1. Relevant to the misbehaviour
2. Proportional to the offence
3. Focused on correcting the behaviour not humiliating the student
4. Aimed at rehabilitation (learning from mistakes) not retribution (payback)
However, your first action when using positive discipline is not to apply these four
principles in your disciplinary response but rather to decide if discipline is even
appropriate. When it seems a student has misbehaved, your first challenge is
to ensure you understand the reasons for the child’s behaviour and to evaluate
whether the behaviour actually deserves a disciplinary response.
Often poor behaviour results from factors outside a child’s control and, therefore,
disciplining the child will not eliminate the behaviour. Instead, other interventions
and support for the child are required. For example, sometimes children come late
to school because they were sent by parents to run errands.
CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 46 3/4/2009 2:04:15 PM
Chapter
47
3
Positive Discipline
Other times, however, children make poor choices based on flawed beliefs. For
example, sometimes children make no effort to arrive on time for school because
they do not believe that punctuality is important. These types of beliefs should be
corrected through a disciplinary response—they are correctable beliefs.
Once you have established that the behaviour is based on a correctable belief, as
opposed to circumstances beyond the child’s control, you can begin to respond with
disciplinary measures that adhere to the four principles of positive discipline.
Changing to a positive discipline
approach is not easy. The process
requires patience and persistence.
CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 47 3/4/2009 2:04:15 PM
48 Positive Discipline
The four categories of positive discipline
responses
In order to follow the four principles of positive discipline you will need to
customise your disciplinary response for each child and each misbehaviour. This
process will become easier with practice. Within the following four categories
of positive discipline responses you will find a variety of practical ideas for
responding to varying degrees of misbehaviour. These ideas can be applied alone
or in combination. The four categories of responses are Reflection, Penalty,
Reparation and Last Resort.
1. Reflection
For minor day-to-day problems, such as coming late to school or being
disruptive in class, a teacher could ask children to think about their
misbehaviour by using one of the following techniques:
• Imposingatime-out.Thiswouldinvolveaskingchildrentoeitherleavethe
class or sit in a quiet place for 10 minutes to think about their behaviour.
To be released they have to articulate what they did wrong and how they
will avoid repeating the mistake. This should be done firmly, but without
humiliating the child.
• Letterwriting.Thiscouldinvolveaskingchildrentowritealetteroreven
an essay on why they behaved in a certain way and what they will do to
avoid repeating the mistake. If appropriate the writing should include an
apology.
• Oralapology.Thisinvolvesaskingchildrentoapologisetothewronged
person and to ask for forgiveness.
2. Penalty
For offences that are persistent and detrimental for all concerned, such as
continually coming late without an adequate explanation, missing school
without an adequate explanation or insulting other students, a teacher could
impose an appropriate penalty. Penalties within a positive discipline approach
include the following:
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Positive Discipline
• Physicalwork,suchaschildrenslashinggrassorcleaningtheschool
compound in a designated area.
• Withdrawalofprivileges,suchaschildrennotbeingallowedtogoout
during recess or to play games during school.
• Additionaltimeatschool(detention),suchaschildrenremainingforan
extra half hour after school to reflect on what they did wrong.
Care must be taken to ensure that the penalty meets the principles of positive
discipline. The penalty should also provide children with an opportunity to think
about their behaviour and to think of an alternative behaviour for future similar
circumstances. At the end of a penalty, teachers should help children learn
what was wrong with their behaviour and how not to repeat the same mistake.
3. Reparation
For offences that cause damage to a third party, such as hitting other students,
bullying younger children, damaging property, or fighting and causing
general disorder in school, a teacher could insist that a child undertake public
reparation, such as the following:
• Thechildapologisesintheassemblytotheentireschool.
• Iffeasible,thechildcontributestowardreplacingorrepairingthedamage,
such as erecting a fence, chopping wood or repainting a wall (based on
the capacity of the child).
• Thechildreceivesawrittennoticeintheschooldisciplinaryrecordand
commits to reform.
• Theschoolinvolvesparentsinpreventingarepeatofthebehaviour.
4. Last resort
For persistent and serious offences, such as violating other children or serious
damage to the school property or reputation, the headteacher could take
action as a last resort, using interventions such as the following:
• Summonanddiscusswithparentsthepossiblenextsteps,asawarningto
the child.
• Implementatime-limitedsuspension(e.g.,oneweek)withawritten
warning and referral to a counsellor or probation officer.
• Asaverylastresort,referthecasetotheDirectorofEducationwith
a specific recommendation for expulsion from school, including the
involvement of a probation officer and an action plan for next steps to help
the child.
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50 Positive Discipline
How do I create a positive classroom
environment?
Positive discipline guides children in understanding their misbehaviour and in
building a personal desire to make better choices in the future. However, it is far
more than just responses to misbehaviour. It combines nonviolent disciplinary action
with a positive classroom environment, an environment that encourages students to
get involved in defining the conditions for success.
This approach involves establishing a different kind of relationship with students
and new methods for engaging and supporting them over the long-term. In
the beginning it may be difficult, as you get used to a new way of doing things.
However, over a period of time, it will become easier and you will notice positive
changes in your students’ behaviours, both inside and outside the classroom.
Here are a few ideas for getting started. All of these activities aim to share decision-
making power with students and create an environment in which students can feel
invested in their school. These activities are part of a positive discipline approach,
because they encourage students to identify themselves as key stakeholders in their
school and, as a result, feel more accountable for their behaviour.
1. Set shared ground rules for learning.
Engage students in jointly developing class ground rules for learning. Explain
that you want to involve the class in creating a new way of learning together
and provide them with some examples of possible class ground rules.
Examples of rules could include any of the following:
• Everyonemustcomeontime.
• Thelessonwillstartandfinishontime.
• Questionsareencouraged.
• Onlyonepersoncanspeakatatime.
• Wewilllistentoeveryone’sideaswithrespect.
• Everyoneisresponsibleforherorhisownlearning.Thismeansifyoudon’t
understand, you will ask questions.
• Studentswillpayattentionwhentheteacheristalking.
• Theclasswilldecidewhattodowhensomeonebreaksarule,basedon
guidelines discussed earlier by the class.
• Teachersandstudentswillbothgiveandgetrespect.
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Write the rules on paper or cardboard and tape them on the wall for the class
to refer to on an ongoing basis. Be aware that at first the class may find it
difficult to stick to the rules, but over a period of time they will get used to it. Be
patient, but remain consistent and firm in applying the rules.
2. Engage students in classroom management.
Establish an elected student committee that is responsible for representing
students’ views in the class. This committee could also serve as a peer
disciplinary committee that responds to anyone who breaks the class rules
persistently. However, these students must receive and follow guidelines
regarding positive discipline so that they do not abuse fellow students.
At the beginning of each term, call a class meeting and explain the work that
needs to be covered during that term. Make a plan as a class for how the
work will be accomplished and identify the students responsible for monitoring
progress.
Keep track of each disciplinary incident and monitor the overall trend. Motivate
the class to improve performance by setting targets (e.g., next month we will
reduce disciplinary incidents by 20 percent). Make a chart that tracks progress
and rewards the class for outstanding achievements.
Introduce a classroom-based or schoolwide forum for discussing how the
school could serve its students better. Encourage constructive ideas and ensure
that practical ones are put into action. For example, if students prioritised
access to drinking water or sanitary supplies, then the school could try to
prioritise these in its budget.
3. Create opportunities to celebrate success.
Create “Student of the Month” and “Teacher of the Month” programmes that
ask each student every month to nominate one child and one teacher as
potential candidates. Announce clear qualifying criteria, such as timeliness,
helpfulness to others, good performance in class and acting as a role model to
students. Announce the winners at the school assembly.
Introduce a “School Pride Day” for which students can share and implement
ideas that involve everyone taking pride in their school. Some ideas could
include cleaning the school compound, planting trees, appreciating a helpful
teacher in assembly or helping someone with homework.
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52 Positive Discipline
What are some examples of positive discipline in
action?
You have now learned how a positive discipline approach combines nonviolent
disciplinary action with a positive classroom environment. Through practice you
will begin to witness how these two ideas support one another. You can also build
this understanding by reading, analysing and discussing the following skill-building
scenarios.
The following five scenarios involve common perceived misbehaviours for which
adults often use corporal punishment. For each scenario, try to identify alternatives
to corporal punishment and then read the alternatives provided.
Remember, it is crucial that you begin by understanding the reasons for the child’s
behaviour. Sometimes there may be a justifiable explanation, and in that case, it is
far more useful to help the child find a solution to the situation than to enforce a
punishment.
Scenario 1: Arriving late to school
Sabina: I live two kilometres from my school. In the morning sometimes I have to
fetch water and sweep the compound around our house before I can go to school.
Most of the time I walk, because I do not have money to take the bus. I know that
being beaten is just the way things are at our school. Sometimes, because I am
tired, I take it easy. I will just take the three canes. I try to hide in the bush until
the teacher leaves, but most of the time there is no escape. I just have to take the
beating.
Sabina’s teacher: I have to make sure the children understand that coming late to
school is not acceptable. They have to know that there are consequences for their
lateness. I always give them three canes. Some of them are even used to it. They just
offer themselves up because they know I don’t listen to any excuses.
What are positive discipline alternatives?
In this situation, beating Sabina does not teach her what is wrong with coming late
to school. It just teaches her that she will experience pain. She may get used to it
and, therefore, never learn from her mistake. After all, if beatings taught her what
was wrong with arriving late, she would try to arrive on time. Consider the following
alternatives:
a) The teacher could begin by trying to understand why Sabina comes late. The
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Positive Discipline
teacher could get in touch with her parents to see if together they could help
Sabina get to school on time.
b) The teacher could hold discussions in class about the importance of being on
time and the values behind punctuality. The class could make a list of reasons
for being on time, such as:
• Thelessonscanstartandfinishontime.
• Youwillnotmisspartofthelessonbecauseyouarelate.
• Itshowsrespectforyourfellowstudents,teachersandschool.
• Itshowsthatyoutakeprideinyourconductandenjoybeingatschool.
c) Sabina could be offered counselling on how to ensure that she is on time. This
approach would involve listening to her reasons for being late and taking into
consideration her situation. It may involve getting her to write a letter to explain
why she comes late or asking her to apologise to her class for arriving late. It
may involve sending a note home to her parents or, if it is a small community,
arranging personal communication with her parents to explain why Sabina
needs to arrive at school on time.
d) If Sabina is persistently late, the teacher could tell her that she is not allowed
to enter the classroom late and, therefore, not able to join the first class. This
will cause her performance in this class to suffer, and she will see how her
behaviour has consequences. She will learn that she has the power to change
her own situation by coming on time. However, it is important that other
options have been tried before this one is exercised.
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54 Positive Discipline
Scenario 2: Making noise in class and disruptive behaviour
James: I was feeling good today. I was telling funny stories and everyone was
laughing. The teacher tried to tell me to stop talking, but I wanted to show everyone
that I was not afraid. I am tough and can’t be bossed around by a teacher.
James’ teacher: I have to ensure that they fear me in this class. Otherwise, they will
just get out of control and I will not be able to teach. The students will take over and
other teachers will laugh at me. I will put James in his place by embarrassing him
publicly and beating him. I will make an example out of James so that students will
not dare to show disrespect by making noise in my class.
What are positive discipline alternatives?
In this case, James may be trying to get some attention and praise rather than
wanting to be disruptive for the sake of it. Consider the following alternatives:
a) The teacher could begin the term by developing class ground rules. The class
would agree on these rules together. These rules could include:
• Nosidetalkingduringthelessons.
• Allthelessonswillstartandfinishontime.
• Theteacherwillnothumiliatestudentsiftheydon’tknowtheanswertoa
question.
• Studentswilltakeresponsibilityfortryinghardbyaskingquestionswhenthey
don’t understand.
• Everyonewillrespecteachotherinclass.
• Ifapersonbreaksanyoftherules,theteacherwilltakeanappropriate
action already discussed with the class.
• Inthecaseofpersistentoffenders,theclassdisciplinarycommitteewill
follow pre-written guidelines to determine the appropriate discipline.
b) The teacher could get James to write a letter to the class regarding his
behaviour and what effect he thinks it has on the class.
c) The teacher could exclude James from the class for 10 minutes to help him
reflect on his actions.
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Scenario 3: Failing a test or giving a wrong answer to a question
John: I am so nervous in class. I am afraid that the teacher is going to pick on me
and ask a question when I don’t know the answer. Even if the answer is obvious,
sometimes when the teacher looks at me, I can’t speak. I become scared and just
remain quiet. I know everyone is staring at me and laughing, but what can I do. I
just can’t risk giving the wrong answer. Even in tests, I feel so afraid and always fail,
because I don’t know how to answer the questions. I just don’t understand anything
that is being taught, and I don’t want to be laughed at. The best thing is to stay
quiet or just leave that question blank on the test.
John’s teacher: This boy is rude and stupid! He is insulting me by not paying
attention. How many times have I taught this thing? Is he not listening? I am tired of
tryinghardwhenthisclassjustdoesn’tcare.Lastweekalmosteveryonefailedthe
test and now they don’t even know the answer to this simple question. I am going
to teach this class a lesson. I am going to thrash this boy so that everyone will learn
that when I teach they have to pay attention. They should know the right answer
before I ask the question!
What are positive discipline alternatives?
Learningisadelicateprocess.Theabilitytolearndependsontheemotionaland
mental state of the learner. Even if the lesson is simple, some learners may still
experience difficulty absorbing the information. Consider the following alternatives:
a) The class could agree to the following rules for learning:
• Theteacherwillpresenttheinformationinmanydifferentways—sothat
children who can’t understand one way have an opportunity to understand
another way.
• Theteacherwillfrequentlychecktoseeifchildrenunderstandwhatisbeing
taught.
• Theteacherwillhappilyrepeatinformationandwillwelcomestudents’
questions.
• Theteacherwillnotpunishstudentsforgivingwronganswers.
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56 Positive Discipline
b) The teacher could adopt practices that support cautious and slower learners,
such as the following:
• Whenpossible,theteacheroffersextrahelpafterclasstochildrenwhohad
difficulty with the lesson.
• Ifachilddoesnotknowtheanswertoaquestion,theteachermovesto
another child. The teacher never keeps attention focused on just one or two
children.
• Theteacherexplainsthatwronganswersarepartoflearningandthat
students should not be afraid of giving a wrong answer.
• Whenstudentstryhardbutgivewronganswers,theteachercongratulates
the students for trying and then guides them in understanding the correct
answer.
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Scenario 4: Missing class or being absent without permission
Amina: Sometimes my mother sends me to sell things at the market and I can’t go
to school. Sometimes I feel bored on the way to school and visit my friend instead of
going to school. Sometimes I don’t like being in a class where the teacher asks me
questions all the time and looks at me in a funny way. I know that I am not going far
after primary school ends, so what’s the point? I might as well do what I want.
Headteacher at Amina’s school: We can’t have a child missing class whenever she
wants. She has to be made an example of so that her behaviour doesn’t spread.
In the morning assembly, I will single her out, cane her six times and give her a
final warning. If she doesn’t listen, she is out of this school. We can’t have children
undermining authority at this school.
What are positive discipline alternatives?
Amina needs help to see the value of education and feel hopeful that the school
has something important to offer her. She may also need help convincing her family
that if she does well at school, she deserves a chance to continue with her studies.
Consider the following alternatives:
a) The headteacher could try to find out why Amina is missing classes and try to
convince Amina’s parents to prioritise her education.
b) The headteacher could refer Amina to a counsellor who could help her see
that if she invested in her education now, her life could be different.
c) The headteacher could ask Amina to write a letter regarding what the school
means to her.
d) The headteacher could ask a trusted teacher to encourage and motivate
Amina during this difficult time.
e) The headteacher could pair Amina with another student who could encourage
her participation in school.
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58 Positive Discipline
Scenario 5: Bullying other children
Peter: I am the toughest boy in this school. Everyone fears me, and I need to make
sure that no one gets away with undermining my status. I keep others’ respect by
showing them what might happen if they don’t fear me. I tease small girls, and
sometimes rough-up an annoying boy. Everyone in school knows not to cross me.
They know my father is tough at home and I am tough at school.
Peter’s teacher: This boy is a problem. He is making other children miserable and
giving our school a bad name. Today in assembly, I am going to humiliate him.
I will slap him a few times and ask another teacher to cane him six times. I will
then announce that we don’t tolerate such behaviour from anyone. I will warn him
publicly that if he persists we will throw him out of this school.
What are positive discipline alternatives?
Peter’s behaviour may be motivated by the humiliation he is subjected to at home
or elsewhere. Thus, further humiliation at school is unlikely to be helpful. Before
taking any firm action, it is important to find out the root cause of his behaviour,
through counselling as well as enquiring within the community. However, it is also
important to provide immediate protection for other children. Consider the following
alternatives:
a) The school could develop a written policy about zero tolerance for bullying and
post it on a public board.
b) The school could ensure Peter receives counselling for his problem. If the
problem persists, the school could involve other community members, such as
a parent, relative, religious leader or other community leader. If the problem
still persists, the school could consider referring Peter to another school that is
able to deal with the problem more effectively.
c) The school could involve a probation officer or the Secretary for Children’s
Affairs in the local area.
d) The headteacher could talk about the incidents during the school assembly and
emphasise that violence against children is unacceptable—regardless of whom
it comes from. To do so effectively, the headteacher would focus on talking
about the behaviour rather than about Peter.
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A Teacher Against Violence
A testimony
“I was born in a village in a family where my father had two wives. He was a
respected man because he had land. He provided for both families, but me
and my brothers and sisters were afraid of him. He was so harsh. He would
beat you for any small mistake.
“He beat me and shouted at me all the time. If I didn’t do the housework or
did not do my homework or did not greet somebody properly, he would beat
and he would shout. He was terrible to all my siblings and me. He gave our
mother money for food and expenses and said that it was no business of hers
how he chose to discipline his children. My mother tried to help us but what
can she do?
“All through my school years, I feared everyone and remained quiet and
obedient. I tried to avoid troubles. I thought men were just like that and there
is nothing I can do. But then when I was 22, I met my now husband. He is kind
and never shouts. At first I thought he was just trying to tempt me, but till now
he has remained like that. Perhaps violence is not about being a man or a
woman but what kind of person you are.
“We now have two children and at first I used to beat them and shout at them
just like my father used to do to me. One day I saw how afraid my daughter
was about everything and I thought of how I was when my father used to beat
me. I talked to my friend about it and she helped me see what I was doing to
my daughter. I felt sorry and apologised to her. Then I attended a workshop
about children’s rights and learned that it does not have to be like that. My
husband and I talked about it and have decided that we will never beat our
children the way we were beaten by our parents. I do not want my children to
be afraid of everything, the way I was. We even try to help our neighbour’s
children when they beat them too much.
“I don’t know if it was the workshop that changed me. I knew in my heart
that violence was wrong because I know what it feels like. The workshop
helped me understand what was in my heart. Now I work at this school where
the headmistress has made a rule that corporal punishment is not allowed.
Sometimes it is hard, but I also think it is right. I wish all schools were like
ours.”
female teacher
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All that remains is for you to take action based on what you know.
The question is, will you act?
All that remains is for you to take action based on what you know.
The question is, will you act?
CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 60 3/4/2009 2:04:17 PM
Final Word
T
he case for abandoning corpo-
ral punishment is overwhelm-
ing. You know that the common
reasons given for practising
corporal punishment are no
longer applicable. You know
that the law and government policy con-
demn it. You know that a large number of
teachers are speaking out against it. You
know that corporal punishment prevents
children from realising their full potential
as students and subsequently as members
of their communities. Above all, you know
that it is not right to continue to violate
our children in this way. All that remains is
for you to take action based on what you
know. The question is, will you act?
Final Word
61 Positive Discipline
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Appendices
62 Positive Discipline
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Appendix 1
MINISTRY OF EDUCATION
P.O.BOX 7063
KAMPALA.
Ref: CE/C/23
10th June 1997
All District Education Officers
All Municipal Inspectors of Schools
All District Inspectors of Schools
All Head-teachers
All Principals
A TEMPORARY BAN ON THE USE OF CORPORAL PUNISHMENTS IN
SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES
1. The use of the cane and, in many cases, rampant beating of school children
and students under the guise of disciplining them by applying corporal
punishments has been discharged without generally agreed guidelines or
regulation to restrain it’s excessive usage. Whereas Corporal punishment
isprescribedinthepenalcodeofUgandaLaws,usuallyaccompaniedwith
hard labour, the use of the cane in schools is not equally governed by clearly
defined procedures, rules or guidelines to give it a positive and professional
value as a deterrent measure in promoting discipline.
2. Over a period of time, professional values traditionally derived from the use
of corporal punishments as a deterrent and disciplining measure to be applied
on growing children have been eroded through indiscriminate use of the cane.
In practice, the use of the cane in schools has deteriorated into random and
irresponsible beating of school children by teachers or fellow pupils. This has
resulted in untold injuries, physical impairments and, in some cases, actual
death. In some cases even the bare hand or use of the nearest hard object has
inflicted a disability of one form or another on the victims.
Appendices
63 Positive Discipline
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In the absence of clear procedures, rules and guidelines on the application of
corporal punishments in schools in general and in view of the seriousness of
the uncontrolled use of the cane in particular, it has been found necessary to
put a complete stop to the use of the cane in schools and random beating of
children by teachers before a policy on this is finally put in place.
3. The following measures therefore take immediate effect:

i) Random beating of school children and students in schools and colleges
by teachers must stop forthwith. This equally applies to meting out any
form of punishment or act that may induce or cause injury, damage,
defilement or disfigurement to the human body.
ii) The use of the cane as a disciplining measure shall not be permitted in
nursery schools and infant classes at this tender age that ought to be
brought up in love and fellowship rather than brutality, violence and
sadism.
iii) Every school should immediately review it’s school rules and code of
punishments with a view to introducing more professional and acceptable
sanctions to replace the stereotypes of manual labour and caning. These
should be subject to approval by the school management committees or
Boards of Governors to ensure that the measures taken do not in any way
disguise other forms of brutality.
iv) In all circumstances, the entire system of punishments in schools and
colleges must be approved by the School Management Committees or
Boards of Governors as the case may be.
v) Any punishment incident in future must be recorded in a punishment
book, clearly indicating the type of offence, type of punishment,
authorisation and the particulars of the offence.
vi) Those who deem it professionally defendable, justifiable and necessary to
introduce use of corporal punishment in schools and colleges must come
up with a clearly conceived definition, procedure and prescription of how
best to administer the punishment. This then will be a useful basis for
generating national debate which may in turn enhance the enactment of
an appropriate law.
64 Positive Discipline
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vii) Where these guidelines are ignored or abused, the culprits will be
criminally held responsible for their actions and will have to face the law
including the Professional Code of Conduct.
With these restraints, it is expected that most schools will opt for developing more
professional and refined methods of guiding and counseling pupils, students,
teachers and parents in the use of alternative and more positive training in attitude
formation and character building among the youth. Our ultimate goal ought to
be minimal administration of punishments in the schools system in preference to a
system of getting to know and understand the needs of the youth more intimately.
Stephen B Maloba
COMMISSIONER FOR EDUCATION
c.c. The Permanent Secretary
Ministry of Education.
c.c. The Permanent Secretary
Ministry of Local Government
c.c. The Commissioner for Education (Inspectorate)
c.c. All Chief Administrative Officers.
Appendices
65 Positive Discipline
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Appendix 2
10th September 2001
CIRCULAR NO. 6/2001
To: Head-teachers
Government Grant-aided Secondary Schools
GUIDELINES ON HANDLING OF INDISCIPLINE IN SCHOOLS
In the recent past there has been a wave of strikes, indiscipline and unrest of
students in some schools throughout the country. There are a number of possible
reasons to explain the cause of this situation.
The causes range from increasing indiscipline of students to poor methods of school
administration characterised by lack of transparency and accountability, and good
governance. However, the issue of causes of unrest will be dealt with after thorough
investigations have been carried out.
In this communication, I would like to deal with the way indiscipline of students
and strikes is handled in schools. In many cases where strikes have occurred it has
been discovered that the official procedures are not followed in handling cases of
indiscipline.
I wish therefore to reiterate that:
1. CasesofindisciplineofstudentsshouldbehandledbyALLrelevantcommittees
in the school system and as stipulated in the Basic Requirements and Minimum
Standards Guidelines.
2. According to the Education Act 1970 section 7, subsection 2 and the
Education Board of Governors Regulations 1991 part iii-section 9 and 10, the
existence, management and administration of any secondary school in Uganda
must be guided by a duly appointed and operationally functioning Board of
Governors. In the same Regulations part iv, section 14 and 15, a head-teacher
cannot effectively run a school without the active involvement of the Board of
Governors and their relevant committees.
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This is therefore to clarify:
i) That for suspensions of not more than two (2) weeks, the head-teacher
may effect them without the approval of the Director of Education’s office
but should do so only at the recommendation of the relevant disciplinary
committees in the school.
ii) That from now on, no indefinite suspension of students should be carried
out without the approval of the Board of Governors.
iii) That cases of indefinite suspension should be forwarded, with
recommendations of the Board of Governors, to the Director of Education
for approval. This process should not take more than one month.
Please note that for major cases of indiscipline, the head-teacher (Secretary of the
Board of Governors) should call for a special meeting as is provided for in the Rules
and Regulations of the Board of Governors.
May I remind you that it is an abdication of your duties to fail to submit minutes of
the Board of Governors’ meetings and their relevant committees every term to the
Commissioner, Secondary Education for follow up. Any head-teacher who will fail to
apply these procedures will be liable for disciplinary action.
F.X.K. Lubanga
PERMANENT SECRETARY
C.C. All Chief Administrative Officers
All District Education Officers
All Chairpersons of Board of Governors
Appendices
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Appendix 3
7th August 2006
CIRCULAR NO. 15/2006
To: Heads of Primary Schools
Heads of Post Primary Institutions
Heads of Tertiary Institutions
Heads of Colleges and Polytechnics
Re: BAN ON CORPORAL PUNISHMENTS IN SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES
1. The Ministry of Education and Sports has noted with great concern the
increasing number of cases whereby teachers have been subjecting students
to corporal punishments under the guise of disciplining the students. Whereas
corporalpunishmentisprescribedinthePenalCodeofUgandaLaws,and
is usually accompanied with hard labour, the use of the cane in educational
institutions is not equally governed by any law.
2. Traditional values derived from the use of corporal punishments as a deterrent
and disciplining measure to be applied on growing children have been
eroded through indiscriminate use of the cane. Moreover, the Children’s
Rights Act prohibits values and actions that undermine the health and dignity
of the children. In practice, the use of the cane has deteriorated into random
and irresponsible beating of students by the teachers and fellow students.
Consequently, untold injuries, physical impairments and in some cases actual
death, have been caused by corporal punishments meted to students. Even the
use of bare hands has at times inflicted a disability of one form or the other on
the victims.
3. The following measures must be observed by all the educational institutions, be
they government-aided or private.
a) Corporal punishments for students in schools and colleges must stop
forthwith. This applies to meting out any other form of punishment or act
that may cause injury, damage, defilement or disfigurement to the human
body.
68 Positive Discipline
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b) The use of the cane as a disciplining measure shall not be permitted even
in Nursery Schools and infant classes. At this tender age, the children
ought to be brought up in love and care rather than in brutality, violence
and sadism.
c) Every educational institution should review its rules with a view of
introducing more professional and acceptable sanctions to replace
manual labour and caning. The Schools/ Colleges’ Boards of Governors/
Governing Councils should approve the new rules. However, the
measures to be taken should not in any way disguise other forms of
brutality.
d) Any disciplinary action must be recorded in a punishments book, clearly
indicating the type of offence, type of punishment, authorisation and the
particulars of the person administering the punishment so that a regular
system of records is maintained.
e) Where these guidelines are ignored or abused, the culprits will be held
criminally responsible for their actions. They will have to face the law,
including the Teachers’ Code of Conduct.
f) It is expected that educational institutions will develop and apply more
professional and refined methods of guiding and counseling students,
teachers and parents in the use of alternative forms of punishment that
are geared towards positive training in attitude formation and character
building of the youth. The ultimate goal of the managers of the teaching/
learning process is to mould them into useful citizens.
Dr. J.G. Mbabazi
For: PERMANENT SECRETARY
C.C. All Chief Administrative Officers
All Town Clerks
All District Education Officers
All Municipal Education Officers
All District Inspectors of Schools
The Rt. Hon. Prime Minister
Appendices
69 Positive Discipline
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70 Positive Discipline
All Hon. Members of Parliament
Head, Public Service/ Secretary to Cabinet
Deputy Head, Public Service/ Secretary for Administrative Reform
All Permanent Secretaries
All Resident District Commissioners
All Chairmen, Local Council V
Chairpersons, District Local Council Education Committees
Secretaries of Education, District Local Councils
Chairpersons, Schools Management Committees
Chairpersons, Parents & Teachers Associations
CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 70 3/4/2009 2:04:18 PM
Notes
1. In 1997, when UPE (Universal Primary Education) was introduced in Uganda,
2,159,850 students enrolled in Primary 1 class. Of these students, only
485,703 completed Primary 7 class in 2003. While retention numbers are
difficult to ascertain accurately, these numbers suggest the retention rate of
about 23%. The majority of the students who dropped out stated “lack of
interest” as their primary reason (46%), family reasons (15%) and sickness
(12%). See further discussion of this in Overseas Development Institute:
Universal Primary Education, Uganda (2006). Available at: http://www.odi.
org.uk/interregional_inequality/papers/Policy Brief 10 -Uganda.pdf. Accessed
on March 27, 2007.
2. In the 42nd session in June 2006, the Committee on the Rights of the Child
adopted General Comment No. 8, which highlights the obligation of all states
to prohibit corporal punishment. In paragraph two of that document they offer
this definition of corporal punishment. Furthermore, they specifically distinguish
between corporal punishment and the legitimate role adults have in guiding
children. They reject the former as unacceptable and encourage the latter. UN
Committee on the Rights of the Child CRC/C/GC/8 2006 page 10. Available
at: http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/898586b1dc7b4043c1256a450044f3
31/6545c032cb57bff5c12571fc002e834d/$FILE/G0740771.pdf.Accessed
on March 27, 2007.
3. Violence Against Children: The Voices of Ugandan Children and Adults.
D. Naker, Raising Voices (2005). Available at www.raisingvoices.org. Accessed
on March 27, 2007.
4. As a result of the discussions during the United Nations General Assembly’s
Special Session (UNGASS) in 2001, the Secretary General of the United
Nations (UN) appointed a special rapporteur (Paulo Sergio Pinheiro) to
undertake a global study on violence against children. A multi-country study
defining and measuring the extent of the problem was published in October
2006 from which this quotation was taken. World Report on Violence Against
Children. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro. United Nation’s Study of Violence Against
Children (2006). Available at: www.violencestudy.org. Accessed on March 27,
2007.
Notes
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72 Positive Discipline
5. The Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children has collated
useful, comparative information about corporal punishment against children.
Available at www.endcorporalpunishment.org. Accessed on March 27, 2007.
6. This concept is simplified and adapted from Erik Erikson’s theory of
psychosocial development, which holds that each individual must navigate
eight stages of social development to reach psychosocial maturity and that
effective navigation depends on a supportive social environment. These ideas
are also supported by the work of Heinz Kohut who held that an individual
develops capabilities through empathic social relationships.
7. This emphasis on imagining better schools has been eloquently formulated by
Rakesh Rajani of HakiElimu. See www.hakielimu.org.
CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 72 3/4/2009 2:04:18 PM
Recommended Reading
1. World Report on Violence Against Children. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro. United
Nation’s study of violence against children (2006). Available at www.
violencestudy.org. Accessed on March 27, 2007. Chapter 4: Violence Against
Children in Schools and Educational Settings may be of particular interest.
2. Education for All. A Framework for Action in Sub-Saharan Africa: Education
for African Renaissance in the Twenty-First Century. Available at http://unesdoc.
unesco.org/images/0012/001211/121147e.pdf. Accessed on March 27,
2007.
3. What is a Good School? Imagining beyond the limits of today to create
a better tomorrow. D. Naker, Raising Voices (2007). Available at www.
raisingvoices.org. (Included in this Toolkit)
Recommended Reading
73 Positive Discipline
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CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 74 3/4/2009 2:04:18 PM
CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 75 3/4/2009 2:04:18 PM
This handbook is for anyone involved in designing or delivering education within
schools, including headteachers, teachers, school governing committees, students,
parents, public officials implementing education policy and anyone who wants to get
involved in creating good schools. This handbook will guide you in thinking about
alternatives to corporal punishment and how to put these alternatives into practice at
the schools in your community.
16 Tufnell Drive, Kamwokya
P O Box 6770 Kampala, Uganda
Tel: 256 41 4531186
email: info@raisingvoices.org
www.raisingvoices.org
9 789970 893102
ISBN 9·8-99·0-89·-I0-?
CPHandBook_Titles_18March09.indd 2 3/31/2009 4:25:32 PM

Positive Discipline:
Creating A Good School Without Corporal Punishment
By Dipak Naker and Deborah Sekitoleko Copyright © 2009 Raising Voices All rights reserved. ISBN: 978-9970-893-10-2 All photographs © Heidi Jo Brady and printed by permission of the photographer for this publication only. Illustrations: Photography: Edting: Design: Marco Tibasima (marcowocka@yahoo.com Heidi Jo Brady (heidi@hjbphoto.com) Prema Michau (premalkm@gmail.com) Sarah Healey (healey.s@gmail.com) Samson Mwaka (mwakasw@yahoo.com)

Raising Voices 16 Tufnell Drive, Kamwokya P O Box 6770 Kampala, Uganda Tel: 256 41 4531186 email: info@raisingvoices.org www.raisingvoices.org

CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 2

3/4/2009 2:03:56 PM

POSITIVE DISCIPLINE:
CREATING A GOOD SCHOOL WITHOUT CORPORAL PUNISHMENT

CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 3

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CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 4

3/4/2009 2:03:56 PM

being made to kneel in the sun or generally being humiliated. It no longer has a place in the education system. slapping. This handbook introduces the knowledge and skills that are needed to create good schools in Uganda as a measure to promote learning. and as a result. we have come to understand corporal punishment as an acceptable way to relate with children. We have all grown up witnessing its regular use. we must accept the responsibility for creating an environment that will help children thrive. growth and development of children. Because our parents and teachers used it.indd 1 3/4/2009 2:03:56 PM . We may even have come to think of it as necessary. pinching. we have come to think of corporal punishment as normal. However. times change. and with change we gain new knowledge. perhaps in the form of caning. As custodians of children’s hopes and aspirations.We have all experienced corporal punishment at school or at home. because people who loved us and cared about us used it. There is now a widespread understanding that corporal punishment is unlawful child abuse and harmful. Positive Discipline 1 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.

Acknowledgements 2 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 2 3/4/2009 2:03:58 PM .

Acknowledgements 3 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. we must accept the responsibility for creating an environment that will help children thrive.As custodians of children’s hopes and aspirations.indd 3 3/4/2009 2:03:59 PM .

indd 4 3/4/2009 2:03:59 PM .Contents Chapter 1 | Understanding Corporal Punishment What is the definition of corporal punishment? Is corporal punishment common? Can we imagine schools without corporal punishment? Why should we expect our schools to change? What is wrong with corporal punishment? Why do adults use corporal punishment? What is the Government’s position on corporal punishment? Chapter 2 | Alternatives to Corporal Punishment Positive Discipline within Good schools Why do children behave as they do? What is positive discipline? How does positive discipline create successful individuals? How does positive discipline lead to good schools? What is a good school? Why should we create good schools? Whose responsibility is it to create good schools? 25 26 27 30 31 32 34 36 39 40 44 46 50 52 61 62 71 73 7 8 9 10 11 12 14 22 Chapter 3 | Positive Discipline and Good schools in Action What are the first steps for creating a good school? How do I know if I’m using positive discipline? How do I respond to misbehaviour using positive discipline? How do I create a positive classroom environment? What are some examples of positive discipline in action? Final Word Appendices Notes Recommended Reading 4 Positive Discipline CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.

6. This handbook will guide you in thinking about alternatives to corporal punishment and how to put these alternatives into practice at the schools in your community. paying particular attention to how the ideas could strengthen the school’s discipline practices. Read this handbook once to familiarise yourself with the concepts. parents. public officials implementing education policy and anyone who wants to get involved in creating good schools.indd 5 3/4/2009 2:03:59 PM . 7.Who Is This Handbook For? This handbook is for anyone involved in designing or delivering education within Ugandan schools. Read this handbook a second time while considering the following questions: What do you think about the ideas being proposed? How do they compare with your experience of education? Would these ideas help create better schools? If so. Positive Discipline 5 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. 4. Gather a small group of friends or colleagues and discuss the ideas in each chapter. students. Put the plan into ACTION! 3. 2. Share this plan with key stakeholders. Using This Handbook 1. how could you act on these ideas at your school? Make notes in the margins or in a separate notebook as you think of the answers to these questions. including headteachers. school governing committees. Engage teachers and other school members in developing a written plan for how these ideas could be implemented to replace or strengthen existing disciplinary practices. teachers. Ask the teachers in your school to read a different chapter of this handbook each week and to discuss it at their weekly staff meetings. 5.

indd 6 3/4/2009 2:04:03 PM .Corporal punishment is so common it has almost become invisible. CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.

indd 7 3/4/2009 2:04:05 PM . its consequences for children and the Government’s stance on the issue.Chapter 1 Chapter 1 | Understanding Corporal Punishment hapter one explains the diverse perspectives on corporal punishment. C This chapter answers the following questions: What is the definition of corporal punishment? Is corporal punishment common? Can we imagine schools without corporal punishment? Why should we expect our schools to change? What is wrong with corporal punishment? Why do adults use corporal punishment? What is the Government’s position on corporal punishment? 8 9 10 11 12 14 22 Positive Discipline 7 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. It aims to help you understand what corporal punishment is. the reasons why people continue to use it and the need to find alternatives.

kicking. shoe. scapegoats. by the Committee on the Rights of the Child. washing children’s mouths out with soap or forcing them to swallow hot spices). scares or ridicules the child. threatens. shaking or throwing children. slapping.What is the definition of corporal punishment? The following definition. punishment which belittles. These include. But it can also involve. belt. denigrates. or forced ingestion (for example. pinching. scratching. In addition.indd 8 3/4/2009 2:04:05 PM . humiliates. stick. wooden spoon. etc. is the most widely accepted understanding of what we mean by corporal punishment: “Any punishment in which physical force is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort. scalding. however light. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child 8 Positive Discipline CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.” 2 Corporal punishment is always degrading and has no place in the home or our schools. for example. Most involves hitting (smacking. spanking) children with the hand or with an implement—whip. there are other non-physical forms of punishment which are also cruel and degrading and thus incompatible with the Convention. burning. for example.

More than 98 percent of the children surveyed reported experiencing corporal punishment. In the same study cited above. Caning was the most popular form of corporal Tying up punishment.indd 9 3/4/2009 2:04:05 PM . 20 percent said they had been burnt as a form of Slapping punishment. Males Denying food One out of every seven Females Burning children said they experienced Locking up it everyday. punishment and discipline. The survey results indicated that corporal punishment was indeed a common practice.Chapter 1 Is corporal punishment common? In a recent study in Uganda. More than a third of these children said they Forms of physical violence experienced by children experienced it at least once Caning a week.3 over 1400 children and almost 1100 adults were surveyed about their experiences with violence. Positive Discipline 9 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. 0 20 40 60 80 100 % of children It [corporal punishment] is too much and happens every day and no one cares about it. Many adults hardly notice themselves or others using violence to interact with children. and more than Pinching 60 percent of the children Overwork said they experienced corporal punishment at school regularly. followed closely Others by slapping and pinching. when responses from adults and children were compared regarding use of physical punishment. 14-year-old boy Corporal punishment is so common it has almost become invisible. adults consistently underestimated how often they used physical violence against children.

When children grow up they keep what was done to them in mind. while older children reported being harassed or humiliated by teachers. 10 Positive Discipline CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. Many older children seemed to mimic the behaviour of adults. especially as an experience of girls and younger children. Girls reported a considerable amount of sexual harassment. and one in five girls reported being forced to have sex.With regard to experiences at school. Older boys reported the most severe incidents of physical beating. A good school declares a zero tolerance of all forms of violence. 14-year-old boy Who perpetrates violence against children at school? 80 70 60 50 % of children 40 30 20 10 0 Males Females Others (matron. A lot of the bullying. and in the end they also do the same to those younger than them. younger children reported the highest amount of ad hoc physical punishment. especially at school. Bullying was reported as a major problem. probably due to the prevailing gender stereotypes of physical resilience and notions of tough masculinity. they victimised younger children. teasing and humiliation of girls revolved around their sexuality. and as a result. cooks) Headmaster Teacher Other children It is clear from this study that we are tolerating a considerable amount of violence in our schools. A school that allows corporal punishment to continue fosters a belief in all its members that other forms of violence will also be tolerated.indd 10 3/4/2009 2:04:05 PM .

the school must take responsibility for paying the medical expenses. Children resent the learning experience and. Positive Discipline 11 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. Corporal punishment causes children to lose interest in learning. Children learn to hate a subject or teacher. rigidity. inhibition. do not value education. heightened anxiety and suicidal thoughts. Children lose interest and develop a negative attitude toward schools and learning. It costs money to treat injured children. Violence breeds more violence. School absenteeism and dropout increase. It is common knowledge that a significant number of people who commit crime and violence were physically punished when they were children. they provided the following examples: Corporal punishment can lead to lifelong psychological damage. When children are injured from corporal punishment.Chapter 1 When teachers and administrators were asked about the consequences of corporal punishment. as a result. Corporal punishment breeds cruelty and violence.indd 11 3/4/2009 2:04:05 PM . such as depression. Education doesn’t thrive when children live in fear of those who teach them. Some parents do not take their children to schools known for degrading and humiliating children. Corporal punishment tarnishes the school’s image.

My friend has scars where the teacher hit her so hard.What is wrong with corporal punishment? Most adults do not want to harm children. which leads to a feeling of humiliation. Many children suffer physical injury as a result of corporal punishment. When we force children to tolerate an injustice. Injuries can affect children’s physical development and can have an economic impact on the entire community. Consider the following consequences of corporal punishment: 1. Often. They torture me with words. It is better that I die than live this way. Corporal punishment has physical consequences. As a result. These negative experiences can lead children to depression. desires for revenge and aggression toward others. such as broken bones. 15-year-old girl 12 Positive Discipline CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. Corporal punishment has emotional and psychological consequences. infections and physical illness. they often feel anger and shame at the same time. What is left for me here? No one cares about me. thoughts of suicide. and yet we come from far. adults do not realise the damage they cause when they use it. When children are beaten. These physical consequences can be painful for children and costly for families. we damage their sense of dignity and self-confidence. Children may also stop trusting adults who repeatedly use corporal punishment against them. Teachers beat us badly when we are late.indd 12 3/4/2009 2:04:05 PM . they trust that corporal punishment will teach children how to behave. 10-year-old girl 2. and my heart is sick. They use corporal punishment because they experienced it during their childhoods.

They need more time to learn social and academic skills. satisfying relationships can be severely affected. Corporal punishment teaches children that violence is an acceptable way of imposing their views on someone less powerful than themselves. Many children who experience corporal punishment on a regular basis live with slowed or interrupted cognitive and emotional development. They become withdrawn and fearful of trying new things. They feel ashamed of themselves due to regular humiliation. I become violent and beat other small children. corporal punishment will not assist you in achieving that aim. 12-year-old boy Because of these consequences. and their ability to form healthy. My brain closes. 16-year-old boy I feel so ashamed. and feel lonely. It does not help children learn what was wrong with their behaviour. Many children who experience corporal punishment bully other children. or as adults. shy. I don’t settle when I think they are going to beat me. Positive Discipline 13 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. Corporal punishment has behavioural consequences. It undermines their confidence and contributes toward children trusting adults less. Their performance at school deteriorates. I just be as if I do not have life and quake with fear a lot. Corporal punishment has developmental consequences. Most adults do not want to harm children. use domestic violence. 17-year-old girl 4. It brings harm to children rather than success. If you are interested in helping children learn.indd 13 3/4/2009 2:04:05 PM . corporal punishment is counterproductive.Chapter 1 3.

you cannot force somebody to respect you or the ideas you represent.Why do adults use corporal punishment? Most educators enter their profession because they want to help students learn. they can mould children’s value systems and teach children to appreciate their heritage. we need to teach children about their heritage in a manner that respects their dignity. How else will they learn respect for elders? female parent However. much of our society and culture has encouraged educators and all adults to hold the following types of beliefs: 1. if we want children to respect culture and tradition. Furthermore. we have to help children understand how culture and tradition enrich our lives. They do not intend to harm children by administering corporal punishment. Until now. Yes. I beat them. they will disrespect their elders and behave in a way that is contrary to Ugandan culture and tradition. role modelling and helping children see for themselves the wisdom of respecting those around them. Respect is earned by giving respect. Spare the rod and spoil the child.indd 14 3/4/2009 2:04:06 PM . Educators aim to fulfil their responsibilities according to beliefs that are common in their communities. These adults believe that by instilling fear in children. 14 Positive Discipline CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. why then do so many educators continue to use it? The answer to this question is not simple. Some adults believe that if children do not fear them. Given the harmful effects of corporal punishment.

Without pain there is no gain. When forced to learn under the threat of a stick. we now know that positive reinforcement and compassion are more powerful motivators for children (and adults!) than pain. What is important is that the child experiences pain and remembers the pain or else they will not learn. It does not teach children how to learn from their mistakes. these children become poorer learners than children who grasp the underlying principles. Our own schooling taught us to believe that without the threat of the stick or a public rebuke. Many adults have been told throughout their lives that learning occurs when associated with pain. Deeper learning requires effort and safety.indd 15 3/4/2009 2:04:06 PM . children often memorise the correct answers instead of internalising the deeper logic about what makes those answers correct. Over time. Positive Discipline 15 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. There are as many ways to punish a child as there are children. Pain motivates a behaviour aimed at avoiding pain. not the threat of physical pain. male community leader However.Chapter 1 2. we will become lazy and not exert the effort required to learn new things.

16 Positive Discipline CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. female community leader We must ask ourselves. It is my duty to make sure children behave well. If a person is abused regularly. Furthermore. Good teachers are always in control of their students. If I don’t punish they will get out of control. they argue that it helped them learn right from wrong. they may comply due to fear of the punishment. but as soon as we remove the threat. is our main goal to control children or to guide them on how to behave and learn from their mistakes? If we threaten them. Helpful teachers do not try to control children by beating or shouting. We have all learned from our environment that the only acceptable way of relating to children is to exercise power over them. they will likely revert back to the original behaviour. Often. I do beat. people focus only on avoiding pain and humiliation. Many adults argue that they were beaten and humiliated as children. it is natural for that person to think that abuse is normal. 4. we need to consider why we hold this belief. and it showed that the adult who punished them loved and cared for them. My father beat me all the time because he cared about me. Instead they strive to show children the error in their behaviours and create an environment within which children can learn from their mistakes. If you were beaten as a child. you were probably told repeatedly that it was for your own good and that it would make you a better person. when experiencing abuse of power. I was beaten and I learned how to behave better. and it did them no harm.indd 16 3/4/2009 2:04:07 PM . They stop thinking for themselves and they learn to conform—to agree with the reasons they are given for the abusive behaviour. to control them and make them comply with our wishes. female teacher As adults.3.

They say it serves as a powerful deterrent and allows a way out of a conflict when all else has failed. we undermine efforts to develop nonviolent forms of discipline if. we retain the authority to infringe on a person’s dignity whenever it suits our needs. Furthermore. most of the damage of corporal punishment is emotional and psychological. far too often in normal day-to-day interactions. a stick is necessary. and do not understand why the behaviour was wrong. As long as the punishment does not cause physical injury. Many adults say that a light slap or a few canes are useful ways to quickly resolve a conflict and to show children they made a mistake. as adults. Most of the time children simply link the behaviour to the pain. to maintain awareness of whether you used a gentle slap or a hard one. Some adults argue that it is important to retain corporal punishment as a last resort. It is hard to maintain clarity when you are angry. but how the child experiences it. I slap her once in a while.Chapter 1 5.indd 17 3/4/2009 2:04:07 PM . male teacher However. It puts her right quickly. female parent However. Also. many adults see nothing wrong with it. I only use corporal punishment sparingly. adults use physical violence against children when other options have not been exhausted. It is not about what you do. Even single slaps humiliate children and insult their right to physical integrity. Positive Discipline 17 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. I only use corporal punishment as a last resort. Although we cannot see emotional injury. When nothing else works. The humiliation you would feel with one slap would be just as damaging as five slaps. Imagine if you were at work and your supervisor slapped you as a way of correcting your mistake. many adults underestimate the frequency and severity of their punishments. Yes. it often has more serious long-term consequences than physical injury. adults do not guide children to learn from their mistakes. With an impulsive slap. 6.

We have to build skills and capabilities in our children to succeed in the global environment. Many teachers and adults within the community. Some teachers feel they need corporal punishment to produce disciplined children who perform well academically. Many parents feel that teachers have a responsibility to control children and need to beat children to teach them discipline. Imagine what your education would have been like if your school had provided these experiences? We hope that as you read the different ideas presented in the following pages you will see how the world is changing around us and how we must respond to these changes. It does not instil in them the joy of learning and the ability to apply their skills to new situations. Humiliation debilitates children more than it helps them learn. How many times a week did you experience corporal punishment? How many times a day? If you explore your own experiences or speak with today’s students.Can we imagine schools without corporal punishment? Corporal punishment has become common in our schools and a part of how we educate our children. Think back to your own experience of school. may well ask: What is wrong with teaching children to fear adults and with shaming them into choosing better behaviour? Do we not value children learning to obey and comply with what is expected of them? Isn’t it our role as adults to teach children how to behave as members of their community? These are important questions that require debate and reflection. We hope that as you read the different ideas presented in the following pages you will see how the world is changing around us and how we must respond to these changes. you will realise that all corporal punishment does is make children fearful and ashamed. Humiliating children with the aim of educating them is counterproductive.indd 18 3/4/2009 2:04:07 PM . and recognise that our current approaches are not working. It does not teach them what is wrong with their behaviour. who have emerged from similar schools. 18 Positive Discipline CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.

develop new ways of relating with each other I don’t know and develop the skills that will help us progress as 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 a nation. As a society. is it any surprise that corporal punishment is widely practiced in the schools of those communities? Why do we have a higher expectation of schools. Are children punished in your community? As a society. shouted at and denied food or other basic needs as a form of punishment.indd 19 3/4/2009 2:04:07 PM . That is why we % of adult respondents have high expectations for the values our schools should embody. Male Rarely Our schools should be Female places where we learn to think critically.Chapter 1 Why should we expect our schools to change? It is sometimes argued that schools reflect the norms of our communities. Positive Discipline 19 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. We expect our schools to Yes. That is why good schools are crucial to the development of Uganda. we expect our schools to be places where new ideas emerge. If more than 90 percent of adults say that in their community children are beaten. evaluate Never ideas. we expect our schools to be places Yes. That is why we invest our hope in creating good schools—schools that will help our children achieve their aspirations. many where new ideas emerge. some nurture our best minds and to develop new directions for the progress of society. given the prevailing norms? The answer is simple.

Roles and Responsibilities of Stakeholders was issued for implementing Universal Primary Education. tertiary institutions.What is the Government’s position on corporal punishment? Due to the negative consequences of violence against children and the challenges of adopting a nonviolent approach. 7 August 2006: The third circular was issued by the Director of Education and copied to primary schools.indd 20 3/4/2009 2:04:07 PM . colleges and polytechnics to expressly forbid corporal punishment in any school in Uganda.4 (iii) it explicitly forbids use of corporal punishment in schools. It further requires that any incident of punishment must be recorded in a specific punishment book maintained by the school. 10 September 2001: The second circular was issued by the Permanent Secretary and copied to headteachers of government-aided secondary schools to communicate guidelines for handling of discipline in secondary schools (see Appendix 2). Key communications from the MoES 10 June 1997: The first circular was issued by the Commissioner for Education and copied to all district education officers. inspectors of schools. and in Clause 3. post-primary institutions. 20 Positive Discipline CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. 9 September 1998: The Guidelines on Policy. headteachers and principals to communicate a temporary ban on the use of corporal punishment in schools and colleges (see Appendix 1). the Ministry of Education and Sports has taken a clear stance against corporal punishment in Ugandan schools. We have expressed this policy position through three circulars as well as other guidelines that have been widely disseminated. This circular requires each school’s Management Committee or Board of Governors to approve a school disciplinary policy. The circular clearly states that anyone ignoring these guidelines would be committing an offence and would be held responsible in the courts of law (see Appendix 3).

chapter 127. Article 44 under section (a) makes the provisions under Article 24 nonderogable. including children. meaning there can be no justification for contravening these rights. their safety is protected. from torturous. Children Act Cap 59 Section 5 explicitly states that anyone entrusted with the care of a child has a duty to maintain that child and to provide for her or his basic rights. including children. community members and teachers have a responsibility to ensure that when children are in their care. Article 24 of the 1995 Constitution protects every person. the Act states that any person who threatens or assaults another person causing actual bodily harm is guilty of misdemeanour and is liable to imprisonment for up to five years. The Education Act 1970 Under Government Standing Orders. on advice from the Education Service Commission or on her or his own motion. the Act explains that the Director of Education shall.indd 21 3/4/2009 2:04:07 PM . inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. particularly children’s right to access an education in a safe environment. This means that parents. abuse or neglect. These as well as many other policy commitments are intended to ensure that children’s rights are protected. These provisions ensure that our children have a constitutional right to be educated without humiliating and degrading treatment. cruel. Positive Discipline 21 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. In schools this means teachers have a responsibility to prevent violence against children. which in the opinion of the Education Service Commission or Director of Education renders the individual an unsuitable person for employment as a teacher. remove from the teachers register the name of any teacher who is convicted of a criminal offence involving amoral behaviour or who has been found guilty of misconduct. violence. such as in the form of corporal punishment or bullying. Under section 5 (2) the Act emphasises the responsibility of the same duty-bearers to protect children from discrimination. The Penal Code Act Cap 106 Section 221 explicitly states that any person who causes harm to another by an act of omission or commission is guilty of misdemeanour and liable to imprisonment for up to six months.Chapter 1 Sample of other national policy that supports Uganda’s policy against corporal punishment in schools The Constitution of Uganda The Constitution protects the dignity and the safety of every Ugandan. Under section 81 and 228.

mind. 22 Positive Discipline CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. mental and moral welfare of a learner. Teachers should not have any sexual relationship with a learner.The Teacher’s Professional Code of Conduct provides guidelines for governing behaviour regarding the teacher-learner relationship. character and personality). including children. Teachers should not use a learner’s labour for private or personal gain. African Charter of Human and People’s Rights This document declares that every individual. Teachers must refrain from any kind of misconduct that will harm the physical. International agreements with Uganda’s legal commitment The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Both of these agreements declare the right to human dignity and physical integrity including that of children. 17 and 20). is inviolable (Article 3). including the following: Teachers must ensure that a learner develops as an integral whole (body. soul.indd 22 3/4/2009 2:04:07 PM . Sample of regional policy that supports Uganda’s policy against corporal punishment in schools African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child Article 11 of this document requires taking “all appropriate measures to ensure that a child who is subjected to school or parental discipline shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the child and in conformity with the present Charter” (see also Articles 16. is entitled to respect for life and the integrity of person (Article 4) and has a right to be protected from degrading punishment (Article 5).

more and more countries are introducing legislation to protect children from corporal punishment.”4 At the World Education Forum in Dakar. representatives including those from Uganda committed to act on the basis of six collectively identified Education for All (EFA) goals. healthy. Uganda and the global movement to prevent violence against children In December 2005. the body mandated to provide official interpretation of the Convention. Article 37 requires the state to ensure that children are not subjected to cruel or inhuman treatment. Also. As a result of these provisions. At a global level. Ugandan children are amongst the 42 percent of the world’s child population who are legally protected from corporal punishment at school. the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution that called for the elimination of all forms of corporal punishment against children in schools and detention facilities. the Committee on the Rights of the Child. 5 and 6) are explicitly linked to quality of education and commit governments to invest in creating safe.indd 23 3/4/2009 2:04:07 PM . The report of the independent expert who coordinated the study states: “The study marks a turning point—an end to adult violence against children. There can be no compromise in challenging violence against children. the Secretary General of the United Nations published a multi-country study in 2006 that unequivocally supports the policy stance taken by the Government of Uganda.Chapter 1 The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) Article 19 explicitly requires the Government to ensure that children are protected from all forms of violence. Senegal (2000). 5 Our challenge is to ensure that all our children enjoy this protection in reality. Article 28 specifically says that the discipline administered in school must be consistent with human dignity. Positive Discipline 23 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. Three of the EFA goals (Goals 2. whether accepted as ‘tradition’ or disguised as ‘discipline’. rather than just on paper. inclusive and equitably resourced educational environments. has consistently interpreted the CRC to require a complete prohibition of corporal punishment.

The first step in finding alternatives to corporal punishment is to understand the factors influencing children’s behaviours. CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 24 3/4/2009 2:04:09 PM .

Chapter 2 Chapter 2 | Alternatives to Corporal Punishment: Positive Discipline within Good Schools n chapter one. we discussed corporal punishment and why it does not enable children to learn. we encourage you to reconsider your response when you see children misbehaving. I This chapter answers the following questions: Why do children behave as they do? What is positive discipline? How does positive discipline create successful individuals? How does positive discipline lead to better schools? What is a good school? Why should we create good schools? Whose responsibility is it to create good schools? 26 27 30 31 32 34 36 Positive Discipline 25 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 25 3/4/2009 2:04:10 PM . In this chapter. and we present the alternative of using positive discipline in the context of a good school. we acknowledge that prohibiting a common response to children’s misbehaviour will only succeed if schools are given workable alternatives. In chapter two.

children will display unhealthy behaviours as they attempt to meet these needs for themselves. they will find it easier to determine nonviolent responses that will benefit everyone.indd 26 3/4/2009 2:04:11 PM . They will discover new ways of guiding children’s behaviour. they are feeling vulnerable and insecure in that class and. At other times a disciplinary consequence will be necessary. they also have basic emotional and psychological needs. Children with a disability are often stigmatised and ridiculed within the community. these emotional and psychological needs must be met. a teacher will find effective and creative ways to respond to children’s behaviour. The need to feel emotionally and physically secure. When teachers understand children’s behaviour in this way.Why do children behave as they do? We need to understand what motivates children’s behaviour if we want to guide children by using alternatives to corporal punishment. When these needs are met. For example. if these needs are not met. This may affect their ability to respond to the teacher’s questions. in turn. For some reason. Take for example children who are noisy or disrespectful in class. because they may fear additional ridicule. Many times. They may be behaving this way because they do not feel accepted by their peers. Just as children have basic physical needs. Could they be understood as children trying to fill their emotional and psychological needs? A child’s behaviour may also be influenced by the gender roles imposed by the community or the child’s social status within the community. without disrupting the class with disciplinary action. The need to be accepted by people who matter the most to them. This may affect their attendance and participation at school. However. children are far more likely to become self-respecting individuals who make positive contributions to their communities. These needs include the following: • • • • The need to belong to the group they find themselves a part of. Sometimes a teacher will realize that the behaviour is not the child’s fault and that the child needs support rather than punishment. girls are often expected to carry a larger burden of the work at home and to be submissive to their male counterparts.6 For children to develop to their full potential. Think of other common misbehaviours at your school. 26 Positive Discipline CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. The need to feel respected by their peers. are trying to make themselves look brave and strong.

When necessary. Positive discipline does not reward children for poor behaviour. It uses consequences that replace the experience of humiliation with the following: • Considering the effects of one’s behaviour • Identifying alternative and preferred behaviours • Demonstrating understanding of why a preferred behaviour is important • Making amends for harm done to others or the environment This approach may require students to engage in writing essays. It provides children with an opportunity to grow as individuals by understanding their mistakes and appreciating how appropriate behaviour can bring them positive experiences and opportunities. Positive Discipline 27 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 27 3/4/2009 2:04:11 PM . Positive discipline helps children learn self-discipline without fear. It involves giving children clear guidelines for what behaviour is acceptable and then supporting them as they learn to abide by these guidelines. positive discipline includes nonviolent consequences for poor behaviour. think and demonstrate their intention to act differently in the future. It aims to help children take responsibility for making good decisions and understand why those decisions were in their best interests. making apologies or performing chores in the classroom—any activities that make them stop. It is about guiding children’s behaviour by paying attention to their emotional and psychological needs.Chapter 2 What is positive discipline? Positive discipline is a different way of guiding children.

28 Positive Discipline CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. placing at the heart of every interaction the best interests of the child. Teachers create these relationships based on basic knowledge of children’s developmental needs and frame their responses to children with the aim of helping them learn and grow. Positive discipline depends on the teacher’s role as mentor and guide. Positive discipline helps children learn self-discipline without fear. A positive discipline approach rejects the use of violence as a tool for teaching. its nature and the compassion and respect within it.A positive discipline approach is child-centric. In chapter three.indd 28 3/4/2009 2:04:11 PM . Central to this approach is the relationship between teacher and child—its tone. rather than grasping for immediate compliance. It’s about making a long-term investment in a child’s development. It involves providing positive reinforcement for good choices as well as consequences for poor choices. you will find more detailed information about how to use positive discipline.

We must show through our leadership that there are no acceptable forms of violence against children.Chapter 2 When teachers and administrators were asked why we should use a positive discipline approach. it becomes difficult to protect children. Positive Discipline 29 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. These methods improve children’s development and their relationships with their parents and community. If we legitimise physical and humiliating punishments through our actions. correct or discipline children that do not include physical and humiliating punishments. they shared the following thoughts: Corporal punishment is ineffective as a means of discipline. There are positive ways to teach.indd 29 3/4/2009 2:04:11 PM . Physical and humiliating punishments increase the use of violence in society and make violence acceptable in the eyes of subsequent generations. A commitment to positive discipline teaches children that violence is an unacceptable and inappropriate strategy for resolving conflicts or getting people to do what you want.

• • • • • • • They have clear goals. They learn to accept responsibility for their fate. we are not equipping them to respond to the challenges of life. Their self-discipline comes from within. They trust their own judgement. We beat children and humiliate them with the aim of creating obedient students. They think of new ways to solve old problems.indd 30 3/4/2009 2:04:11 PM . They are self-motivated. 30 Positive Discipline CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.How does positive discipline create successful individuals? Experiencing positive discipline instils a desire to possess and demonstrate selfdiscipline. People who learn through positive discipline show its positive effects in their personalities. because they feel positive about themselves and the people around them. They believe in themselves. People who learn through positive discipline show its positive effects in their personalities. They are willing to work hard for their goals. by intimidating children. However. as educators we have inherited the idea that we should intimidate the students in our classrooms instead of cultivating their confidence. The children we are educating today will need a wide range of skills and abilities to compete for jobs and make wise decisions. They respect themselves and recognise that each person has a meaningful contribution to make to our collective development. Did it help you develop this strong self-confidence and desire to succeed? Unfortunately. We even refer to this process as imposing discipline. they realise that their decisions and actions determine whether or not they will succeed. Through many different experiences. They are persistent. We need to help them develop self-discipline by allowing them to experience positive discipline. Think of your school as a child.

Positive Discipline 31 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.” A good school ensures that its structures and policies respect children’s rights. include children as valued stakeholders and support children in growing their skills as leaders and thinkers. We must ensure that everything about a school makes children feel as safe and supported as possible in all areas of their development. but they will only take advantage of it if they feel physically and emotionally safe. children will lack trust in the system and positive discipline will fail. This new kind of school is what we call a “good school. Without this schoolwide consistency. they experience school as a place where they discover and define the kind of person they want to be. Positive discipline helps children feel safe and supported. A positive discipline approach succeeds when implemented within a good school. Positive discipline. Instead of children coming to school to obey rules and memorise information. A positive discipline approach succeeds when implemented within a good school. Inspired by the outcomes of positive discipline. because a good school demonstrates the same investment in children’s development. in all aspects of growing up. This is a life-changing opportunity for many children. schools around the world are now supporting all aspects of children’s growth. rather than just giving children information.indd 31 3/4/2009 2:04:11 PM . therefore. but this sense of safety must extend beyond the classroom.Chapter 2 How does positive discipline lead to better schools? By using positive discipline we change what we know as education. inspires us and requires us to develop good schools.

A good school enables children to become compassionate. to ask questions about the information and to try using it outside the classroom. creative and thoughtful individuals. 32 Positive Discipline CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. responsible. Social development A good school goes beyond the elimination of corporal punishment. It provides children an opportunity to build strong relationships with others and understand how to positively contribute to those relationships. relationships and governance structures that enable children to grow to their full potential.indd 32 3/4/2009 2:04:11 PM . The adults at a good school role model clear ethical standards and guide children in developing a lifelong value system. It develops children’s self-confidence and ability to trust their own judgement. Cognitive development A good school goes beyond teaching children to memorise information. A good school helps children build courage and confidence in all three areas of their development: cognitive development (how children think). Consider the following features of a good school: 1. It helps them gain the courage and skills to examine the information presented to them. It engages children in democratic school processes and in the creation of progressive school policies. It helps children feel safe experimenting with the information they learn. social development (how children interact with others) and ethical development (how children become responsible citizens). It makes children feel accepted and valued as members of their community. It makes children feel safe asking questions about values and about their responsibilities as citizens.What is a good school? A good school provides an environment. Ethical development A good school goes beyond asking children to follow traditional values. A good school educates the whole child.

Girls may need special protection from sexual violence. A good school meets the needs of children with disabilities by equally including them in the learning process and ensuring their participation is not undermined by bullying and stigma. Positive Discipline 33 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. They may have specific needs relating to their reproductive health. A good school helps children develop self-discipline by providing children with mentoring. a good school helps children develop clear goals for themselves and helps them build the skills and character to achieve those goals. not retribution. such as during menstruation. A good school uses positive discipline. mistakes are an opportunity to teach rather than humiliate. In this system.Chapter 2 2.indd 33 3/4/2009 2:04:11 PM . clear guidelines and ongoing support. A good school serves all children equally. This system is informed by compassion and derives its vision from the belief that children need guidance. A good school is sensitive to the varying needs of children. A good school has a zero tolerance policy toward corporal punishment and uses a positive discipline approach. Through positive discipline. 3. including harassment from teachers and older boys. It inspires children to be persistent and recognise that achieving worthy goals takes hard work. It provides students with a system that helps them succeed and grow as they learn healthy and acceptable social behaviours.

They will become the problem solvers of the future. Greater contribution to communities and the nation Creative. 34 Positive Discipline CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. instead of feeling intimidated by your presence. In their direct and indirect representation of the school. the school will gain a reputation for being outstanding.Why should we create good schools? A good school provides the following benefits: 1. their behaviour in the classroom will improve. 2. Increased teacher satisfaction When you have a class full of students who are interested in what you have to teach. As they share their pride in their school with their family and community. 3. They will become active participants in our economy and the leaders of our nation. The satisfaction of seeing students fully attentive and excited about learning is what makes teaching a meaningful activity. teaching can become more fulfilling. Better school reputation Enthusiastic students are great ambassadors for schools. bright students who can apply their knowledge and skills are not only good for our schools but also for our communities and country. you will see the positive effects of implementing alternatives to corporal punishment. they may invest in contributing more positively rather than focussing on disrupting the class or misbehaving to gain attention. 4. You may also see better academic performance on tests and exams.indd 34 3/4/2009 2:04:11 PM . Improved classroom learning When students are encouraged to explore ideas and ask questions. the classroom environment will likely change. They are better able to remember the information and apply it to new situations. As a result. and present the work in the classroom as a collaboration between the teacher and the students. they learn more efficiently. 5. Once students realise that their views and opinions matter and that you take them seriously. Better behaviour in the classroom Once you invest in creating helpful relationships with children.

the health of our nation will be judged by the way we treat and educate our children. Positive Discipline 35 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 35 3/4/2009 2:04:12 PM . By getting that right.Chapter 2 6. Shared confidence in doing the right thing Contributing to children’s holistic development is the right thing to do. we can make a substantial contribution to everyone’s future. Ultimately.

We need to create good schools to ensure our nation’s success. including children. We can prepare our children to compete in the global economy by improving our style of education along with the rest of the world. But what kind of a school was it? Did the school teach you skills that you could use to keep growing as a person? Beyond teaching you reading. you are not alone. We can update our professional skills and methods so that children are excited about leading our nation rather than intimidated into following our commands. Educators—such as headteachers. 36 Positive Discipline CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. community and country? Think back to your experience and answer these questions honestly. more experiences for improving their minds and more opportunities to learn leadership and self-discipline. Imagine the effect you could have on the lives of children if you took the steps to create a different kind of school. writing and basic arithmetic. did your school teach you the life skills you needed to become successful? Did your school allow you to participate in making decisions that affected you? Were you taught in an environment and with methods that made you feel excited about learning and confident that your teachers were interested in helping you learn? Did your school build your confidence to make a positive contribution to your family. then at some point in your life you likely went to school. You are in a position to make this possible. Everyone wants to give children better opportunities than they themselves had. If you answered “no” to any of these questions. Governments have the responsibility to develop policy guidelines and laws that help educators create good schools. get more out of their school experience—more skills to apply to their daily lives. You may have found a way to manage with the opportunities you were given. If you are reading this. in which they feel respected and valued. in that process. It is clear that children who are taught in an encouraging environment. school governors and the public officials involved in education—have the responsibility to turn their schools into good schools and to engage all stakeholders. We can do so much more for the children in our schools today. teachers.Whose responsibility is it to create good schools? Everyone has the responsibility to insist on good schools in our communities. but imagine what your possibilities might have been.indd 36 3/4/2009 2:04:12 PM .

Positive Discipline 37 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. you will have imagined a good school.7 It is all of our responsibility to make good schools a reality.Chapter 2 Imagine a school in which children feel safe to learn. Imagine a school in which children are active participants.indd 37 3/4/2009 2:04:12 PM . If you do that. Everyone has the responsibility to insist on good schools in our communities. Imagine a school in which children not only learn all the basic skills but also explore new ways of thinking—so that they can succeed in changing the world around them.

CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.Positive discipline guides children in understanding their misbehaviour and in building a personal desire to make better choices in the future.indd 38 3/4/2009 2:04:15 PM .

3 I This chapter answers the following questions: What are the first steps for creating a good school? How do I know if I’m using positive discipline? How do I respond to misbehaviour using positive discipline? How do I create a positive classroom environment? What are some examples of positive discipline in action? 40 44 46 50 52 Positive Discipline 39 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. in the context of a good school. we discussed corporal punishment and why it does not enable children to learn.Chapter Chapter 3 | Positive Discipline and Good schools in Action n chapter one. we introduced the concept of positive discipline and how. it can be a more effective way of inspiring children to realise their full potential. In chapter three. In chapter two. we provide tips and tools for taking the first steps toward creating a good school and implementing a positive discipline approach.indd 39 3/4/2009 2:04:15 PM .

effort and patience to create a good school. Get an exercise book for writing down your ideas and thoughts and for charting out what actions you will take. 2. As a group answer the following questions: • Why does our school exist? Does it exist to produce outstanding learners who will become creative. Create a shared vision. Stakeholders are more likely to remain committed if you engage them in creating a shared vision. Get in touch with other schools that have already begun this process and learn about their approaches. what was easy and what was challenging. consider starting with the following steps: 1. you must ensure that all stakeholders get involved. including what worked and what didn’t. Educate yourself. thoughtful and disciplined members of the community? Or does it exist simply to contain children in a classroom? Will we be satisfied if children emerge with basic skills? Or do we want to provide a higher standard of education? What kind of individuals do we want to have graduate from our school? And what kind of educational environment do we want them to graduate from? What kind of school do we want five years from now? • • • 40 Positive Discipline CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. Do some background reading. It will take everyone’s time.indd 40 3/4/2009 2:04:15 PM . It will require the school’s administration and teachers to learn new skills and collectively reflect on the school’s methods. If you want to create a good school. If you want to create a good school. Read this publication carefully as well as some of the recommended reading listed at the end of this handbook.What are the first steps for creating a good school? Creating a good school requires a schoolwide commitment.

It should also describe what support the school is willing to offer teachers to help them fulfil their role professionally. Discuss the ideas in this handbook with the school governing body. Explain carefully what it is and what it isn’t. Emphasise that creating a good school may seem hard at first but is in the best interests of everyone concerned. Discuss how these approaches could be implemented and who would lead the school through this process. Once finalised. Share your ideas with potential supporters. parents and community leaders. emphasise that with positive discipline teachers still have a responsibility to guide children and may still give consequences for children’s poor behaviour.indd 41 3/4/2009 2:04:15 PM . to discuss how these approaches could help the school achieve better results. Share ideas and generate interest. such as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that may be interested in influencing the quality of education at your school. as well as local district officials in your area. This document should include a basic explanation of positive discipline and the responsibilities of teachers and students in applying it. create a short presentation on good schools and how they benefit everyone in the community. Explain how your school is improving their children’s education. Develop a written policy on positive discipline at school. governing bodies.Chapter 3 3. Ask for a special meeting with teachers. Positive Discipline 41 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. launch the policy publicly with the support and involvement of students. Encourage parents to get involved and apply the positive discipline ideas at home. For example. For their next meeting. including the headteacher. Create written policies. Organise an open day for parents. Write a Code of Conduct that specifically tells teachers what they can and can’t do when they discipline at school. teachers. Design special lessons and classroom discussions about positive discipline and why your school is choosing to apply it. 4. This document should clearly outline consequences for the breach of school standards.

and review the plan once a month to monitor progress. Ensure that this plan takes into account the varying needs of children in your school. It could be a schoolwide essay writing competition. 42 Positive Discipline CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. Create a regular forum for teachers and students through which they can share their ideas and experiences of creating a good school. Establish a teachers committee that. If appropriate.indd 42 3/4/2009 2:04:15 PM . Consider the gender norms that may influence how teachers discipline boys differently from girls. in signing a community-wide agreement that supports and promotes the new policies and plans. Establish an elected student’s body that has a clear say in all of the above decisions. Ensure that the entire community is aware of the school’s transformation and is committed to the process. suggestion boxes. 5. school assembly presentations. including community leaders. together with the student’s body. Think about the special needs girls may have based on the beliefs and stereotypes in your community. Sharing ideas and experiences can also take place through formal class projects or peer education projects. Think about children who have a disability and how you will ensure that they are not excluded from participating in school activities. picture drawing competition. dramas and short stories or any other method through which ideas can be shared.Develop a written action plan for how you will create a good school. you could engage community members. Create structures that will keep all stakeholders engaged. has the day-to-day responsibility to spearhead the process of creating a good school.

Positive discipline is a critical component of good schools. Positive Discipline 43 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. Build teachers’ and administrators’ ability to successfully use positive discipline. Provide training and resources for teachers and administrators on how to use positive discipline. Begin by studying the remaining sections in this chapter. Creating a good school requires a schoolwide commitment.indd 43 3/4/2009 2:04:15 PM .Chapter 3 6.

You agree with parts of the descriptions in both columns. 4 means your approach is mostly described by the corporal punishment column. Then repeat the questionnaire. Assess yourself by circling a number for each row (rows A to F). continue to re-evaluate yourself. 2 means your approach is mostly described by the positive discipline column. Consider how you would rate yourself based on the guide provided. A total score of 15 to 21 means you agree with some ideas of positive discipline and would also gain from building your understanding and skills. Aim to decrease the difference between the two scores. Review the contents of this handbook and meet with your colleagues to discuss the ideas presented. Choosing a number 1 means your approach is completely described by the positive discipline column. although you have some doubts. As you improve your knowledge and skills for using positive discipline. A total score of 6 to 14 means you are already practicing the ideas of positive discipline. A total score of 22 to 30 means you approach education using the ideas of corporal punishment. Read through the table and compare the two columns.How do I know if I am using positive discipline? The following table will help you analyse your current approach to teaching. add up the circled numbers to determine your score. Compare your two scores. 3 means you are not sure. Through discussions with colleagues you can advance your skills and knowledge with greater ease and support. 44 Positive Discipline CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. We hope you will choose to engage with some of the ideas in this handbook and begin to think about the effectiveness of using a positive discipline approach. although you have some doubts. since this activity is entirely for your own learning. Interpreting your score Once you have circled a number for each row. 5 means your approach is completely described by the corporal punishment column.indd 44 3/4/2009 2:04:15 PM . except this time choose numbers based on what kind of an educator you aspire to be. Take a few days to reflect on your results. You could be a valuable role model for other teachers in your school and could take a leadership role in creating a good school for your community. Be as honest as possible.

Your priorities prevail in all considerations and your point of view determines the right course of action. D 1 2 3 4 5 Values and respects individuality. Short-term compliance. You consider all issues from a child’s perspective and calculate all your responses based on how they will help children learn from their mistakes.Chapter 3 Positive Discipline Motivates. Your approach aims to create obedience in a specific situation. Your aim is to create workable rules that are mutually beneficial. Authoritarian. Values conformity. Your approach is based on nurturing the development of the whole child over a long period of time. You welcome these differences. Corporal Punishment Punishes. It only gives secondary and indirect consideration to the long-term development of the child. Teacher-centric. F 1 2 3 4 5 Positive Discipline 45 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. You create a classroom environment in which children learn to obey what they are told instead of think for themselves.indd 45 3/4/2009 2:04:15 PM . C 1 2 3 4 5 Democratic. You accept that all of us are individuals with a variety of views and priorities. You use fear or shame to ensure that children think or behave in a prescribed way. You never use violence and instead role model values and behaviours that children aspire to acquire. You tell children what to do and punish them if they choose another course of action. you provide a clear indication of rewards and consequences for choices. B 1 2 3 4 5 Child-centric. Aims to create obedient children. You reward those who behave and think like you do and punish those who do not. E 1 2 3 4 5 Long-term development. insulting and humiliating. You tolerate different ideas and even mistakes if they may lead to constructive learning. A 1 2 3 4 5 Aims to empower children. You use such punishments as beating. While doing so. You help children take responsibility for making good decisions by providing them with the skills and environment to freely explore ideas.

your first action when using positive discipline is not to apply these four principles in your disciplinary response but rather to decide if discipline is even appropriate. a disciplinary response should be: 1.How do I respond to misbehaviour using positive discipline? Many teachers agree that when they discuss or read about positive discipline it makes sense. For example. but still feel dependent on other equally humiliating punishments. therefore. Relevant to the misbehaviour Proportional to the offence Focused on correcting the behaviour not humiliating the student Aimed at rehabilitation (learning from mistakes) not retribution (payback) However. other interventions and support for the child are required. 46 Positive Discipline CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. They are able to eliminate physical violence from their responses. sometimes children come late to school because they were sent by parents to run errands. disciplining the child will not eliminate the behaviour. The process requires patience and persistence. We understand that changing to a positive discipline approach is not easy. you will need to build your understanding of the principles of positive discipline and learn practical positive discipline techniques. Instead. your first challenge is to ensure you understand the reasons for the child’s behaviour and to evaluate whether the behaviour actually deserves a disciplinary response. In collaboration with your colleagues. The four principles of positive discipline In a positive discipline approach.indd 46 3/4/2009 2:04:15 PM . 4. but when they attempt to practice positive discipline on a day-to-day basis it becomes harder to understand. 2. such as no longer using a cane. 3. Often poor behaviour results from factors outside a child’s control and. When it seems a student has misbehaved.

however. Changing to a positive discipline approach is not easy. The process requires patience and persistence. Positive Discipline 47 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. you can begin to respond with disciplinary measures that adhere to the four principles of positive discipline. These types of beliefs should be corrected through a disciplinary response—they are correctable beliefs. For example.Chapter 3 Other times. Once you have established that the behaviour is based on a correctable belief. as opposed to circumstances beyond the child’s control.indd 47 3/4/2009 2:04:15 PM . sometimes children make no effort to arrive on time for school because they do not believe that punctuality is important. children make poor choices based on flawed beliefs.

The four categories of positive discipline responses
In order to follow the four principles of positive discipline you will need to customise your disciplinary response for each child and each misbehaviour. This process will become easier with practice. Within the following four categories of positive discipline responses you will find a variety of practical ideas for responding to varying degrees of misbehaviour. These ideas can be applied alone or in combination. The four categories of responses are Reflection, Penalty,

Reparation and Last Resort. 1. Reflection

For minor day-to-day problems, such as coming late to school or being disruptive in class, a teacher could ask children to think about their misbehaviour by using one of the following techniques: • Imposing a time-out. This would involve asking children to either leave the class or sit in a quiet place for 10 minutes to think about their behaviour. To be released they have to articulate what they did wrong and how they will avoid repeating the mistake. This should be done firmly, but without humiliating the child. Letter writing. This could involve asking children to write a letter or even an essay on why they behaved in a certain way and what they will do to avoid repeating the mistake. If appropriate the writing should include an apology. Oral apology. This involves asking children to apologise to the wronged person and to ask for forgiveness.

2.

Penalty
For offences that are persistent and detrimental for all concerned, such as continually coming late without an adequate explanation, missing school without an adequate explanation or insulting other students, a teacher could impose an appropriate penalty. Penalties within a positive discipline approach include the following:

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• • •

Physical work, such as children slashing grass or cleaning the school compound in a designated area. Withdrawal of privileges, such as children not being allowed to go out during recess or to play games during school. Additional time at school (detention), such as children remaining for an extra half hour after school to reflect on what they did wrong.

Care must be taken to ensure that the penalty meets the principles of positive discipline. The penalty should also provide children with an opportunity to think about their behaviour and to think of an alternative behaviour for future similar circumstances. At the end of a penalty, teachers should help children learn what was wrong with their behaviour and how not to repeat the same mistake.

3.

Reparation
For offences that cause damage to a third party, such as hitting other students, bullying younger children, damaging property, or fighting and causing general disorder in school, a teacher could insist that a child undertake public reparation, such as the following: • • The child apologises in the assembly to the entire school. If feasible, the child contributes toward replacing or repairing the damage, such as erecting a fence, chopping wood or repainting a wall (based on the capacity of the child). The child receives a written notice in the school disciplinary record and commits to reform. The school involves parents in preventing a repeat of the behaviour.

• •

4.

Last resort
For persistent and serious offences, such as violating other children or serious damage to the school property or reputation, the headteacher could take action as a last resort, using interventions such as the following: • Summon and discuss with parents the possible next steps, as a warning to the child. • Implement a time-limited suspension (e.g., one week) with a written warning and referral to a counsellor or probation officer. • As a very last resort, refer the case to the Director of Education with a specific recommendation for expulsion from school, including the involvement of a probation officer and an action plan for next steps to help the child.

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How do I create a positive classroom environment?
Positive discipline guides children in understanding their misbehaviour and in building a personal desire to make better choices in the future. However, it is far more than just responses to misbehaviour. It combines nonviolent disciplinary action with a positive classroom environment, an environment that encourages students to get involved in defining the conditions for success. This approach involves establishing a different kind of relationship with students and new methods for engaging and supporting them over the long-term. In the beginning it may be difficult, as you get used to a new way of doing things. However, over a period of time, it will become easier and you will notice positive changes in your students’ behaviours, both inside and outside the classroom. Here are a few ideas for getting started. All of these activities aim to share decisionmaking power with students and create an environment in which students can feel invested in their school. These activities are part of a positive discipline approach, because they encourage students to identify themselves as key stakeholders in their school and, as a result, feel more accountable for their behaviour.

1.

Set shared ground rules for learning.
Engage students in jointly developing class ground rules for learning. Explain that you want to involve the class in creating a new way of learning together and provide them with some examples of possible class ground rules. Examples of rules could include any of the following: • Everyone must come on time. • The lesson will start and finish on time. • Questions are encouraged. • Only one person can speak at a time. • We will listen to everyone’s ideas with respect. • Everyone is responsible for her or his own learning. This means if you don’t understand, you will ask questions. • Students will pay attention when the teacher is talking. • The class will decide what to do when someone breaks a rule, based on guidelines discussed earlier by the class. • Teachers and students will both give and get respect.

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Write the rules on paper or cardboard and tape them on the wall for the class to refer to on an ongoing basis. Be aware that at first the class may find it difficult to stick to the rules, but over a period of time they will get used to it. Be patient, but remain consistent and firm in applying the rules.

2.

Engage students in classroom management.
Establish an elected student committee that is responsible for representing students’ views in the class. This committee could also serve as a peer disciplinary committee that responds to anyone who breaks the class rules persistently. However, these students must receive and follow guidelines regarding positive discipline so that they do not abuse fellow students. At the beginning of each term, call a class meeting and explain the work that needs to be covered during that term. Make a plan as a class for how the work will be accomplished and identify the students responsible for monitoring progress. Keep track of each disciplinary incident and monitor the overall trend. Motivate the class to improve performance by setting targets (e.g., next month we will reduce disciplinary incidents by 20 percent). Make a chart that tracks progress and rewards the class for outstanding achievements. Introduce a classroom-based or schoolwide forum for discussing how the school could serve its students better. Encourage constructive ideas and ensure that practical ones are put into action. For example, if students prioritised access to drinking water or sanitary supplies, then the school could try to prioritise these in its budget.

3.

Create opportunities to celebrate success.
Create “Student of the Month” and “Teacher of the Month” programmes that ask each student every month to nominate one child and one teacher as potential candidates. Announce clear qualifying criteria, such as timeliness, helpfulness to others, good performance in class and acting as a role model to students. Announce the winners at the school assembly. Introduce a “School Pride Day” for which students can share and implement ideas that involve everyone taking pride in their school. Some ideas could include cleaning the school compound, planting trees, appreciating a helpful teacher in assembly or helping someone with homework.

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The following five scenarios involve common perceived misbehaviours for which adults often use corporal punishment. because I do not have money to take the bus. I just have to take the beating. analysing and discussing the following skill-building scenarios. beating Sabina does not teach her what is wrong with coming late to school. Sabina’s teacher: I have to make sure the children understand that coming late to school is not acceptable. For each scenario. therefore. Sometimes there may be a justifiable explanation. if beatings taught her what was wrong with arriving late. They just offer themselves up because they know I don’t listen to any excuses. and in that case. Through practice you will begin to witness how these two ideas support one another. try to identify alternatives to corporal punishment and then read the alternatives provided. I always give them three canes. She may get used to it and. They have to know that there are consequences for their lateness. because I am tired. Sometimes. The 52 Positive Discipline CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. I know that being beaten is just the way things are at our school. never learn from her mistake. Remember. I will just take the three canes. Most of the time I walk. Some of them are even used to it. I take it easy. In the morning sometimes I have to fetch water and sweep the compound around our house before I can go to school. Scenario 1: Arriving late to school Sabina: I live two kilometres from my school. After all. it is far more useful to help the child find a solution to the situation than to enforce a punishment. It just teaches her that she will experience pain. I try to hide in the bush until the teacher leaves. Consider the following alternatives: a) The teacher could begin by trying to understand why Sabina comes late. but most of the time there is no escape.indd 52 3/4/2009 2:04:16 PM . You can also build this understanding by reading.What are some examples of positive discipline in action? You have now learned how a positive discipline approach combines nonviolent disciplinary action with a positive classroom environment. she would try to arrive on time. What are positive discipline alternatives? In this situation. it is crucial that you begin by understanding the reasons for the child’s behaviour.

the teacher could tell her that she is not allowed to enter the classroom late and.Chapter 3 teacher could get in touch with her parents to see if together they could help Sabina get to school on time. This will cause her performance in this class to suffer. However. teachers and school. It shows that you take pride in your conduct and enjoy being at school. such as: • • • • c) The lessons can start and finish on time. The class could make a list of reasons for being on time. You will not miss part of the lesson because you are late. arranging personal communication with her parents to explain why Sabina needs to arrive at school on time. if it is a small community. It may involve sending a note home to her parents or. not able to join the first class. b) The teacher could hold discussions in class about the importance of being on time and the values behind punctuality. it is important that other options have been tried before this one is exercised.indd 53 3/4/2009 2:04:16 PM . It may involve getting her to write a letter to explain why she comes late or asking her to apologise to her class for arriving late. She will learn that she has the power to change her own situation by coming on time. If Sabina is persistently late. d) Positive Discipline 53 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. It shows respect for your fellow students. and she will see how her behaviour has consequences. therefore. Sabina could be offered counselling on how to ensure that she is on time. This approach would involve listening to her reasons for being late and taking into consideration her situation.

b) c) 54 Positive Discipline CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. The students will take over and other teachers will laugh at me. I was telling funny stories and everyone was laughing. the teacher will take an appropriate action already discussed with the class.Scenario 2: Making noise in class and disruptive behaviour James: I was feeling good today. • The teacher will not humiliate students if they don’t know the answer to a question. • All the lessons will start and finish on time. the class disciplinary committee will follow pre-written guidelines to determine the appropriate discipline. • In the case of persistent offenders. • If a person breaks any of the rules. The teacher tried to tell me to stop talking. Consider the following alternatives: a) The teacher could begin the term by developing class ground rules. I am tough and can’t be bossed around by a teacher. I will make an example out of James so that students will not dare to show disrespect by making noise in my class. • Everyone will respect each other in class. These rules could include: • No side talking during the lessons. I will put James in his place by embarrassing him publicly and beating him. The teacher could get James to write a letter to the class regarding his behaviour and what effect he thinks it has on the class. James may be trying to get some attention and praise rather than wanting to be disruptive for the sake of it. • Students will take responsibility for trying hard by asking questions when they don’t understand.indd 54 3/4/2009 2:04:16 PM . they will just get out of control and I will not be able to teach. The teacher could exclude James from the class for 10 minutes to help him reflect on his actions. Otherwise. James’ teacher: I have to ensure that they fear me in this class. The class would agree on these rules together. but I wanted to show everyone that I was not afraid. What are positive discipline alternatives? In this case.

John’s teacher: This boy is rude and stupid! He is insulting me by not paying attention. I just don’t understand anything that is being taught. Even in tests. some learners may still experience difficulty absorbing the information. Consider the following alternatives: a) The class could agree to the following rules for learning: • The teacher will present the information in many different ways—so that children who can’t understand one way have an opportunity to understand another way. I become scared and just remain quiet.indd 55 3/4/2009 2:04:16 PM . I know everyone is staring at me and laughing. I feel so afraid and always fail. because I don’t know how to answer the questions. Even if the lesson is simple. I can’t speak. Even if the answer is obvious. • The teacher will not punish students for giving wrong answers. Last week almost everyone failed the test and now they don’t even know the answer to this simple question. The ability to learn depends on the emotional and mental state of the learner. The best thing is to stay quiet or just leave that question blank on the test. I just can’t risk giving the wrong answer. sometimes when the teacher looks at me. but what can I do. I am going to teach this class a lesson. and I don’t want to be laughed at. • The teacher will happily repeat information and will welcome students’ questions.Chapter 3 Scenario 3: Failing a test or giving a wrong answer to a question John: I am so nervous in class. Positive Discipline 55 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. They should know the right answer before I ask the question! What are positive discipline alternatives? Learning is a delicate process. I am afraid that the teacher is going to pick on me and ask a question when I don’t know the answer. How many times have I taught this thing? Is he not listening? I am tired of trying hard when this class just doesn’t care. I am going to thrash this boy so that everyone will learn that when I teach they have to pay attention. • The teacher will frequently check to see if children understand what is being taught.

the teacher moves to another child. The teacher never keeps attention focused on just one or two children. • If a child does not know the answer to a question. • The teacher explains that wrong answers are part of learning and that students should not be afraid of giving a wrong answer. 56 Positive Discipline CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.b) The teacher could adopt practices that support cautious and slower learners. the teacher congratulates the students for trying and then guides them in understanding the correct answer.indd 56 3/4/2009 2:04:16 PM . the teacher offers extra help after class to children who had difficulty with the lesson. • When students try hard but give wrong answers. such as the following: • When possible.

She may also need help convincing her family that if she does well at school. Headteacher at Amina’s school: We can’t have a child missing class whenever she wants. I know that I am not going far after primary school ends. she deserves a chance to continue with her studies.Chapter 3 Scenario 4: Missing class or being absent without permission Amina: Sometimes my mother sends me to sell things at the market and I can’t go to school. In the morning assembly. The headteacher could ask Amina to write a letter regarding what the school means to her. The headteacher could ask a trusted teacher to encourage and motivate Amina during this difficult time. Sometimes I feel bored on the way to school and visit my friend instead of going to school. Consider the following alternatives: a) b) c) d) e) The headteacher could try to find out why Amina is missing classes and try to convince Amina’s parents to prioritise her education. We can’t have children undermining authority at this school. What are positive discipline alternatives? Amina needs help to see the value of education and feel hopeful that the school has something important to offer her. The headteacher could pair Amina with another student who could encourage her participation in school. cane her six times and give her a final warning. The headteacher could refer Amina to a counsellor who could help her see that if she invested in her education now. Positive Discipline 57 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. If she doesn’t listen. Sometimes I don’t like being in a class where the teacher asks me questions all the time and looks at me in a funny way. she is out of this school. her life could be different. so what’s the point? I might as well do what I want.indd 57 3/4/2009 2:04:16 PM . She has to be made an example of so that her behaviour doesn’t spread. I will single her out.

religious leader or other community leader.indd 58 3/4/2009 2:04:16 PM . I will warn him publicly that if he persists we will throw him out of this school. the school could consider referring Peter to another school that is able to deal with the problem more effectively. I am going to humiliate him. and sometimes rough-up an annoying boy. Peter’s teacher: This boy is a problem. To do so effectively. further humiliation at school is unlikely to be helpful. Before taking any firm action. the school could involve other community members. I will then announce that we don’t tolerate such behaviour from anyone. I keep others’ respect by showing them what might happen if they don’t fear me. Consider the following alternatives: a) b) The school could develop a written policy about zero tolerance for bullying and post it on a public board. it is important to find out the root cause of his behaviour. c) d) 58 Positive Discipline CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. What are positive discipline alternatives? Peter’s behaviour may be motivated by the humiliation he is subjected to at home or elsewhere. I tease small girls. through counselling as well as enquiring within the community. it is also important to provide immediate protection for other children. The school could ensure Peter receives counselling for his problem. the headteacher would focus on talking about the behaviour rather than about Peter. If the problem still persists. The school could involve a probation officer or the Secretary for Children’s Affairs in the local area. Everyone fears me. He is making other children miserable and giving our school a bad name. They know my father is tough at home and I am tough at school. Thus. Everyone in school knows not to cross me. However. The headteacher could talk about the incidents during the school assembly and emphasise that violence against children is unacceptable—regardless of whom it comes from. relative. I will slap him a few times and ask another teacher to cane him six times. Today in assembly. such as a parent. and I need to make sure that no one gets away with undermining my status. If the problem persists.Scenario 5: Bullying other children Peter: I am the toughest boy in this school.

He is kind and never shouts. He would beat you for any small mistake. Now I work at this school where the headmistress has made a rule that corporal punishment is not allowed.indd 59 3/4/2009 2:04:16 PM . I tried to avoid troubles. Then I attended a workshop about children’s rights and learned that it does not have to be like that. I met my now husband. I talked to my friend about it and she helped me see what I was doing to my daughter. Sometimes it is hard. “I don’t know if it was the workshop that changed me. but I also think it is right.” female teacher Positive Discipline 59 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. I felt sorry and apologised to her. But then when I was 22. We even try to help our neighbour’s children when they beat them too much. He gave our mother money for food and expenses and said that it was no business of hers how he chose to discipline his children. My mother tried to help us but what can she do? “All through my school years.Chapter 3 A Teacher Against Violence A testimony “I was born in a village in a family where my father had two wives. Perhaps violence is not about being a man or a woman but what kind of person you are. He provided for both families. but till now he has remained like that. He was terrible to all my siblings and me. If I didn’t do the housework or did not do my homework or did not greet somebody properly. I thought men were just like that and there is nothing I can do. I do not want my children to be afraid of everything. “We now have two children and at first I used to beat them and shout at them just like my father used to do to me. but me and my brothers and sisters were afraid of him. I knew in my heart that violence was wrong because I know what it feels like. he would beat and he would shout. I feared everyone and remained quiet and obedient. One day I saw how afraid my daughter was about everything and I thought of how I was when my father used to beat me. At first I thought he was just trying to tempt me. the way I was. He was a respected man because he had land. My husband and I talked about it and have decided that we will never beat our children the way we were beaten by our parents. I wish all schools were like ours. The workshop helped me understand what was in my heart. “He beat me and shouted at me all the time. He was so harsh.

The question is. will you act? CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.indd 60 3/4/2009 2:04:17 PM .All that remains is for you to take action based on what you know.

The question is. You know that a large number of teachers are speaking out against it. you know that it is not right to continue to violate our children in this way. You know that corporal punishment prevents children from realising their full potential as students and subsequently as members of their communities. You know that the law and government policy condemn it. All that remains is for you to take action based on what you know. Above all. You know that the common reasons given for practising corporal punishment are no longer applicable. will you act? T Positive Discipline 61 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.Final Word Final Word he case for abandoning corporal punishment is overwhelming.indd 61 3/4/2009 2:04:18 PM .

indd 62 3/4/2009 2:04:18 PM .Appendices 62 Positive Discipline CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.

physical impairments and.Appendices Appendix 1 MINISTRY OF EDUCATION P . professional values traditionally derived from the use of corporal punishments as a deterrent and disciplining measure to be applied on growing children have been eroded through indiscriminate use of the cane. the use of the cane in schools has deteriorated into random and irresponsible beating of school children by teachers or fellow pupils. Over a period of time. The use of the cane and. the use of the cane in schools is not equally governed by clearly defined procedures. 2. rules or guidelines to give it a positive and professional value as a deterrent measure in promoting discipline.O.indd 63 3/4/2009 2:04:18 PM . Ref: CE/C/23 10th June 1997 All District Education Officers All Municipal Inspectors of Schools All District Inspectors of Schools All Head-teachers All Principals A TEMPORARY BAN ON THE USE OF CORPORAL PUNISHMENTS IN SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES 1. rampant beating of school children and students under the guise of disciplining them by applying corporal punishments has been discharged without generally agreed guidelines or regulation to restrain it’s excessive usage. This has resulted in untold injuries.BOX 7063 KAMPALA. in many cases. actual death. usually accompanied with hard labour. In some cases even the bare hand or use of the nearest hard object has inflicted a disability of one form or another on the victims. Whereas Corporal punishment is prescribed in the penal code of Uganda Laws. In practice. Positive Discipline 63 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. in some cases.

justifiable and necessary to introduce use of corporal punishment in schools and colleges must come up with a clearly conceived definition. The use of the cane as a disciplining measure shall not be permitted in nursery schools and infant classes at this tender age that ought to be brought up in love and fellowship rather than brutality. These should be subject to approval by the school management committees or Boards of Governors to ensure that the measures taken do not in any way disguise other forms of brutality. rules and guidelines on the application of corporal punishments in schools in general and in view of the seriousness of the uncontrolled use of the cane in particular.indd 64 3/4/2009 2:04:18 PM . The following measures therefore take immediate effect: i) Random beating of school children and students in schools and colleges by teachers must stop forthwith. violence and sadism. authorisation and the particulars of the offence. ii) iii) iv) v) vi) 64 Positive Discipline CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. Every school should immediately review it’s school rules and code of punishments with a view to introducing more professional and acceptable sanctions to replace the stereotypes of manual labour and caning. This equally applies to meting out any form of punishment or act that may induce or cause injury. type of punishment. 3. procedure and prescription of how best to administer the punishment. clearly indicating the type of offence. it has been found necessary to put a complete stop to the use of the cane in schools and random beating of children by teachers before a policy on this is finally put in place. This then will be a useful basis for generating national debate which may in turn enhance the enactment of an appropriate law. defilement or disfigurement to the human body. damage.In the absence of clear procedures. the entire system of punishments in schools and colleges must be approved by the School Management Committees or Boards of Governors as the case may be. Any punishment incident in future must be recorded in a punishment book. In all circumstances. Those who deem it professionally defendable.

c. The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Local Government c. Our ultimate goal ought to be minimal administration of punishments in the schools system in preference to a system of getting to know and understand the needs of the youth more intimately.c. it is expected that most schools will opt for developing more professional and refined methods of guiding and counseling pupils. All Chief Administrative Officers. teachers and parents in the use of alternative and more positive training in attitude formation and character building among the youth. students.Appendices vii) Where these guidelines are ignored or abused. The Commissioner for Education (Inspectorate) c.c.c. Stephen B Maloba COMMISSIONER FOR EDUCATION c.indd 65 3/4/2009 2:04:18 PM . The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education. With these restraints. c. the culprits will be criminally held responsible for their actions and will have to face the law including the Professional Code of Conduct. Positive Discipline 65 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.

2. Cases of indiscipline of students should be handled by ALL relevant committees in the school system and as stipulated in the Basic Requirements and Minimum Standards Guidelines. According to the Education Act 1970 section 7. 66 Positive Discipline CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. subsection 2 and the Education Board of Governors Regulations 1991 part iii-section 9 and 10. In this communication. section 14 and 15. I wish therefore to reiterate that: 1. the issue of causes of unrest will be dealt with after thorough investigations have been carried out. I would like to deal with the way indiscipline of students and strikes is handled in schools. the existence. indiscipline and unrest of students in some schools throughout the country. In the same Regulations part iv. There are a number of possible reasons to explain the cause of this situation. management and administration of any secondary school in Uganda must be guided by a duly appointed and operationally functioning Board of Governors.indd 66 3/4/2009 2:04:18 PM . 6/2001 To: Head-teachers Government Grant-aided Secondary Schools GUIDELINES ON HANDLING OF INDISCIPLINE IN SCHOOLS In the recent past there has been a wave of strikes. In many cases where strikes have occurred it has been discovered that the official procedures are not followed in handling cases of indiscipline. The causes range from increasing indiscipline of students to poor methods of school administration characterised by lack of transparency and accountability.Appendix 2 10th September 2001 CIRCULAR NO. a head-teacher cannot effectively run a school without the active involvement of the Board of Governors and their relevant committees. and good governance. However.

May I remind you that it is an abdication of your duties to fail to submit minutes of the Board of Governors’ meetings and their relevant committees every term to the Commissioner.K.Appendices This is therefore to clarify: i) That for suspensions of not more than two (2) weeks. no indefinite suspension of students should be carried out without the approval of the Board of Governors. ii) iii) That cases of indefinite suspension should be forwarded. Lubanga PERMANENT SECRETARY C. Please note that for major cases of indiscipline. the head-teacher (Secretary of the Board of Governors) should call for a special meeting as is provided for in the Rules and Regulations of the Board of Governors. the head-teacher may effect them without the approval of the Director of Education’s office but should do so only at the recommendation of the relevant disciplinary committees in the school. This process should not take more than one month.indd 67 3/4/2009 2:04:18 PM . to the Director of Education for approval.X. F. with recommendations of the Board of Governors.C. Any head-teacher who will fail to apply these procedures will be liable for disciplinary action. That from now on. All Chief Administrative Officers All District Education Officers All Chairpersons of Board of Governors Positive Discipline 67 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. Secondary Education for follow up.

the Children’s Rights Act prohibits values and actions that undermine the health and dignity of the children. 2. 3. damage. Whereas corporal punishment is prescribed in the Penal Code of Uganda Laws. 68 Positive Discipline CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. physical impairments and in some cases actual death. be they government-aided or private. untold injuries.indd 68 3/4/2009 2:04:18 PM . The Ministry of Education and Sports has noted with great concern the increasing number of cases whereby teachers have been subjecting students to corporal punishments under the guise of disciplining the students. Traditional values derived from the use of corporal punishments as a deterrent and disciplining measure to be applied on growing children have been eroded through indiscriminate use of the cane. The following measures must be observed by all the educational institutions. the use of the cane has deteriorated into random and irresponsible beating of students by the teachers and fellow students. the use of the cane in educational institutions is not equally governed by any law.Appendix 3 7th August 2006 CIRCULAR NO. and is usually accompanied with hard labour. defilement or disfigurement to the human body. Even the use of bare hands has at times inflicted a disability of one form or the other on the victims. a) Corporal punishments for students in schools and colleges must stop forthwith. In practice. This applies to meting out any other form of punishment or act that may cause injury. have been caused by corporal punishments meted to students. Moreover. Consequently. 15/2006 To: Heads of Primary Schools Heads of Post Primary Institutions Heads of Tertiary Institutions Heads of Colleges and Polytechnics Re: BAN ON CORPORAL PUNISHMENTS IN SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES 1.

indd 69 3/4/2009 2:04:18 PM . Mbabazi For: PERMANENT SECRETARY C. teachers and parents in the use of alternative forms of punishment that are geared towards positive training in attitude formation and character building of the youth. Every educational institution should review its rules with a view of introducing more professional and acceptable sanctions to replace manual labour and caning. type of punishment. Prime Minister Positive Discipline 69 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. the culprits will be held criminally responsible for their actions. The Schools/ Colleges’ Boards of Governors/ Governing Councils should approve the new rules. It is expected that educational institutions will develop and apply more professional and refined methods of guiding and counseling students. The ultimate goal of the managers of the teaching/ learning process is to mould them into useful citizens. clearly indicating the type of offence. Where these guidelines are ignored or abused. c) d) e) f) Dr. including the Teachers’ Code of Conduct. Any disciplinary action must be recorded in a punishments book. authorisation and the particulars of the person administering the punishment so that a regular system of records is maintained. Hon. They will have to face the law.Appendices b) The use of the cane as a disciplining measure shall not be permitted even in Nursery Schools and infant classes. the children ought to be brought up in love and care rather than in brutality.C. All Chief Administrative Officers All Town Clerks All District Education Officers All Municipal Education Officers All District Inspectors of Schools The Rt. violence and sadism. However. At this tender age. the measures to be taken should not in any way disguise other forms of brutality. J.G.

Local Council V Chairpersons. Schools Management Committees Chairpersons. Public Service/ Secretary to Cabinet Deputy Head. Parents & Teachers Associations 70 Positive Discipline CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. Public Service/ Secretary for Administrative Reform All Permanent Secretaries All Resident District Commissioners All Chairmen.All Hon. District Local Councils Chairpersons.indd 70 3/4/2009 2:04:18 PM . District Local Council Education Committees Secretaries of Education. Members of Parliament Head.

Accessed on March 27. 2.uk/interregional_inequality/papers/Policy Brief 10 -Uganda.nsf/898586b1dc7b4043c1256a450044f3 31/6545c032cb57bff5c12571fc002e834d/$FILE/G0740771. 8. Available at: www. they specifically distinguish between corporal punishment and the legitimate role adults have in guiding children. World Report on Violence Against Children. Available at: http://www. Accessed on March 27. In 1997. the Committee on the Rights of the Child adopted General Comment No. which highlights the obligation of all states to prohibit corporal punishment.850 students enrolled in Primary 1 class. Furthermore. United Nation’s Study of Violence Against Children (2006). 2007. family reasons (15%) and sickness (12%).unhchr. 3.odi. As a result of the discussions during the United Nations General Assembly’s Special Session (UNGASS) in 2001.159. only 485. 2. these numbers suggest the retention rate of about 23%. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro. Raising Voices (2005). Available at: http://www.indd 71 3/4/2009 2:04:18 PM . Of these students.pdf. Violence Against Children: The Voices of Ugandan Children and Adults. Uganda (2006). when UPE (Universal Primary Education) was introduced in Uganda. Accessed on March 27. D. the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) appointed a special rapporteur (Paulo Sergio Pinheiro) to undertake a global study on violence against children. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child CRC/C/GC/8 2006 page 10.org. They reject the former as unacceptable and encourage the latter.703 completed Primary 7 class in 2003. In the 42nd session in June 2006. org. In paragraph two of that document they offer this definition of corporal punishment. Naker. Positive Discipline 71 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.ch/tbs/doc. 4. 2007. 2007. The majority of the students who dropped out stated “lack of interest” as their primary reason (46%). 2007.pdf. A multi-country study defining and measuring the extent of the problem was published in October 2006 from which this quotation was taken.violencestudy. While retention numbers are difficult to ascertain accurately. Accessed on March 27.Notes Notes 1. See further discussion of this in Overseas Development Institute: Universal Primary Education. Available at www.raisingvoices.org.

The Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children has collated useful.5. This concept is simplified and adapted from Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development. These ideas are also supported by the work of Heinz Kohut who held that an individual develops capabilities through empathic social relationships. comparative information about corporal punishment against children. 72 Positive Discipline CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. This emphasis on imagining better schools has been eloquently formulated by Rakesh Rajani of HakiElimu.org.indd 72 3/4/2009 2:04:18 PM .hakielimu. Accessed on March 27. 6.org.endcorporalpunishment. 2007. 7. which holds that each individual must navigate eight stages of social development to reach psychosocial maturity and that effective navigation depends on a supportive social environment. See www. Available at www.

Paulo Sergio Pinheiro. Positive Discipline 73 CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb. What is a Good School? Imagining beyond the limits of today to create a better tomorrow. 2007. (Included in this Toolkit) 2. Accessed on March 27.Recommended Reading Recommended Reading 1. D.org/images/0012/001211/121147e. United Nation’s study of violence against children (2006).org. raisingvoices. Raising Voices (2007).indd 73 3/4/2009 2:04:18 PM . World Report on Violence Against Children. violencestudy. 2007. Available at www. Chapter 4: Violence Against Children in Schools and Educational Settings may be of particular interest. Education for All.org.pdf. A Framework for Action in Sub-Saharan Africa: Education for African Renaissance in the Twenty-First Century. Naker. Available at http://unesdoc. 3. Available at www. unesco. Accessed on March 27.

indd 74 3/4/2009 2:04:18 PM .CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.

indd 75 3/4/2009 2:04:18 PM .CPHandbook_PAP_06Feb.

org www.org 9 789970 893102 CPHandBook_Titles_18March09. public officials implementing education policy and anyone who wants to get involved in creating good schools.indd 2 3/31/2009 4:25:32 PM . This handbook will guide you in thinking about alternatives to corporal punishment and how to put these alternatives into practice at the schools in your community. including headteachers. school governing committees. parents. Kamwokya P O Box 6770 Kampala. Uganda Tel: 256 41 4531186 email: info@raisingvoices. students. 16 Tufnell Drive. teachers.raisingvoices.This handbook is for anyone involved in designing or delivering education within schools.

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