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This research was done by student-teacher Patricia Buchanan & supervised by Claude Simpson
         On January 17, 2000, the researcher entered the grounds of an urban primary school to begin three months of third year teaching practice.  On entering the premises the researcher was immediately impressed with the cleanliness of the school’s environment. It is one, which is conducive to learning. The children had a large area to move about and the ground was asphalted from one corner to the other.
         The school is situated in the Central business district in the Kingston metropolitan area. Four garrison communities surround it. In the vicinity of the school, there are other schools, business places and churches. Portraits of national heroes are painted on the walls. There is a tuck shop, a canteen and an outlet where students may buy their stationery. The school is also one, which participates in the school's feeding program.
         The total number of pupils on roll was 1200 and 27 teachers. There are approximately 27 classrooms, some of which were small and crammed with pupils. The researcher was assigned to a Grade Five class, which had 49 pupils. In the fourth week the class was shared because of severe disciplinary problems experienced by another student teacher. This left the researcher with 25 students, 6 boys and 19 girls who were of mixed abilities.
         On the first day of teaching practice, the researcher was stunned at the appearance of the classroom. The children sat in two different directions so some of them had to strain their necks to look at the chalkboard. There was a book press beside the chalkboard that had books scattered all over the top. At the far end of the classroom there was a table stacked with all sorts of books but were in no particular order. The teacher’s table had another stack of books, and there was no tablecloth. A few charts were displayed in the Mathematics and Science corners but they were in a deplorable condition. In the center of the classroom there was a big carton box, which contained empty juice boxes, biscuit wrappers, patty bags and pencil shavings. The researcher knew then that a lot of work had to be done. The classroom was very small and had three to four students sitting in a bench. The classroom had no windows but instead decorated blocks at one side of the classroom. The classroom was inadequately ventilated but had sufficient lighting. The school’s playing area and netball court is just outside the researcher’s classroom, which often causes disruption of some lessons.
         The researcher found it real difficult to maintain order in the classroom because the students displayed a high level of indiscipline. Most students did not obey rules.
         The general subjects taught were Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Music, Religious Education and Art and Craft.
         Education is very important in the life of every child and teachers should have a positive influence on the interest, learning and social development of their students. Over the years, educators have recognized that children are from different experiential backgrounds. Since this is a fact teachers should prepare themselves to meet the needs of these children in the classroom. To cater for the needs of these varying groups of students may be a difficult task.
         Teachers experience difficulties to monitor accurately and understand what takes place in classrooms because life there is so complex and proceeds at such a rapid pace. Teachers play a significant role in the classroom and students will react according to the actions of their teachers. There has been a need for quality education and classroom management is an important aspect to consider in order to achieve this goal. Learning is easier and more pleasant when children are shown what to do rather than told not what to do. Careful and serious planning is of utmost importance to build the minds that are young and hungry for learning. However, if teachers plan and manage their classrooms well, quality education may be attained.
         It is possible that some of the poor academic performances of students in primary schools and some of the disciplinary problems that teachers encounter in the classroom are to a great extent the result of the method of instruction that is employed by the teacher.
         The “chalk and talk” method which is often used by teachers in presenting lessons, is a teacher centered approach and encourages very little active preparation by students. As a result pupils  become bored and engage in other activities in class, which can be very disruptive.
         There have been limitations in the subject-based curriculum and in spite of this, many teachers still continue to use it. The methods or strategies used in the presentation of some lessons are boring, unexciting and do not stimulate much interest. This results in disciplinary problems and sometimes little learning takes place. Teachers are often aware of much of their classroom behavior and consequently may act in inappropriate or self-defeating ways. Clark Hull of Yale University and his associates (1968) proposed that generally all behavior is dependent upon the needs of the individual and that learning depends upon whether the individuals needs are satisfied and tension thereby reduced.
         Parents play a very important role in the lives of their children because if they supply the needs of their children this will help to reduce behavioral problems in the classroom. Parent/teacher contacts are necessary for full understanding of a student by his teacher. Well-motivated classes are far less likely to present disciplinary problems.
         From experience in the researcher’s second year teaching practicum, punishment is being used in trying to control behavior. The researcher has observed instances of punishment such as flogging. The undesirable behavior seemed to stop but the researcher wondered if there might not be adverse effects to these forms of behavior management. Personal experiences have taught the researcher that the effects of punishment are not necessarily positive. These experiences have led the researcher to choose this topic, as it is believed that the learning environment should not be one of fear.0
         The use of punishment may be said to trigger problems that are directly related to drastic change in the punished persons’ behaviors. In observing these problems over a period of time, the researcher has investigated the use of punishment, its advantages, disadvantages and other strategies that teachers use in the classroom to control or attain desirable behavior.

The extent to which punishment is used along with other strategies to attain desirable behavior in an urban school.


1. Is punishment used in classrooms of urban schools?
2. What are the various forms of punishment used in the classrooms of urban schools?
3. What are the disadvantages of the methods used?
4. What are some alternative strategies that teachers use to control or attain desirable behavior?


The major significance of this study is to highlight the forms of punishment that are used in urban schools at the primary level. It will also show the impact that punishment has on teachers and students. Other strategies or techniques that teachers use to attain desirable behavior will also be highlighted.
         When the data is collected, it will serve to assist readers in taking a closer look at punishment, its effectiveness and other strategies that may be used to attain desirable behavior. This study will also be significant in that it will benefit teachers who have attempted to use punishment and other strategies to attain desirable behavior and have failed. It will give teachers a wider knowledge and deeper understanding of the successful use of punishment. This research was not intended to be of benefit to only teachers, but also student teachers and general caregivers including parents and guardians.
         It is anticipated that when the investigation is completed, many of the problems that can be identified with regards to punishment will be analyzed and solutions be made for future references. The information that will be presented by the findings from this research, will aim at presenting observable evidences and it is assumed that the beneficiaries will place the information into their own frames of references.

Punishment by definition “ is a procedure in which an aversive event or condition is presented immediately following a behavior, resulting in a reduction in the rate of that behavior.” ( Sulzer – Azaroff and Mayer, 1991 ).
Mowrer ( 1947, p. 136 ) defined punishment as “ a relatively sudden and painful increase of stimulation following the performance of some act, but neither the specification of the aversive stimulus in physical nor in subjective terms has led to precision.
Behavior according to the Little Oxford Dictionary is a way of conduct.  Behavior is what we do.  Behavior is reading, seeing, tasting, hearing, thinking, acting, hitting, studying and so on. 
Urban, according to the Little Oxford Dictionary, means of or living or situated in the city or town.
Strategies according to the Little Oxford Dictionary mean long-term plans or policies.

Desirable, according to the Little Oxford dictionary means worth having or doing.


1.          Due to the topic being researched, the researcher was unable to use detailed observation schedules because of time constraints.  The researcher was only able to observe at a glance.  For example, in the schoolyard or at devotion.  The researcher will use the information gathered from the questionnaires and interviews.
2.          Due to financial and time constraints, a larger sample was not possible.
3.          The sample was reduced from twelve to ten because two teachers did not return the questionnaires.  The researcher hopes that this will not have a bearing on the findings.


This study aims to find out the various forms of punishment that are being used in an urban primary school.  In doing so, the researcher will also find out the disadvantages of these forms of punishment that are used and describe other strategies that teachers use to control their class.  The key concepts therefore, that are identified, are :
1.          Forms of punishment
2.          Disadvantages of punishment
3.          Other strategies to control behavior.

Sulzer et al (1972), posits that punishment has many connotations,  “the definition selected here is designed to eliminate subjectivity.”  Sulzer (1972) commenting on the definition of punishment offered by Azrin and Holz (1966) describes it as “an operational definition.”

“Punishment is a procedure in which the presentation of a stimulus contingent upon a behavior reduces the rate with which the behavior is emitted…  Punishment is defined solely by its effect upon behavior.”  (1972, 168, emphasis added)

According to Sulzer, Azaroff and Mayer (1991 p. 595), punishment by definition “is a procedure in which an aversive event or condition is presented immediately following a behavior, resulting in a reduction in the rate of that behavior.” 
Mowrer (1947, p. 136) contends that punishment is a relatively sudden and painful increase of stimulation following the performance of some act’, but neither the specification of the aversive stimulus in physical nor in subjective terms has led to precision.  Behavior theorists Hull (1968, p.132) neglected the view of punishment.  He stated that during the period 1935 to 1955, the views that prevailed in most books that had writings and applied psychology was that punishment was an ineffective means of changing behavior and thus could be largely ignored as a method of social control.  Regardless of one’s view of punishment it was hardly realistic to dismiss it in this way.  As Azrin and Holz (1966) point out that punishment of at least one kind is unavoidable.

The review of literature will be presented under the following heading:
⦁          Forms of Punishment
⦁          Disadvantages of punishment
⦁          Other strategies to control behavior

Forms of Punishment:

Kerr and Nelson, (1989) have observed the following range of aversive stimuli as common forms of punishment: electric shock, slaps, pinches, spanking and giving substances that have unpleasant tastes and odors.  Kerr and Nelson (1989) further believe that the frequency with which such stimuli are abused have limited their application. 

Fontana (1985) further comments that punishment mainly takes the form of withholding rewards; absence of teacher attention, praise, and absence of encouragement.  Although the Ministry of Education expects each teacher to be responsible for what goes on in her classroom, the education policies do not support the free-for-all use of corporal punishment in schools.  However, it is stipulated in the Education Code of Regulations (1980), Article 30, paragraph 1 and 2 what disciplinary measures the principal is empowered to take against a student whose behavior is considered to be undesirable.  This move is necessary to protect students from irate teachers.   

In former days, corporal punishment was the most frequent if not the only method of control used by teachers.  Therefore, the strap, switch or cane featured prominently in the teaching and learning situation, as teachers soon came to rely solely on these instruments of control when faced with the usual large, unruly class.

Disadvantages of Punishment:

The effects of punishments are limited and specific.  A great body of evidence (reviewed in Bandura, 1969) shows that punishment can control behavior, but by itself it will not teach desirable behavior or even reduce the desire to misbehave.  Therefore, punishment is never a solution by itself;  it can only be part of a solution.  Bear in mind that punishment focuses attention on desirable behavior, and it tends to reduce work involvement and raise the level of tension in the room (Kounin, 1970).  Using it in response to one problem may contribute to causing several others.  Therefore, teachers who rely on punishment have more, not fewer, control problems.
Fontana (1985) posits that concrete punishment is not the most desirable method for controlling children’s behavior.  He lists the following points as reasons for this.
1.  ‘The effect of the kind of punishment  that is available to teachers tend to be  temporary [because] the behavior is only suppressed in the short term.’
2.          Punishment leads to evasive tactics by the child who learns to develop strategies for hiding responsibilities for unwanted behaviors such as lying.
3.          By punishing the child, the teacher attacks the friendly relationship that is being created with the child.
4.          During punishment, the teacher is likely drawing attention to bad behaviors.
5.          “Punishment… teaches the lesson that it is acceptable for the strong to make victims of the weak.”
6.          Fear of punishment will curb originality and creativity  (1985, 1986).

Other Strategies to Control Behavior:

Many teachers are unfamiliar with more constructive strategies and tend to use punishment because it is the only method they know to use to discipline a class.  Rust and Canard (1983) found that teachers’ use of corporal punishment correlated with their own experiences of corporal punishment when they went to school.  The teacher, who sets a goal of reducing undesirable behaviors, has a variety of alternative measures that are available to use.  He can use stimuli before the emission of the behavior or provide a consequence contingent upon the emission of the behavior.

Sulzer, Mayer and Azaroff (1991) have discussed alternative measures such as extinction, time out, response cost, and reinforcement.  Sulzer et al (1991) define extinction as a procedure in which behavior that has been previously reinforced is no longer reinforced, thus resulting in a reduction of the behavior.  “Time out is a procedure through which access to the sources of reinforcement are removed for a particular time period contingent upon the emission of a response.  Time out is similar to extinction, since it too involves non-reinforcement” (1991).

According to Sulzer, Azaroff and Mayer (1991), response cost refers to the contingent withdrawal of specified amounts of reinforcers.  Reinforcement may either be negative or positive.  Positive reinforcement refers to when a pleasant stimulus is presented following the response.  Negative reinforcement is given when an aversive (unpleasant) stimulus is removed following a response.


Design of the Study:

This research was done using the qualitative approach to do a survey.  A survey research is an attempt to collect data from members of a population in order to determine the current status of that population with respect to one or more variables.  It gives relevant and precise information on the study and how it was conducted.  The instruments that were used are interviews and questionnaires asking about the various forms of punishment used, their disadvantages and other behavior management procedures that are used.  The questionnaire consisted of fifteen questions and was chosen because it proved the most efficient way to collect the data.  The questionnaire also covered a wide range of questions, which was related to the topic of interest.


The population used for this research comprised of principal, teachers and pupils ranging from Grade One to Grade Six of an urban primary school in central Kingston.  Pupils were selected randomly and on a class basis so as to get views of pupils that were in different grades.  One pupil interviewed was purposely selected because of her involvement in a debate, which was related to the topic being researched.  The principal and pupils were interviewed at school during lunchtime and after school.  Questionnaires were given to  two teachers of each grade and collected by the researcher at later date.


The sample was all the classes in an urban primary school and twelve teachers who were randomly selected (two from each grade).  The principal was also part of the sample, as it was believed that the principal’s input would be of great significance to this study.  The sample consisted of twenty pupils, ten boys and ten girls.  The pupils were selected at random; five of them were from Grade Six and three from each of the other grades.  The ages of the pupils ranged between six and thirteen years. 

Method of Data Collection:

In order to obtain answers to the research questionnaires, the following instruments were used: questionnaires, interviews and observation.  The researcher went to the school where the study was being done and informed the principal about the study and showed her the cover letter and questionnaire.  Twelve teachers were chosen at random, two from each grade level and given a questionnaire to complete.  Each questionnaire had fifteen questions and was collected at the end of three weeks. 

The principal was interviewed after school and had to respond to six questions that were of closed form.  A total of twenty pupils were interviewed, ten boys and ten girls.  Five of the pupils were from Grade Six and three from each of the other grades.    The pupils’ interviews were conducted at lunchtime and after school during the twelve weeks practicum between January and March 2000.  Each pupil had to respond to ten questions.  The answers were recorded on a notepad and only one or two interviews were done each time.  The pupil who was involved in the debate totally disagrees with punishment.  The debate was read for the researcher and the researcher was also given a copy.

Observation formed an important part, as its aim was to note the type of punishment and other strategies that were administered to pupils.  A problem discovered was that of time constraint so the researcher was not able to conduct the observation sessions sufficiently.  The researcher was only able to observe general settings.  For example, at devotions and in the schoolyard and not as was scheduled.  The researcher, however, will use the information gathered from the observation, interviews and questionnaires.

Table 1

Status                    Number of Persons          Instruments Used

Principal                                        1                              Interview
Teacher                                                  12                    Questionnaires
Pupils                                                  20                              Interview

Table 1 gives information on the status of individuals who participated in the study, the number of persons and the instruments that were used.

Table 2
Student Population

Grade          Number of Pupils                              Instruments Used

  1                                                  3                                  Interview
  2                                         3                                  Interview
  3                                                  3                                  Interview
  4                                                  3                                  Interview
  5                                                  3                                  Interview
  6                                                  5                                Interview

Table 2 represents the sample of pupils used in the study from each grade and the instrument used.

Method of Data Analysis:

Data will be analyzed and placed in tallies, listings, and tables and in the form of a report.  Data will then be recorded as percentages.

For research question one, a tally will be used to record how many persons agree that punishment is used in urban primary schools.
In answering question 2 which asked, “What are the various forms of punishment used in classrooms?” the information will be listed, a tally will be done and the data will be recorded as percentages.

For research question three, “What are the disadvantages of the methods used?” the information will be presented in the form of a report.

In answering research question four, which asked, “What are some alternative strategies that teachers use to control or attain desirable
Table 3

Research **Interview ** Question to **          Interview with                    
Questions **  With Prin** Teachers            **          Pupils

  1                              1                    1,2                            1,2                                        /
  2                              2                3,13,14                    3                                        /
  3                              4                5,10,12                    4,6,7          
  4                              5                6,7,8,11,15          8,9A                                        /

The table above shows the correspondence of research questions to principal’s interview, teachers’ questionnaires, pupils’ interviews and observation. 
Based on the data given in table 3, an analysis was done.  Research question one will be analyzed based on responses given to item one from the principal’s interview, item one and two from teachers’ questionnaires, item one and two from pupils’ interviews and observation which will assist in answering the questions. 

Research question 2 will be analyzed based on information received from item two from principal’s interview, items three, thirteen and fourteen from teachers’ questionnaires, items three from pupils’ interviews and observation.

Research question three will be analyzed based on information received from item four from principal’s interview, items five, ten and twelve from teachers’ questionnaires and items four, six and seven from pupils’ interviews.

Research question four will be answered based on information received from item five from principal’s interview, items six, seven, eight, eleven and fifteen from teachers’ questionnaires, items eight and nine (A) from pupils’ interview and observation.


This chapter is concerned with the presentation of data collected from interviews with principal and pupils, questionnaires given to teachers and observation.
Principal’s Interview
In the interview with the principal, it was mentioned that the principal totally disagrees with punishment but in spite of that, the teachers still continue to use it in classrooms.  The principal said that various types of punishment were being used by the teachers which include flogging, pinching, kneeling on the floor, extra work, time out, writing lines and verbal punishment which has a whole lot of negative effects on pupils.

It was felt that some pupils were totally out of control sometimes and must be punished in order to perform the desirable behavior, but the type of punishment administered is very important.  The principal felt that punishment was the only method that some teachers use to maintain desirable behavior.  According to the principal, the main reason for not agreeing with punishment is because of some irate teachers and parents.  The principal bluntly stated that some teachers abuse pupils.  The principal also added that they go out of bounds with punishment and this has had long-term effects on pupils.  The principal remarked that the administration of the school has to operate in accordance with the regulations of the Ministry of Education in order to protect the teachers.  The principal mentioned an incident where a pupil was flogged and the parents made a report to the Ministry of Education.  The teacher was dismissed.  In support of the principal’s view, reference was drawn to a debating competition, which was related to the topic being researched.  In the debate, it was felt that punishment should be abolished.  The principal was very proud to say that the school had won.  When asked about the impact that punishment has on pupils, the principal remarked that “in every system there is always some advantages and disadvantages and some of the disadvantages that are often experienced include:
⦁          Withdrawn children
⦁          Pupils becoming aggressive towards peer
⦁          Pupils develop a fear for school
⦁          Pupils develop psychological problems
⦁          Low academic performance

The advantages that some teachers experience include:
⦁          Improved class control
⦁          Positive attitude towards schoolwork.

When asked what other strategies the teachers use to attain desired behavior, the principal gave a list, which include, social praises, tokens, stars and smiling faces.  The principal said that positive attitudes have developed from the strategies that have been used.  However, a minimal amount of pupils continue with undesired behavior.  The principal felt that punishment should be abolished because there are now enough methods for maintaining good classroom control.

Pupils’ Interviews
In the interviews with the pupils, they were able to say what punishment was.  They all agreed that punishment was used in their classrooms among which are:  writing lines, flogging, pinching, and taping the mouths, kneeling on the floor, verbal punishment and timeout.  Pupils’ views on punishment varied.  Some felt that punishment was important and was the only thing that could be used to maintain control in a class.  The pupils said that punishment should not be abolished.  Others expressed the views that punishment should be abolished.  When asked why, one pupil proudly stated that punishment could leave a scar on pupils.  When asked to explain, the pupil responded that children may become aggressive, become afraid of school, low academic performance, or may be left with bruises from the type of punishment received.  The boys were the main ones who felt that punishment should be abolished.  They said that their teachers always pick on them. 

Some of the pupils interviewed disclosed that whenever they were punished they would not participate in classroom activities and they felt resentment for their teachers.  They said that punishment made them behave more deviant.  Others expressed the views that punishment helped them to perform desirable behaviors.  When asked how, they said that they were afraid of being punished so they acted in accordance with classroom rules.  When asked if punishment was the only thing that teachers used to control their behavior, the pupils responded that stars, smiling faces and social praises were also used.  Some pupils believed that alternatives strategies can and do enhance learning.  The said that it motivates pupils because they usually try to demonstrate acceptable behaviors and perform well academically in order to gain stars, smiling faces and social praises. 


The researcher observed that punishment was used at the school under study.  Most of the observation was accidental and occurred in general settings rather than in classroom situations.  It was observed that some teachers used a mild form of punishment while others were more severe.  Some forms of punishment that the researcher observed were flogging, taping of the mouth, pinching, standing in the sun, kneeling on the floor, timeout and verbal punishment.  Alternative strategies were also observed among which are money, stars and social praises.

The following information is based on the questionnaires completed by teachers.

The table above represents information received from questions 1, 13, 14 and 15.  It indicates the number of persons who said YES or NO to a question or AGREE, STRONGLY AGREE, DISAGREE OR STRONGLY DISAGREE to a question.

Forms of Punishment Used**  #of Persons **    %

Physical Punishment                                        8                      80
Abusive Verbal Punishment                    4                        40
Extra Work                                                          8                      80
Lowering Academic Grades                    2                      20
Other                                                                    5                      50

The table above indicates the number and percentages of persons who use the different forms of punishment.

Forms of Alt. Strats. Used** # of Tchrs.**  Percentage
Timeout                                                                    10                    100
Token                                                                        5                                50
Premark Principle                                          2                                20
Social Praises                                                  10                               100
Reinforcers                                                              5                                50
Other                                                                        0                                  0

The table above indicates the number and percentages of teachers who use the forms of alternative strategies. 

Information received from the questionnaires indicated that teachers in urban schools use punishment in their classrooms.  All the teachers agree that the methods used had advantages and disadvantages.  The main advantage was that it produced positive results.  Some of the disadvantages indicated were:
⦁          Punishment becomes ineffective when overused.
⦁          It allows pupils to waste time and develop a fear for school
⦁          It allows pupils to miss lessons
⦁          It causes physical harm and pain

It was also indicated that punishment was used because of pupils’ disruptive behavior – stealing, lying, disobedience and failure to complete assignments.  Some teachers indicated that they felt guilty and uncomfortable when they administered punishment while others indicated that they felt justified.  All the questionnaires indicated that punishment should not be abolished. 

Interpretation and Analysis of Data

This section is concerned with the interpretation and analysis of data.  The data that was gathered from the principal’s interview, pupils’ interviews and teachers’ questionnaires and observation was used to interpret and analyze research questions.

Research Question 1
Is punishment used in classrooms of urban primary schools?
In the interview with the principal, she said that punishment was used in the classroom.  All the pupils and teachers who participated agreed that punishment was used in the classrooms of urban primary schools.  The researcher’s observation also supported the fact that punishment was used in classrooms of urban primary schools.

Research Question 2
What are the various forms of punishment used in the classrooms of urban primary schools?
The principal mentioned in the interview that the forms of punishment used in the classrooms were flogging, pinching, kneeling on the floor, extra work, timeout, writing lines, and verbal punishment.  Teachers and pupils were in agreement that these forms of punishment were used, however, taping the mouth and lowering of academic grades were added to the list.  The researcher also observed that pupils also stood in the sun as a form of punishment.  Of the teachers who participated, eight out of ten used physical punishment, four out of ten used abusive verbal punishment, eight out of ten used extra work, two out of ten used lowering of academic grades and five out of ten used other forms of punishment.

Research Question 3
What are the disadvantages of the forms of punishment used?
Information received from the principal’s interviews, pupils’ interviews and teachers’ questionnaires revealed that punishment has disadvantages.  The disadvantages revealed were:
⦁          Withdrawn children
⦁          Aggressiveness towards teachers and peers
⦁          Pupils develop a fear for school
⦁          Low academic performance
⦁          Pupils develop psychological problems
⦁          Punishment allows pupils to miss lessons and waste time
⦁          It causes physical harm and pain

Research Question 4
What are some alternative strategies that teachers use to control or attain desirable behavior?
The interviews with the principal and pupils revealed that the alternative strategies used in classrooms of urban primary schools are social praises, tokens, stars, and smiling faces.  The questionnaires indicated that the teachers used the above alternative strategies including timeout, premark principle and reinforcers.  Of all the teachers who participated, ten out of ten of them used  timeout; five out of ten used tokens, response cost and reinforcement.



It may be concluded that punishment is used in urban primary schools and there are many forms.  These include flogging, pinching, electric shocks, verbal punishment and the taping of the mouth.  While punishment is an effective method, there are limitations that may be considered when choosing a behavior modification procedure.

The effects of punishment are limited and specific.  A great body of evidence (reviewed in Bandura,1969) shows that punishment can control misbehavior, but by itself it will not teach desirable behavior or even reduce the desire to misbehave.  Thus punishment is never a solution by itself.  It can only be part of a solution.  There are other strategies that may be used as alternatives to punishment to attain desirable behavior.  These include extinction, timeout, response cost and reinforcement.

At the end of a study in a particular area, it is very important that recommendations be made in order that educators, principals, teachers and pupils may get a clear insight on whatever is suggested.  The recommendations may also help in planning.
This study, as it relates to educators, make them more aware of the forms of punishment, their effects and other behavior modification procedures that are used in urban primary schools.  With knowledge of this, educators will be better able to plan and make recommendations in regards to punishment. 

Principals must continue to encourage teachers to use alternative strategies in the classroom and if any punishment, in a mild form.  Principals must continue to encourage the teachers to make the learning experience fulfilling and fun for the pupils.

Most teachers use punishment at the primary level in one form or another.  The effectiveness of a punishment depends in part on the way the teacher presents it to the pupils.  Having done a study on punishment and other alternative strategies, the researcher strongly recommends that teachers use punishment as a last resort.  If punishment becomes necessary, it should be related to the offence.  Teachers should point out why pupils are being punished and what they must do to restore normal status. 

The need for punishment  should be stated in a quiet almost sorrowful voice in a manner that communicates a combination of deep concern and regret over the pupils’ behavior.  Teachers should also try to devote more time to find out pupils’ reasons for their disruptive behaviors.  Teachers are encouraged to utilize alternative strategies that will interest and motivate pupils in the classroom. 

Most, if not all pupils hate punishment.  The researcher recommends that pupils enter the classroom each day with positive attitudes and be obedient and respectful to teachers and peers.


Beaumont, Hazel et-al (1997).  Introduction to Educational Research

Hughes, A.G. & Hughes, E.H. (1959).  Learning and Teaching An Introduction                  to Psychology and Education

Kerr, Mary Margaret & Nelson, Michael, C. (1983).  Strategies for Managing Behavior Problems in the Classroom

Matalon, Barbara (1998).  Classroom and Behavior Management

Ministry of Education (1980). Education Code of Regulations

Sulzer, Beth & Mayer, Roy G. (1972).  Behavior Modification Procedure for School Personnel

Walters, Richard H. et-al (1972).  Punishment

Wolfang, C. & Glick-Allyn (1980).  Solving Discipline Problems


This study would not have been possible without the assistant and support from several individuals. I am especially indebted to my supervisor Mr. Claude Simpson (lecturer) without whose professional guidance I could not do without.

© Copyright 2014 Claude H. A. Simpson (teach600 at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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