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Whole Class Punisment

February 21 2006 at 4:40 PM
 

 
On another theme there is a reference to a whole class recieving the slipper.

What on earth did a whole class do to merit such a punishment?

Having been at school in the same time frame I never could understand teachers logics regarding punishment.

 
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Chipnpin

Re: Whole Class Punisment

February 21 2006, 5:00 PM 

Possible reasons for the punishment of an entire class:

1. The wretched offender did not admit to having committed the crime.

2. Unruly behaviour by an unsupervised class.

3. A Gang-bang.

 
 
Jack

Re: Whole Class Punisment

February 21 2006, 6:29 PM 

If its my post then as I recall ( its a long time back for a brain doner) it was because the class was noisy while waiting for a change of teacher between lessons.
" Mac" as he was called loved using his trusty worn smooth plimsol.
It would not surprise me if he had waited until the class got rowdy enough before appearing.
Rowdy in those days would have been quiet talking!
On the basis he whacked a whole mixed class of 14/15 year olds then it woould not be unreasonable to assume that he did similar in other classes.
It was also the practice of the sadistic PE teacher to whack the whole class ( boys only ) on most occassions. This was on any pretext and wait for it ( stand by for Lotta to moan) on some occasions bare!

 
 

Bob T

Re: Whole Class Punishment

February 21 2006, 7:08 PM 

I remember this happening to my 6th grade class (11-12 yrs). The offense happened the day before while I was absent. It was because all the boys stayed late after lunch playing baseball. In fairness to the boys, the school bell didn't ring like it always did when it was time to come in.

It was the first order of business the next morning. The bastard tried to include me in the bunch, but I wasn't going for it.  And the girls all backed me up, which was nice.

They all got 2 swats with the board bending over the teachers desk.


 
 
Alan R

Re: Whole Class Punishments

February 22 2006, 10:45 PM 

I can well remember during my first year at secondary school, our maths teacher giving the whole class (boys and girls) the belt, for being rowdy outside the classroom before the lesson started.

 
 
Batfinch

Briarwood

February 23 2006, 8:06 AM 

I picked this theme as one of my Briarwood stories that some of you may have read featured a whole class being caned. A subsequent story tells that the culprit was not even in the class.

I must admit I felt when I wrote it that it was an unlikely event but may be I was wrong.

I went to an all boys school where must boys were caned sometime during their time at the school.

Batfinch

 
 
Overdeveloped right arm

Re: Briarwood

February 23 2006, 10:43 AM 

Alan R, when you say you all got the belt boys and girls. Was it on the hand or backside?

 
 
Lotta Nonsense

Re: Briarwood

February 23 2006, 6:24 PM 

And were you clothed or naked?

And did any of you have to perform sexual services for the teacher afterward?

 
 

Whole class punishments

March 10 2006, 10:50 PM 

In my time at school whole class punishments were not unusual. The most common reason was the class being noisy when the teacher returned to the classroom and those responsible refusing to own up, as a result the whole class was punished. A few times it was because the entire class had failed a test, happened in music, maths and French.

We were taken out to the front of the classroom one row at a time and had to stand in a line. The teacher would take his belt from his desk drawer, or pull it down from under his jacket, and order us to stand in a line. The pupil at the front of the queue would hold out his hand and be strapped, on to the next pupil and continuing until the whole class, boys and girls, had been punished. Usually we got one stroke each, but twice it was one on each hand with a thick leather 2 tail school belt. All such events happened in S1, S2 and S3.

It was pretty sore and often unfair as many of the pupils had done nothing wrong.

 
 
j

double standards in using violence

March 12 2006, 6:03 PM 

if that sick logic was followed in to its conclusion surely the teachers should have been hit by the schol principal and the principal by the town mayor...and so on up the line? Can i ask what time in history roughly this was happening ? did nobody object and what happened if you refused the assault on you person?

 
 

Whole Cass CP

July 9 2010, 4:21 PM 

This happened often.I got caught in this a few times.

Teachers who did this lost all respect from the class.

They were either nuts or took sexual pleasure from such behaviour.

There were even instances of 2 Tawsing Teachers getting involved. One starting at left side of the line and the other at the right crossing over so that everyone got it on each hand from each of them.

The hatered for those Teachers was deep.

 
 
American Way

Re: Whole Class Punisment

July 21 2010, 5:25 PM 

By their lugubrious expressions they look like they are more than being sent to the blackboard to do an assignment. The great and famous athlete Jim Thorpe (Native American) came from this school. I'm sure many be aware of him even in the UK.

http://www.peterpappas.com/docs/lesson11/11-16.htm

 
 
Christopher

The Whole Gym Class was Slipper-ed

July 29 2010, 4:56 PM 

The whole gym class of about 25 boys age 12 was slipper-ed in the gym by the p.e. teacher, What caused it, the teacher was late and 20 boys broke the rule and went into the gym for a play around, But five of us obeyed the rules and stayed in the changeing room. When the teacher arrived he was not pleased!.

He called the class to order and sentenced them to line up for 2 of the slipper (through pe shorts) Then he called us out of the changing room and told us to join the end of the line, Then the punishment started, each boy was called and told to "touch his toes" for 2 hard whacks of the slipper, In a silent gym the slipper when it hit made a loud blam sound which made the boys in the line up nervous, The boys who were not in the gym was slipper-ed as well, my eyes were moist after the punishment.

That teacher did like to slipper boys as we all found out

 
 
prof.n

Re: Whole Class Punisment

July 29 2010, 9:51 PM 

Very interesting post Christopher,

It shows clearly injustice in a blatant way. Whilst it is fine to argue the boys shouldn't have been messing around in the gym, clearly the five who were not should never have been punished. At least in my days that's what publications like the little red school book did do . Make you aware that whilst there are rules, you are not there to be treated in any manner a teacher likes.


If students are accountable : then so are the staff.


In my experience we had more problems of that ilk with PE staff than anyone else. I suspect it was because their gym was their domain in their eyes. Many I also guess felt inadequate in the academic environs of the rest of the school.

When we ask the question why bullying was rampant in the system , we should not forget that staff , as well as kids, can and do bully.

 
 
Christopher

Prof.n

July 29 2010, 11:47 PM 

Thank you for your comments Prof., The P.E teacher did "like" to slipper boys of the 12 year old age group or so it seemed then, most of the times he would crack the slipper down as in real punishment for last one in the gym or who he said was last in the gym or last one to get changed at the end of the lesson, though at times he would have "fun" slipper-rings as crack the slipper down and stop it just before it hit and give a light tap.
But he did go in for "mass" slipper-rings a number of times in the gym guilty or innocent we all had to touch our toes in turn in a line up. One thing he would often do is get the boys to take off his own plimsol to be slippered with it, Though the boys would try not to do so at times we all did cry at times, Also we noticed at times the slipper got harder as he went down the line, or so it seemed

What I have wrote above does seem to have happened lots of times in schools

 
 
Michael

The P.E Teacher said Sorry

July 30 2010, 2:19 AM 

In ref. to the posts of Christopher and Prof. We were in the first year Now called Year Seven of school and again we were age about twelve, A new PE teacher had just started and I think two boys did see how far they could go. The teacher said all the set (fifteen boys) would get three of the slipper each, we did say it was not fair? But we all went into the gym, took one of out slippers off and lined up, in turn we went up handed him the slipper and was told to touch your toes for what was to us three stingers that hurt that much we all cried.

At the end of the punishment the teacher looked shocked that all the boys were crying, Our little buttocks were throbbing with the sting of being slippered, After we had calmed down and recovered after ten min's or so he said he was very sorry that the three smacks with our slippers had hurt that much, After the lesson when we had changed he again said that he was sorry and did not think the slipper would sting that much that we cried, He could see when we went in for a shower we all had a pink outline of the slipper across our buttocks. He did say as a boy he was slippered himself at our age.

We all did think it was good of him to say sorry.

 
 
Jenny

Re: Whole Class Punishment

July 30 2010, 3:37 AM 

Hi prof.n

It shows clearly injustice in a blatant way. Whilst it is fine to argue the boys shouldn't have been messing around in the gym, clearly the five who were not should never have been punished.

From reports both here and elsewhere, it seems whole class punishments (or half-class in the case of most mixed sex schools) were not all that uncommon. In the case of the only one I was involved in, administered by the PE mistress standing in for our English teacher, we were all messing about in class so none of us was slippered unfairly - but it could easily have happened.

There was a similar thing in the video clip posted by Dr Dominum here where one boy, of a group of four offenders (two boys and two girls), uttered a profanity but half the group were caned for it. (No prizes for guessing which half.) It would have been interesting to see if the boys would have been caned if one of the girls had uttered that profanity instead.

It was abuses such as these that strengthened the case against SCP.

In my experience we had more problems of that ilk with PE staff than anyone else. I suspect it was because their gym was their domain in their eyes. Many I also guess felt inadequate in the academic environs of the rest of the school.

PE teachers did seem to have something of a reputation for being "slipper happy." In other lessons, forgetting or failing to do homework most often resulted in an instruction to "bring it in tomorrow". Minor misbehaviour in class would usually, initially, elicit an simple warning - often just the pupil's name being spoken by the teacher. In PE, forgetting (admittedly sometimes intentionally) gym kit or misbehaving in any way usually meant an immediate meeting with the slipper.



 
 
Stephen

Whole Class Punisment

July 30 2010, 7:22 AM 

We had a whole class slippering over our shorts for taking a short cut on a cross country run.We had to line up and touch our toes and make our bottoms readily available to receive our punishment.The loud crack of the plimsoll echoed in the gymnasium and a total of 36 boys received a very hard slippering.We were not allowed to straighten up until the last boy received his punishment and then we were allowes to rub our bottoms.It was a very painful,but as our teacher explained a well deserved punishment.

 
 
hcj

Re: Whole Class Punisment

July 30 2010, 9:29 AM 

In my experience we had more problems of that ilk with PE staff than anyone else. I suspect it was because their gym was their domain in their eyes. Many I also guess felt inadequate in the academic environs of the rest of the school. (prof n.)

PE teachers did seem to have something of a reputation for being "slipper happy."(Jenny)

Far be it from me to defend bullying PE teachers, but the purpose of these lessons was not just about physical fitness but learning self discipline, team playing and, to some degree, personal presentation and hygiene.

I believe immediate correction for stepping out of line may have had a useful part to play here. And as Voltaire might have put it, the dramatic effect served "to encourage the others".

 
 
Stephen

Whole Class Punisment

July 30 2010, 9:58 AM 

I don't think our punishment was justified for taking a short cut which saved us running nearly two miles in cold rain in our vest and shorts.The slippering was far worse than the two miles we saved by taking the short cut.

 
 
hcj

Re: Whole Class Punisment

July 30 2010, 4:01 PM 

I don't think our punishment was justified for taking a short cut which saved us running nearly two miles in cold rain in our vest and shorts.

But Stephen, you disobeyed an instruction to run the full course, which showed you lacked self-discipline when you weren't being directly supervised. That is why you were slippered - and the whole point was that it was intended to be worse than running the two miles. It taught you a lesson to obey instructions and I suspect you did so after that.

 
 
Ben Howard

Re: Whole Class Punisment

July 30 2010, 4:28 PM 

Sorry Stephen, i have to agree with hcj, that getting the slipper for taking a short cut on a run was deserved as left to your own devices you showed that you could not be trusted. Had i done that at my school it could well have been a good six with the slipper as i found out a time or two myself when i paid the price for other misdemeanors

 
 

Re: Whole Class Punisment

July 30 2010, 4:40 PM 

I agree with hcj. The whole point of the slippering was to give you an experience worse than the one you had avoided. I think the punishment was fully justified. How many did you get? If it was six apiece (as it should have been in my opinion) it must have been a herculean effort on the part of the teacher.

Alan S

 
 
Stephen

Whole Class Punisment

July 30 2010, 6:04 PM 

It did teach me a lesson,because it was more painful suffering a severe slippering over my thin shorts rather than run the full course.I thought the slippering was unfair and also made to run seven miles.

 
 
Beanokid

Re: Whole Class Punisment

July 30 2010, 8:29 PM 

It never happened at my school, so far as I know, but a friend of mine who went to a school where there was a lot more CP said he'd been caned as part of a group punishment. I think someone had drawn an obscene picture on the blackboard, and the teacher decided that if the culprit wouldn't come forward, he would cane the whole class. Everyone got two on the hand: the teacher set the class some work, and then walked from desk to desk, whacking each boy in turn. The teacher told each boy to hold out his non writing hand. My friend claimed to be able to write just as well with either hand, and the teacher said it was up to him which one he held out, but suggested it should be the left. This has always seemed horribly cold-blooded to me. Not only was this man going to inflict pain on my friend for something he almost certainly hadn't done, but he was having a calm, polite conversation about it before hand.

What about slippering or caning the whole class when no-one has done anything wrong? There's a scene in a film called "The Long Day Closes" (about growing up in Liverpool in the 40s) in which a new teacher gives a whole class one stroke of the cane on the hand "just to show them whose boss". And I have heard stories of old fashioned public schools where everyone gets the cane on the first or last day of term. (I met a fellow at college who claimed that his mother had smacked him with a slipper once a month for all the naughty things he'd done that month which she didn't know about!) I wonder what effect this kind of thing has? I think it was meant to increase the deterrence value of the cane -- once you knew how much it hurt, you would go out of your way to avoid it. But I think it probably had the opposite effect: half the terror of the cane at my school was that only a very few people had received it, so it seemed terrible, mysterious and disgraceful to us good kids. If we'd had a couple of whacks early in our school careers, either as part of a group punishment, or for nothing at all, a lot of the shame and awesomeness would have gone away.

What were the logistics of slippering a whole class? Did all the victims form a queue at the front of the class, or were you called to the front one at a time, or did your all bend over in a row like the Bash Street Kids.

 
 

StevefromSE5

Re: Whole Class Punisment

July 30 2010, 9:02 PM 

Anyone caning an entire class just to show who's the boss was in the wrong place.

Wormwood Scrubs on Rule 47 would be a better place.

Those who punished an entire class, guilty or otherwise, or when no-one would confess? Know what the Nazis did when their Governor of Bohemia, Reinhard Heydreich, was assassinated by partisans?

Simply went out and massacred the entire village of Lidice, I believe?

One was of course a crime against humanity, but then maybe that sort of teacher was, too.



Steve

 
 
Ean_Brand

First Time for The Slipper as Well

July 30 2010, 9:18 PM 

I was then in 2A at Junior school in 1985 and I was then 9 yrs old and like most of the other boys in the class had never had the slipper. We were being taken by a student teacher, I guess now was between 19-22 years of age, About 3 boys did play the young teacher up a bit!. I think our normal class teacher did tell him to do this, He the student teacher, told us that all the boys would get two of the slipper each to teach us a lesson.

We were called out one at a time, He called me out and I was nervous as I went to the student teacher holding the plimsoll and was ordered to touch my toes which I did at once, he pulled up the end of my blazer and the plimsoll made a loud whap sound at hit my bottom and the sting had no problem getting through my short school trousers a few seconds the second whap hit even louder and my bottom hum-dinged with the sting, he said punishment over, up you get Ean, Well I jumped up and danced and both my hands were rubbing my bottom as I went back to the desk.

All the other boys did more or less the same thing,

 
 
MM

Reply to Benokid

July 30 2010, 11:29 PM 

What were the logistics of slippering a whole class? Did all the victims form a queue at the front of the class, or were you called to the front one at a time, or did your all bend over in a row like the Bash Street Kids.

In the mass or group slipperings I took part in in primary and secondary school

In classroom it was mostly called out one at a time, but when such slipperings were done in the school hall or the gym etc we queued up, In ref, to bash street kids! The closest I came to that was on a school trip where the whole dorm of 8 boys had to bend over the end of their bed while an adult came round and slippered us.

 
 
prof.n

Re: Whole Class Punisment

July 31 2010, 1:07 AM 

Hi Jenny ,

You say :-

There was a similar thing in the video clip posted by Dr Dominum here where one boy, of a group of four offenders (two boys and two girls), uttered a profanity but half the group were caned for it. (No prizes for guessing which half.) It would have been interesting to see if the boys would have been caned if one of the girls had uttered that profanity instead.

It was abuses such as these that strengthened the case against SCP.


Yes I couldn't agree more. Unfair treatment was largely in my mind to blame for public opinion swinging against corporal punishment in Britain. I've said before that I feel the first nail in the coffin was placed by those Heads in Scotland who determined that parents would have no ethical /moral opt out, a system which had applied in parts the States satisfactorily for most of the last century.

Of course the Heads response both in Scotland and England was 'I'm the King of the castle'. Perhaps understandable ( we don't want pesky parents telling us what to do ) , but rather socially and legally unsophisticated. In state schools Heads have a responsibility to the wider community , these institutions are funded by all ( taxation) for those whom we determine should attend.They are a public good. That changes the essence of the nature and extend of public responsibility and accountability. I think this was never properly understood after the post war education act. Universities had , and still have the same problem of failing to see themselves as properly accountable ..


Of course in the private sector you vote with your wallet.


The Australian clip is fascinating. One point I didn't pick up at the time ( apart from the excellent direction with the high level 'out of bounds shot', was that the girls report the boys as getting six apiece yet the scene shows one boy getting one. Politically significant I suggest , especially when combined with the piece of political propaganda inn the recent NSW document posted by Mrs. BB, which indicated(point 8 ) 'one' stroke is normally enough? Do you think this would be followed? Do you think most heads ( and I make no judgment on the sense or otherwise of that regulation) would have the slightest intention of following that ?

'A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down ' comes to mind !

Hi HCJ

You say

Far be it from me to defend bullying PE teachers, but the purpose of these lessons was not just about physical fitness but learning self discipline, team playing and, to some degree, personal presentation and hygiene.

I believe immediate correction for stepping out of line may have had a useful part to play here. And as Voltaire might have put it, the dramatic effect served "to encourage the others".


I don't have a problem with immediate correction . Rather what I was getting at was Christopher's comment that :

But five of us obeyed the rules and stayed in the changing room. When the teacher arrived he was not pleased!.

He called the class to order and sentenced them to line up for 2 of the slipper (through pe shorts) Then he called us out of the changing room and told us to join the end of the line, ....


and later

he did go in for "mass" slipper-rings a number of times in the gym guilty or innocent we all had to touch our toes in turn in a line up.

It seems to me that to punish the innocent in any circumstance is suspect. When this happens on a quasi regular basis this cannot even be defended on balance of probabilities. There are occasionally be very difficult, serious circumstances where the guilty will not own up, and all are implicated given the nature of the offence and either a wall of silence , or culpability by standing by and doing nothing.For example this quote from Another Lurker, in October last year , gives two examples :

And prof.n said:

Let me remind you of how 'good' we really were. Remember the new Latin Master whom we reduced to a nervous wreck and who left. Well after his breakdown through our 'circus' that morning , I fully expected every one of us to be caned in the afternoon. But our deputy head ( in charge of conduct and academic progress) who you state was so 'predictable' , 'predictably' perhaps , did nothing. We were read the riot Act by the Head of Department.

I've a similar thing on my conscience, except ours was a new music master, and it only took one 40 minute period, after which he was never seen again. We didn't even get read the riot act. I think the view of the school was that if he couldn't hack it with us he stood no chance with some of the less academic forms and therefore shouldn't have been there.




However , here we are not talking , proma facie, of that . Rather it seems to me we are discussing an unhealthy penchant to slipper as many boys as possible regardless of justice, natural or otherwise!

On a routine basis , however, to me this seems to undermine the basis of legitimate punishment. Moreover , of course, if you punish the lot regularly, there are no 'les autres' left to 'encourager' happy.gif !!!

 
 
Jenny

Re: Whole Class Punisment

July 31 2010, 2:36 AM 

Hi prof.n


The Australian clip is fascinating. One point I didn't pick up at the time ( apart from the excellent direction with the high level 'out of bounds shot', was that the girls report the boys as getting six apiece yet the scene shows one boy getting one. Politically significant I suggest , especially when combined with the piece of political propaganda inn the recent NSW document posted by Mrs. BB, which indicated(point 8 ) 'one' stroke is normally enough? Do you think this would be followed? Do you think most heads ( and I make no judgment on the sense or otherwise of that regulation) would have the slightest intention of following that ?

I picked up on what the girls said at the time. It appeared the Hennessy got one stroke for uttering the profanity (fair enough) but what the girls said later implied both boys got 6 for cheating as well as the detentions. Dr Dominum disagreed, and he could well be right. Perhaps the facts were meant to be uncertain for some political reason.

As for Heads. following guidelines, some probably would but, in general the "King of the Castle" doesn't take orders from anyone.


 
 
Carter

Re: Whole Class Punisment

July 31 2010, 6:26 AM 

I trained as a teacher in 2001 - so not that long ago. During my training we were specifically taught that in modern schools, if more than half of your class was misbehaving, the whole class should be punished. This was to avoid accusations of discrimination and unfairness(!). If you only had a small group misbehaving you could reasonably say that you were sure that they were the only ones misbehaving and so punish them alone - but if it was most of your class, and anybody complained about being unfairly punished (or that somebody else wasn't punished who deserved to be) there was no way you could say for certain that that wasn't true (even if you thought you could). You'd be committing career suicide by picking and choosing in those cases. You were legally safe and safe in terms of your job as well by punishing the whole class on the grounds that most of it was misbehaving.

I'm not saying this is right, but it is what we were taught. We're not talking about corporal punishment - like the rest of my course, the lecturer completely ignored the existence of private schools - but any form that might be used.

In my last teaching job (before my current one) - we're talking 2008 when I finished there, that school had that as policy. It also had a policy that if you gave a student a lunchtime detention which was meant to be the most common form of punishment, you had to make sure that you had at least two kids on detention, because of the principle that a teacher should never be alone with a student. So if I gave a kid a lunchtime detention, I then had to look for another kid to give one to. Whether they deserved it or not - I had to have at least two. If only one kid was misbehaving, I had to either let it go without any sort of formal punishment, give them a more serious afterschool detention (which I would then have to explain if their year coordinator (rightly) thought that was too serious, and which were also monitored to look for teachers who were giving too many on the principle that teachers who punished too often were automatically bad teachers), or hope somebody else would do something to deserve it too. Otherwise I had to pick a sacrificial lamb from the last class before lunchtime. I didn't like doing that but I did it. The alternative was classes that knew minor misbehaviour would be ignored.

Remember, teachers don't always have free reign. A lot of the time stupid policies imposed from above can be to blame for what they are doing.

 
 
Mathew

Whole Class or Group Punishment

July 31 2010, 7:59 AM 

When I was age 11 and in 4th form in Junior school about 15 of us boys volunteered , yes volunteered to get the the slipper from the headmaster at break time, What happened we were playing football and the ball went over the fence onto the the road, 3 of the boys opened the school gate egged on a few boys and went onto the road to get the ball, That was a megga offence then and think it still is now, They got caught by the playground teacher and sent them to the head to get the slipper. We all felt guilty for some reason and thought we deserved to be slippered as well. We went to the school hall just in time to see the head getting ready to slipper the 3 boys, We explained why we were there and was told to line up.

We saw and heard the plimsoll crack down 4 times on the 3 boys, Then the head came to us and said since we volunteered we could change our minds? none of us wanted to seem to be a chicken to the rest, so we were lined up. The head said next, the boy went up and was told to touch his toes, and the slipper cracked down 4 times, I was near the end of the line. When next was my turn I went up and I was told to touch my toes and the slipper cracked down on me

When I told dad at home he said we all deserved it and I had to bend over at home, but dad only gave me 4 taps with a bedroom slipper

 
 
prof.n

Re: Whole Class Punisment

July 31 2010, 10:45 AM 

Hi Carter,

Many thanks for an interesting post , which highlights exactly the differences between Britain and Australia in this regard.

A very few years earlier to your teacher training, I was appointed Pro Vice Chancellor in a British university with one of the largest teacher training faculties in the UK.My academic responsibilities included a watching remit over my 'share' of faculties , including education . During my tenure, that faculty underwent a complete re accreditation exercise, something undertaken periodically, which involves in depth scrutiny of courses, syllabus provision , practices, outcomes etc etc.

As part of that we had to arrange for a visiting party including experts in all areas of our provision. I recall that on this particular party were two educational psychologists, one a University Professor, the other a practitioner.

At the time , for political reasons ( and I can't fault you on your analysis of political imperatives vis a vis teaching practice), most scrutiny was directed at at classroom practice , the then government's current 'bee in its bonnet'.

For my sins , given the Dean of Faculty was responsible for the presentations of the University case, I chaired most of the proceedings. I remember a very animated discussion between faculty members and the visiting party over not whole class punishments , but so called group or , more pejoratively, mass punishments.( Actually I'm being a little cavalier : the word punishment itself was something of a no no, but I don't see why we need always to go for politically correct synonyms !).

The visiting party argued that punishment is a last resort, and where a large number of students are involved in any form of misbehavior , there is a clear lack of learning in some respect. Correction should be to address this lack, not to act punitively. Both psychologists were particularly insistent on this point. They felt the existing syllabus lacked a full appreciation of the importance of the overseers 'gaze' which you may be familiar with in its various sociological formulations based on the 'Panopticon' approach . As my academic area includes modern continental social theory , I had to hold my tongue. Their reading of Foucault was truly ' Anglicized' (!) and wide of the mark.

The official report spoke of the need to ensure positive discipline and learning reinforcement was the central focus of practical discipline, and the necessity to avoid at all costs any ' blanket' or broad brush sanctions in the teaching situation, bad behavior needed to be pinpointed to the perpetrators. general classroom discipline was a skill encapsulated in the reinforcement elements of pedagogy.

This agenda still is central to much British teacher education today . You might wish to draw some cause and effect. I couldn't possibly comment !!!happy.gif

Incidentally, when I get the time , I intend to explore the concurrent position in US education in a posting more appropriately on the TWP thread, which may interest you .

 
 
Stephen

Whole Class Punisment

July 31 2010, 12:04 PM 

In reply to BeanoKid.We had to line up in the gym wearing just our satin shorts and touch our toes.The thin covering gave us very little protection when we each received six strokes of the slipper.Our bottoms had a red glow similar to our red shiny shorts.

 
 
prof.n

Re: Whole Class Punisment

July 31 2010, 6:40 PM 

Hi Beanokid,

I missed your posting earlier. Sorry I would have commented before.

Again a fascinating insight into the short sightedness and narrow mindedness of many of the erstwhile teaching profession.

As I said above , there are some , a very few serious cases where group punishment might be the only answer, but they are very very few and far between,

One thing teachers should be aware of is that unlike the dark ages schools are not run as prison camps. They exist to a great extent on the implicit if passive acceptance of the status quo by all parties.Part of that implicit social contract is a notion of fairness. Now by the 70's legitimacy had become quite an explicit concept in the vanguard of student thinking. Steve ans I have both in different ways illustrated this in out own experience, but it was also seen on a much wider scale .

Certainly by the 70's 'because I say so' was NOT an acceptable reason for obeying authority . Authority has two vectors, 'rights' both of the instructor and the students, and 'responsibilities' again on both parties. If this balance is broken the essence of legitimacy disappears and we are left with a simple power struggle.

I have little doubt that if the teacher quoted in your friends case had tried that on in my school there would have been a mass walk out. For something as trivial as that he would not have been able to cane a whole class. Well I can only instance one comparable event. I have mentioned before that our Head decided to make the OTC (Officer corps) which had been voluntary for many years compulsory. Governors were initially in favor the proposal, but a substantial group of quite powerful parents were against it . The students were strongly opposed, even those who were voluntary members of the organization. This was during the Vietnam conflict and passions ran high .

The opponents called a walk out from the school at the time the Army Commander was to arrive to discuss the issue with the Head and chairman of governors. The Head foolishly, in assembly threatened to cane any boy who left his class. In the event over 600 did so , including his Head boy, Deputy and most of the Prefecture. The head was , of course , completely impotent . Indeed the escalation of the matter due to his threat meant that there was much more local news interest than otherwise, publicity a fee paying school abhors.

From that point on his legitimacy in the school was seriously undermined. Although he carried on for several more years he was holed below the water line. One ,might say hoist with his own petard. This was the start of a long slow process of attrition which eventually undermined his leadership.

Teaching has to be about legitimacy and consent . Indeed discipline works in extremis, not because of fear or loathing , but only because of reasoned consent . If not it becomes a caricature like Dotheboys Hall. Its all to be found in Machiavelli !!! You can't fool all of the people all of the time .

 
 
hcj

Re: Whole Class Punisment

July 31 2010, 7:55 PM 

Certainly by the 70's 'because I say so' was NOT an acceptable reason for obeying authority .

But prof n., if everyone took this attitude how would you run an army - or, for that matter, a plc? In some relationships there has to be authority. I accept that person has to work to establish trust, but having done so, those under his care should not argue every point or want to express an opposite view.

I would hope those working with the doctors caring for you last year did what they were told, rather than going the way they thought better.

It is through failures of such discipline that disasters happen.

 
 

StevefromSE5

Re: Whole Class Punisment

July 31 2010, 8:47 PM 

HCJ

That's an admirable set of common sense guidelines.

Unfortunately, it looks as if Prof & I both suffered from Heads with Napoleon syndrome-delusions of empire-building grandeur. Both also seemed incapable of communicating their goals and strategies to pupils and therefore engaging them in the future.

I believed then & still do that an effective leader engages YOU, the mere pupil/peasant/groundling/poor bloody infantry, to work WITH them. Moody, as I've posted elsewhere recently here, never had uncertainty in his make-up, and certainly too often ignored sensible advice from senior Masters.

Though why he thought winding up the PTA AND the Governors into the bargain defies logical analysis even now.

The year after I left, it was ME who was button-holed by a Governor at my local, wanting to know whether Moody kept secret files on them like the ones I'd "liberated" from his cabinets & published in our underground school magazine(everyone knew it was me, but I had an alibi!). That's how untrustworthy he'd become.

Of course, I had to tell the Governor, I'd not been looking for them, so I couldn't possibly say if he had such things, for sure. Talk about sow 1,000 acres more of doubt, eh!!!!????

I have to add, I subsequently DIDN'T think it was dignified for the Governor, a Rear-Admiral RN Retd. AND Warden Of Rochester Bridge(which latter post simply allowed you to drive cattle across the Bridge for free, rather than have first choice of the local virgins!) to resort to burglary, as it MIGHT be said I had. I also didn't want the old boy marching to Moody's office & demanding a sight of the files.

So, I sent him the copies of files on him & fellow governors I'd made a year or so before. After all, I'd only said I couldn't possibly say if he had such things, NOT that he'd never had them!wink.gifwink.gifwink.gifhappy.gif

Steve

 
 
prof.n

Re: Whole Class Punisment

August 1 2010, 1:17 AM 

Hi HCJ,

You say :

I accept that person has to work to establish trust, but having done so, those under his care should not argue every point or want to express an opposite view.

Well that would go for my fist headmaster at public school. He left us to become one of the truly great educators and innovators of his era.He has time for every boy, he tried to be approachable , which isn't easy with boys from 8 to 18, and he led by quiet determined example.

But as Steve puts it so aptly his replacement , chosen to 'put backbone into the school' . We both

suffered from Heads with Napoleon syndrome-delusions of empire-building grandeur. Both also seemed incapable of communicating their goals and strategies to pupils and therefore engaging them in the future.


This man had no intention of being approachable . He barked orders and expected complete obedience. Once I emerged from my 'shell' I fought him every inch of the way. I'll give people respect when they earn it . But to me position does not in and of itself merit blind obedience. Equally I've never expected people to follow my orders blindly. Management is about inspiration and working together towards agreed goals, its about mutual respect not awe or fear. This guy believed in fear.

But he also was indecisive when challenged . There was a completely apocryphal tale which circulates around the old boys. When the school council was established , against his better judgment. It came to be dominated by three of us with a common political agenda. It is joked that when he saw the three of us approaching his office he used to hide in his private loo! As I say apocryphal, but with a purpose.

A barker of orders yes, but a leader no.

Oh and just for completeness you say :

I would hope those working with the doctors caring for you last year did what they were told, rather than going the way they thought better

Those working WITH the doctors may have done so : but the doctors themselves ( three consultants) fought like ferrets in a bag over who was running the show and who gave what treatment and when. I'm afraid I had to do quite a bit of reminding 'My body : my life: my decision'

so much for teamwork

Together
Each
Achieves
More


As for my head well in the sixth form we used to think this as his appropriate theme song

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5K2OZUgGqkw

We sang it at the school concert in his honour.....strangely , for some unknown reason, this is what the staff THOUGHT they were going to get

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8fJIzY1d6U


Funny what happens when two songs have roughly the same title : one from California, one from Austin ......happy.gifhappy.gifhappy.gif

though it would not have been with quite that quality of guitar work (from the incomparable Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen , taken off the album 'Hot licks ,Cold Steel and Truckers Favorites ' ........)

 
 
Carter

Re: Whole Class Punisment

August 1 2010, 2:03 AM 

Hello Prof. N.

While I'm sure there are differences between teaching in the UK and Australia, what I wrote might be giving you a false impression. Most of what you said there is pretty similar to here. 90% of my teaching course was pretty similar to what you are saying here - never use punishment, punishment is a last resort, it's a sign you've failed to control the class, there are better ways to handle misbehaviour than punishment, misbehaviour is nearly always the teachers fault for not making the class interesting.

But the last 10% involved lecturers who were actually experienced teachers and who were trying to teach us the practicalities of teaching, not just particular theories. That's the part where we got the advice on using whole class punishments. They were quite open about the fact that what they were teaching us didn't match the rest of the course, but they said that they were trying to give us the realistic tactics we needed to teach, rather than just the theory.

Once I started teaching, the same thing applied really - the people in charge of the school - the Principal and other people who hadn't been in a classroom in twenty years all took the line that bad behaviour was a sign of a bad teacher, and that punishment should be avoided. But those teachers still teaching used it when they felt it was needed - and by doing so, managed to use it as little as possible. You don't avoid using it a lot by trying to never use it at all. You avoid using it a lot by using it quickly and decisively before a small problem becomes a big one.

The biggest imperative as far as school management was concerned was to avoid parents making complaints. Good kids rarely told their parents if they were unfairly punished as part of a group, and even if they did, because good kids normally have good parents, they were unlikely to complain at the drop of a hat. Bad kids who perceived even the slightest trace of injustice, real or not, would be straight home complaining to parents who'd be straight up to the school to yell at the school for 'picking on my Jake all the time.'

It is an incredible luxury to be teaching in a school where you're expected to maintain discipline, with punishment if necessary, and where parents are nearly all open to the idea that maybe sometimes their kid isn't the one in the right, and only make complaints if they really think something is genuinely wrong, and when they do are seeking conciliation and a resolution, rather than just wanting to beat up the teacher.

 
 
Nelly from Lochgelly

Whole Class Punishment

August 6 2010, 8:57 AM 

The practice of belting an entire class was not uncommon in Scotland, although the extent of it varied widely school to school. It was usually brought about as a result of the teacher being absent from the classroom for a short period and, on his/her return, hearing substantial noise emanating from the class, or general disruption being apparent. When those responsible were asked to own up no one did and so the whole class, boys and girls, were belted as a punishment. Often the pupils would be called out to the front of the class one row at a time, belted and then returned to their seats. The next row would follow and so on until the entire class had been punished. Sometimes the teacher would have the class remain seated while he walked up and down the rows between the desks strapping pupil's hands as they were held out for punishment. Other reasons for "whole class beltings" included an inability to sing together in unison, poor general levels of attainment in class tests and failure to bring textbooks or homework. It could seldom be said to be a fair punishment as it was most unlikely that all pupils present were guilty of the offence in question. One or two strokes per pupil given on the outstretched hands was the normal punishment, but up to six strokes each was not unheard of. The belt used was usually a Lochgelly tawse. Class sizes were generally in the range 20 to 35 so quite a bit of work was involved in strapping the lot of them!

 
 
Jenny

Whole Class Punishment

August 6 2010, 3:07 PM 

Hi Nelly from Lochgelly

The practice of belting an entire class was not uncommon in Scotland, although the extent of it varied widely school to school. It was usually brought about as a result of the teacher being absent from the classroom for a short period and, on his/her return, hearing substantial noise emanating from the class, or general disruption being apparent.

.....Class sizes were generally in the range 20 to 35 so quite a bit of work was involved in strapping the lot of them!

Not very efficient really. If the teacher leaves room for 5(?) minutes and the class becomes a bit rowdy, that's five minutes of no work being done. If the teacher then belts/slippers/canes the entire class, that's probably about about 20 - 30 minutes (or longer) of disruption depending on the method employed.


 
 
Nelly from Lochgelly

Whole Class Punishment

August 6 2010, 4:25 PM 

You're correct, of course, but perhaps it misses the point slightly! There was little worse in the staffroom than having a reputation for being unable to control a class and it didn't go down well with the head. A lesson had to be given that noise or disruption would not be tolerated and, in general, classes did not repeat the uproar the next time that teacher left the room, although with some classes a lookout was posted at the door to listen out for approaching footsteps.

An efficient teacher could strap a row of 6 pupils in 10 seconda as long as they cooperated in having their hands held out quickly ready to take the belt. More time was spent in having the row of pupils shuffle out to the front to receive their punishment and shuffle back to their desks to sit and nurse their hot and stinging hands.

I don't recall a single "whole class belting" that took more than 5 minutes to administer. Back then pupils respected the authority of the teacher and would not question his decision to use the belt. They came forward to be strapped like lambs to the slaughter.

 
 
Jenny

Re: Whole Class Punishment

August 6 2010, 10:35 PM 

Hi Nelly from Lochgelly

An efficient teacher could strap a row of 6 pupils in 10 seconda as long as they cooperated in having their hands held out quickly ready to take the belt. More time was spent in having the row of pupils shuffle out to the front to receive their punishment and shuffle back to their desks to sit and nurse their hot and stinging hands.

Ah, Scots efficiency. happy.gif That's pretty good going. I suppose it is a lot quicker to belt a line of hands than to get each child, individually, to bend over and be given six with the slipper. In my only whole class slippering, it took most of what remained of the lesson time, after the teacher arrived, for us all to be slippered and that's what I based my estimate of 20 - 30 minutes on. As you say, more time was spent getting, in our case, small groups out to the front to be slippered and six with a slipper take longer to deliver than one or two with the belt.

I don't recall a single "whole class belting" that took more than 5 minutes to administer. Back then pupils respected the authority of the teacher and would not question his decision to use the belt. They came forward to be strapped like lambs to the slaughter.

We were the same. None of us questioned the teacher's right to punish us - we just went forward, took our punishments and went back to our desks.


 
 
Nelly from Lochgelly

Whole class punishment

August 7 2010, 12:34 PM 

I understand that in England there was a practice of using "the slipper", usually a gym shoe, as a means of administering a less severe form of corporal punishment. This was not a feature of the disciplinary regime in Scotland's schools. A few private schools in Scotland, who followed an essentially English curriculum, did use the cane as well as the tawse, and on the odd occasion in many schools, both private and local authority, a teacher would use a ruler, or such like, to administer punishment but, for the overwhelming majority of schools in Scotland, the leather tawse was the one and only instrument of punishment. Unlike the situation in a number of English schools, the Scottish pupil was not normally sent to the Headmaster or another senior member of staff to be punished, nor did he or she normally have to go the school office or another member of staff to borrow an instrument to be punished with. In Scotland virtually every teacher had their own belt ready in their desk drawer, or in their briefcase, or slipped over their shoulder under their jacket, ready to administer instant justice. The speed with which punishment was administered was rapid indeed. "You boy, not paying attention, come out here!" As the pupil made his way to the front of the class the teacher would open his desk drawer and remove his belt and give his command. "Get your hands up!" The pupil faced his teacher, stretched out his arms and placed one hand, palm uppermost, on top of the other. The teacher swung his belt up and over his shoulder before bringing it down hard up the length of the pupil's hand. There would be a reaction and then "Again!" The hands would be raised again, usually with the other hand being placed on top. Again the belt would swing, the class would clearly hear the loud crack of leather striking palm as the tails made contact. "Back to your desk!" The pupil would walk back up the aisle and slump down in his seat, sullen faced and with two hands throbbing with extreme pain. The teacher would return his belt to his desk drawer and the lesson would recommence. Total time taken? Probably less than 30 seconds. Remarkable in its efficiency and effectiveness, and no paperwork required!

 
 
KK

The good accept injustice?

August 8 2010, 8:22 PM 

On 1 August Carter wrote (in part):

The biggest imperative as far as school management was concerned was to avoid parents making complaints. Good kids rarely told their parents if they were unfairly punished as part of a group, and even if they did, because good kids normally have good parents, they were unlikely to complain at the drop of a hat. Bad kids who perceived even the slightest trace of injustice, real or not, would be straight home complaining to parents who'd be straight up to the school to yell at the school for 'picking on my Jake all the time.'


I like to think I was a good kid with good parents when I was at school. I did not get into trouble of my own making very often.

I and my brothers quickly learned is was no good complaining to our parents about perceived injustice at school, such as whole class punishments. They immediately sided with the teacher explaining they must have had cause, or how difficult the teachers task was, or that the unfair punishment probably balanced some unpunished real offence. This did not mean we did not feel aggrieved. I grew up understanding the world was not fair.

In those days schools, parents, other relatives, neighbours, sports and social organizations, and all authorities petty and great were allied to keep kids on the right path. The allies presented a united front.

 
 
Jenny

The Slipper

August 9 2010, 6:44 PM 

Hi Nelly from Lochgelly

I understand that in England there was a practice of using "the slipper", usually a gym shoe, as a means of administering a less severe form of corporal punishment. This was not a feature of the disciplinary regime in Scotland's schools.

I'm not so sure about a less "severe" form of CP but certainly less "serious". I'm not sure if you've seen my previous posts on this subject so, to clarify, I don't treat "serious" and "severe" as synonymous. The slipper can hurt a lot and the cane does not, necessarily, hurt more than the slipper. The slipper can be just as severe as the cane. The difference, as I see it, is that the slipper was an "everyday" punishment whereas the cane was only used by headteachers and was reserved for especially naughty girls (and boys). That made it a more "serious" punishment.

This "two tier" system had some advantages that appear to be absent from the Scottish system. In England, minor, everyday, misbehaviour could be dealt with by any teacher with his/her slipper. Serious matters were dealt with by the Head. with his/her cane. That represented a significant "step up". It wasn't just a matter of "Oh well, here we go again", it was more a "Oh [dear], I'm really in for it now"sad.gif The different implement was significant. In Scotland, it was always the belt regardless of the seriousness of the offence. Being sent to the Head. might be seen as a bit of a "step up"; the Head. might use a heavier, more painful, tawse - but it was still a tawse, the same type of thing you might get from the teacher for talking in class. That, in my opinion, would lessen its psychological impact and blur the line between minor and serious misbehaviour.

Dr Dominum has said that, in Australia, when he was at school, they didn't have the slipper either. Caning on the bare was used instead to distinguish serious offences from more minor ones. In Scotland, as the belt was always applied to the bare (I presume) hand, that distinction wasn't possible.

Did Scottish schools have some method of distinguishing between punishments for serious and minor misbehaviour or was misbehaviour simply misbehaviour?


 
 
hcj

Re: Whole Class Punisment

August 9 2010, 8:14 PM 

The slipper can hurt a lot and the cane does not, necessarily, hurt more than the slipper.

Although I am familiar with Jenny's sincerely held opinion, I have to say that she is the only person I have ever found to have this view.

Perhaps others would tell us how they would compare the experience of the two implements.

 
 
Jenny

Re: Whole Class Punisment

August 9 2010, 8:41 PM 

Hi hcj

The slipper can hurt a lot and the cane does not, necessarily, hurt more than the slipper.


Although I am familiar with Jenny's sincerely held opinion, I have to say that she is the only person I have ever found to have this view.


The operative word is "necessarily". Try it yourself. wink.gif Smack a slipper down on your hand as hard as you possibly can. When it's recovered, gently tap your hand with a cane. Which hurt the more?

My statement is based on a comparison between some of the slipperings I received (particularly from the games mistress) and the caning I received following a "boob flashing" incident. That particular caning was very mild - it was just a token really. I've described the incident a few times and one account of it is here.

I accept it's the exception rather than the rule. My fellow miscreants in that incident might be the only people in the World who can agree with my statement from personal experience.

The other point is that, as I got the cane, I saw it as a serious punishment despite its not being a severe one.


 
 
Nelly from Lochgelly

Jenny

August 9 2010, 8:51 PM 

Thank you for that interesting and thoughtful piece. I can see what you are saying and the position in Scotland was a bit different from your experiences down south.

Although Scottish teachers' straps were available with differing degrees of severity. most teachers' owned and used a single strap. A very few had two straps and, if they did, might use the lighter one for girls and the heavier one for boys, or the lighter one for less serious offences and the heavier one for more serious ones.

When buying a strap at the commencement of their teaching career, many teachers considered the age group of the pupils they would be teaching and purchased a tawse appropriate in severity for that age group. Some teachers. of course, could lay the belt harder than others and almost reduce a pupil to tears with a single stroke. Others were less efficient. The Lochgelly 24" 2 tail heavy school strap was the model most often used in Scotland's schools and it featured an elongated handle so that the teacher could grip the belt at any point along the length the handle as he administered it, increasing or decreasing its effective length and with it the severity of the stroke that would be administered. Then there was the question of how many strokes were appropriate for the offence concerned. The teacher could decide on anything from a single stroke up to six strokes. Finally, he could decide exactly how hard he would aply the belt to the outstretched hands. With all these variables the teacher had all he or she required to administer an appropriate punishment from little more than a tap to something severe in the extreme so he could effectively deal with all manner of offences.

The sending of pupils to another teacher, or to the Headmaster, to be punished did happen, but it was fairly rare. The view was that it was the responsibility of the classroom teacher to control, and if required to discipline, his class not the duty of someone else. Sending pupils to another member of staff could be seen as an inability to cope and the process used up the valuable time of someone else. When it did happen it was sometimes because that particular class teacher did not have a strap, or did not believe in using one. Sometimes a pupil was sent to the Headmaster to be belted so that an example could be made of him or because he had refused to take the belt from his classroom teacher, or he had done something truly wicked. However, not all Head's supported their class teachers in matters concerning CP so this technique would only work if the Head in question was one who believed that a visit to him by a pupil was not something the pupil would ever want to happen to him again.

There was also a feeling in Scottish educational circles that punishing the buttocks, even when covered with outdoor clothing, was somehow inappropriate, an embarrasment. especially if girls were present, and not part of Scottish education. Punishment on the clothed buttocks was banned back in the late 1950's after which only the hands could be chastised and then only with a leather strap.

I can only say that the system worked. There was variation in the level of punishment according to the deed and the class teacher was respected, and sometimes feared, as a figure of authority including in matters concerning punishment.

I hope this explains the Scottish position, but I remain very interested in the position in England where it seems the cane was used less often and by fewer members of staff. Were there not times when some pupils regarded the slipper as a bit of a joke, or did it always hurt badly? Did pupils sometimes play up in front of their classmates as they were being punished? It just doesn't seem to be the sort of instrument that could come near to equalling the tawse in its effectiveness and as a result did the same pupils get slippered time and time again?

 
 

StevefromSE5

Re: Whole Class Punisment

August 9 2010, 10:31 PM 

NELLY

There was also detention down this way. When I started at Grammar in 1963, this was on a Saturday morning & meant uniform had to be worn, too.

At MGS, about six masters used the slipper(or metal ruler/piece of wood if you were the Woodwork teacher!)when I started & none were using it by the time I left in 1970. I didn't regard the size 11/12 firm-soled plimsolls in use as a joke & I only got the one 1-stroke(?)job from the aforesaid Woodwork master-and a bash on the head with the bit of wood, which broke the bloody wood, too!

I can't say any of this acted as a deterrent to me. But detention struck me as a serious inconvenience until they shifted it in the 3rd year to Tuesday & Thursday nights, the former being Returned Work Detention for dullards or copiers of another's homework(trust me to pick the wrong one in my Maths set to crib from!).

The latter was punitive detention(i.e. polishing classroom brass doorknobs etc.) & that was for misdemeanours. As with you, only serious stuff meant a visit to the Head, including smoking, the one time I got caned.

Would your Form Teacher have dealt with some of that sort of thing, or were teachers using the tawse confined to belting for offences committed under their own tender tutelage, as it were?

And, pardon another question, but am I right in thinking that most of Scotland was enthusiastically belting away virtually right up to Judgement Day in 1987? Or do you think it was dropping off well before then?


Steve

 
 

Re: Whole Class Punisment

August 9 2010, 11:38 PM 


Hi Nellie , Jenny,HCJ

I think that the psychological situation of the individual has a lot to do with how punishments are perceived. In my mind there is no doubt that the worst experience I ever had , including six of the best from my Headmaster, was six strokes of a John Dick Tawse given by my primary school Headmistress.

The incident was described HERE

In this case I am sure my experience and memory is colored by the fact that the teacher was really angry. contrast that with other situations in which the atmosphere was matter of fact and low key ( possibly because it was recognized I was hyperactive ). Secondly I didn't like and was already 'apprehensive ' of this teacher, the others who punished me were people I liked and/or respected. Finally every other time I admit I deserved the punishment, or at least saw the reason for it . In this case I was sure it was wrong and unjust.

So it may not be the punishment alone that determines memory , but the events and perceptions surrounding it .

As to the 1968 recommendations . Lyn , my S.O. was a Scottish teacher in both state and private sectors before the respective abolition , and did use the tawse. she recalls that the agreement was signed by the EIS and then ignored by their members, especially the clause that insisted that the belt could not be used to punish academic failure in the classroom . She wouldn't use it for that, she knew many who did.

She wrote some while ago on Dr. Dominums Yahoo site a recollection of when she was a young relatively inexperienced teacher , putting herself in a situation where she was forced to belt a student , when she felt it was inappropriate . I have reproduced it before with her permission , but link it HERE It reminds us perhaps, that not all teachers were always happy at their tasks

My view ?

I admire that generation of Scottish students, but thanked my lucky stars I wasn't born in and educated in Scotland!



 
 
Jenny

The Slipper

August 10 2010, 3:43 AM 

Hi Nelly from Lochgelly

It's very remiss of me but I don't believe I welcomed you to this estimable Forum. Belated though it be, Welcome!

Thank you for that interesting and thoughtful piece. I can see what you are saying and the position in Scotland was a bit different from your experiences down south.

Thank You! Your posts have been very informative and a joy to read.

With all these variables the teacher had all he or she required to administer an appropriate punishment from little more than a tap to something severe in the extreme so he could effectively deal with all manner of offences.

The same can be done with the slipper or cane of course but, to me, the cane represented a serious punishment. It's probably due to our different experiences and the fact that, in England, during my schooldays, the cane tended to only be used by senior staff like Headteachers and their deputies. That made it more awesome than "just" the slipper. Clearly, the system in the two countries differed considerably but, as you say, the Scottish system worked.

There was also a feeling in Scottish educational circles that punishing the buttocks, even when covered with outdoor clothing, was somehow inappropriate, an embarrasment. especially if girls were present, and not part of Scottish education.

I thought it might have had something to do with boys possibly wearing kilts. I was married in Scotland and my husband wore a kilt for our wedding. Given the thickness of the material, especially the pleats at the back, I doubt anything would be effective through that.

I hope this explains the Scottish position, but I remain very interested in the position in England where it seems the cane was used less often and by fewer members of staff.

You've explained the Scottish system very well, thank you. I hope I can do as well in explaining the English system - at least as far as I experienced it. Unlike Scotland, practices varied considerably in different areas of England so it's not possible to describe "the English system".

Were there not times when some pupils regarded the slipper as a bit of a joke, or did it always hurt badly?


In some ways the slipper could, sometimes, be seen as a bit of a joke but, even then, it sent a very strong message that our behaviour was not acceptable. Most of the slipperings I received or saw given were relatively mild affairs. That's not to say they didn't sting, they did, but they didn't leave you sore for very long. At the other end of the scale, the slipper could be very painful.

Did pupils sometimes play up in front of their classmates as they were being punished? It just doesn't seem to be the sort of instrument that could come near to equalling the tawse in its effectiveness and as a result did the same pupils get slippered time and time again?

I've never had the tawse so I'm not in a position to compare it with the slipper but I've had both the slipper and cane across my hand. The cane was extremely painful across my hand. The slipper stung my hand a lot but not as bad as the cane. It's very difficult to describe pain so, if you want to know how the slipper compares with the tawse, you'll have to try it for yourself. Bear in mind we're talking about a plimsoll here, not a soft-soled carpet slipper.

As for effectiveness, it was very effective short term but probably not so much long term. There were quite a few regular recipients (my being one. sad.gif ) but I wouldn't say that meant it was ineffective. In some ways I saw it as setting a boundary or as a (possible) price to pay for doing something against the rules rather than a serious punishment. To give an example, I took to using a short cut which was out of bounds knowing that, sooner or later, I'd probably get the slipper for doing so. In that respect, it became a "toll path" - the toll being the slipper which I was prepared to pay. What actually happened was that I just got "told off" (quite a lot of times) for it so, in my eyes, the "toll" was very reasonable. happy.gif (As a "punishment", a "telling off" usually is a joke!) Eventually, after being caught by the same teacher three or four days running, I got the cane. Even though the caning was not particularly severe, it was definitely a punishment rather than a simple toll so caused me to take the longer, correct, route in the future.


 
 
Nelly from Lochgelly

Steve.

August 10 2010, 10:51 AM 

Thanks for your interesting piece on detentions. We had them in Scotland too but there were issues if the teacher wanted to get away or if the pupil had a paper round. Many pupils preferred to take the belt.

You ask about teachers administering punishment to pupils not in their class. In many schools some teachers would have their belts with them in the corridors. When outside the classroom and on duty it was was usual for teachers to carry their belts held looped in one hand, or to have it slipped over their shoulder under their jacket.

Some teachers would be on "corridor patrol". Their function was to supervise behaviour in the corridors when classes were changing rooms, or at break times or at the start and end of the school day. They would be on the lookout for offences such as "running in the corridor", "going the wrong way up or down stairs", pushing and shoving, excessive noise, rowdy behaviour etc. When they came across any such offences the pupil/s would be stopped, the belt produced, hands held up and the punishment administered on the spot, often in front of other pupils passing by. There were also "toilet patrols" set to check toilets for misbehaving pupils or smokers. Again they were belted on the spot. Some schools had "playground patrols" where punishment was administered for fighting, hitting windows with a football, boys being found in the girls playground etc. In these cases pupils were either belted in the playground or taken inside the school and belted there. "Belting the lates" was a common practice in many schools. The school entrance doors would be closed at 8.50am and any pupils arriving after that time would be detained just inside the school, boys near the boys entrance, girls at the girls entrance. At about 9.00am a male teacher would come along to the boys entrance and a female teacher to the girls entrance, line up the latecomers and work their way down the row belting each in turm. Seldom was an excuse accepted. Did anyone experience this at English schools, or was Scotland stricter on punishment than England was?

 
 
Nelly from Lochgelly

Steve

August 10 2010, 11:07 AM 

I see you asked another question about the ending of school CP in Scotland. In primary schools it was phased out from the mid 1970's and in secondary's from around 1982. Different local authority areas set different dates, Glasgow was the first and Edinburgh one of the last. Some saw that abolition would be coming and thought that they should end CP ahead of the required date which was August 1987 in local authority schools. In other areas there was a desire to retain the sanction for as long as possible as teachers feared a complete breakdown of discipline it the belt was withdrawn. Pupils attending schools in the 1970's and 1980's had been used to a culture of being belted when they transgressed and teachers who did not use the belt at that time were often seen as "soft" and some pupils would play on that. More detentions, lines, punishment excercises and exclusions seemed the only option. All had their drawbacks. In most of Scotlands schools the regular use of the belt continued well into the early 1980's with reducing use in 1986 and 1987 as attempts were made in some schools to phase its withdrawal. However, in many schools its use did not end until the end of June 1987 when the schools broke up for the summer holidays. By the time they came back in August the ban was in place. I would be interested to learn of the position in England.

 
 
Nelly from Lochgelly

Jenny

August 10 2010, 11:41 AM 

Thanks for your very interesting piece, and for your welcome. Glad I found this fascinating forum. Firstly the use of both the slipper (why do you call it that if it is a gymshoe"?) and the cane. I can see the message that is sent if a pupil has to attend the headmaster to be caned, all rubber legs and knot in stomach during the journey and a sore bottom on the way back! I can offer information on the Scottish education system and all aspects of the tawse but am less well informed about the position in England. Interesting you should say that there was variation. In Scotland there was variation too, from school to school and from teacher to teacher. Headmasters could wield much influence, some saw the tawse as the last option and discouraged their staff from using it unless absolutely necessary, while others encouraged their staff to use the belt for even the smallest of offences and would back them up by having a reputation of giving a very severe thrashing to any pupil that a teacher should have to send to him for punishment. Teachers too varied. I have known some who used it perhaps only a few times a week and others for whom using it 10 times in a 40 minute period (there were 8 periods in the day) would not be unusual.

My understanding is that there were possibly 3 major suppliers of canes to English schools, two based in London and one in the north, and a number of small producers. School canes could vary in both length and thickness with stouter models intended for older pupils. Ironmongers often supplied canes although most were supplied direct from the makers. Bamboo was less suitable as it was inflexible and could easily split during use. Rattan was much preferred as it was solid yet flexible and, I believe, very effective. I wonder how the proportion of straight canes used varied from those with a crook handle? I have never seen nor felt the cane so I depend on the views of the experienced! In some areas of England the leather school strap was used instead of, or as well as,the cane, particularly in the north and midlands. The main school strap supplier there was Cliffe of Walsall who produced a 22" 3 tail strap in black or brown leather with a unique handle design almost resembling a cane. There was also Marshall of Manchester who supplied a strap not unlike that of McRostie of Glasgow in design but made from somewhat lighter leather. John Dick from Lochgelly in Fife supplied his famous and much more severe Scottish school straps to some English teachers as far south as London. I know a few ex pupils who were strapped with a "Lochgelly" when at school in England and all comment on what a very painful instrument it is, even when compared to the cane.

 
 

StevefromSE5

Re: Whole Class Punisment

August 10 2010, 3:34 PM 

NELLY


Thanks-that's some very elucidating answers.

To look first at the situation down here in the run-up to 1987, I was always pretty clued up about MGS. So, the figure of 25 canings across the whole school in my time there that I posted some while ago here still strikes me as accurate.

However, let's assume I was not quite as street-wise in my first two years and exactly that number again slipped under my radar. That's still a mere 50 canings in 7 years. Average 7.14 a year and I think that was, for a school of c 750-775 eligible canees(VIth form excluded)about par for the course for the time, giving you a less than 1% chance of touching your toes in any given year.

Most of my contemporaries, male or female, at the local tech or secondaries, were probably far more likely to receive in-class slipperings than us, but trips for them to the Head for caning per capita were only slightly higher than us. I'm having to recall conversations over 40 years ago, but I'd suspect the figures were an average of 15-18 canings a year from 600 pupils, so that's still only a 3% chance of getting caned.

Incidentally, all the secondary moderns were mixed, and only some caned girls as well. Again, a rough guess, boys got it about 3 times as much as girls at such places, so Jenny would have had around the same chance as me at MGS.happy.gif

Even in those days, there were a few inner-city schools where the on-duty Master or Masters due to supervise dinner-time or its' aftermath always carried a cane(London) or strap(Manchester & some parts of Liverpool)for the dispensation of instant justice. Whether they had Raiders Of The Loo Ark, I can't be sure, but at MGS rooting out the smokers therein was left to praefects, always assuming of course that the praefects didn't get there first for a Woodie!

I'd long thought CP at school had virtually died out by 1980, but the longer I've been on the forum, the clearer it's become that it in fact returned to, or even exceeded, 1950's levels up to 1977-78. This was mainly for boys, girls generally starting to fall out of the loop, but not entirely.

By around 1982/3, levels had dropped drastically & the casual/regular canings were starting to become legend and folk-lore. Most schools seemed to be reserving caning purely for the anti-social or deliberate rule-flouters. At which point, political and social pressures started to enter the fray and we first started to hear about the rights of the child.

And, Nelly, regarding lateness-there was simply a space reserved for them at the back of morning assembly. They filed in with the Catholics, Jews, Dissenters & other religions.

The only people asking questions might be your form Master, so the simple thing was to seek him out straight after assembly & before first lesson and apologise for your missing registration. As long as you either accepted responsibility for getting up late or didn't invent a patently stupid reason such as leaves on the line at Surbiton(in another county!), you were OK.

An alternative strategy for avoiding assembly and the hated HM was to be there for registration. Then wander upstairs, down the back corridor where Chemistry & Physics labs were located & then on to the top of the staircase above the main entrance to the school.

Once you heard the distinctive tread below this point of the Lower School Head, "Frog" Newcombe making his way to the Junior(1st & 2nd years) Hall for assembly, you knew Moody was making HIS co-ordinated way down the stone cloister to the Main Hall for main assembly. Never failed.

And then, you were free to retire to the toilets with your Number 6, or Embassy on flusher days, and to read your Daily Mirror in peace.

Happy Days!



Steve

 
 
prof.n

numbers caned

August 10 2010, 6:35 PM 

Hi Steve,

just a quick note. Mean culpa, I must have missed your post when you estimated the numbers caned in MGS over your years. It certainly shows the difference with our place. First I suppose having four house master, a deputy head, and the Head ' licensed to cane' meant there were likely to be more canings. We had just over 1,000 boys in those days , and I never totaled it up exactly , ( although the old boys have researched the punishment books) but it well exceeded your totals. On some days , several boys, especially for missing detention or smoking ....well 7 a week might be somewhat nearer , but still bit low , sometimes more , many more! I would have said (guesstimate) over five years ( excluding the sixth form where different rules applied) you must have had had a far better than even chance of being caned.

Most people I know ( except the no cane 'A;' stream until my upper fifth year ) were caned once , a few regularly . Of course when you run boarding , and therefore are around 24/7 there is a lot more opportunity...........and more meaning to 'in loco parentis'

But then at our place the cane wasn't reserved for heinous offenses , but was a mid range penalty , as I found to my cost! General attitude indeed!!!

I'll ask around and try to get a better feel for the numbers involved.

'When they said repent .....I wonder what they meant???' (Leonard Cohen : The Future)

 
 
Nelly from Lochgelly

Steve

August 10 2010, 6:46 PM 

Thank you for your very enlightening piece.

I know we can't base our conclusions on the basis of one example, but your experiences appear to confirm what I have long believed, namely that the cane was used far less in England than the tawse was in Scotland. Lateness, for example, was usually punished with the tawse in Scotland while your lot apparently got off Scot free, if you'll excuse the pun. Not fair at all!

In Scotland the use of the tawse varied according to the school in question, the decade under consideration, the catchment area of the school, the view of individual teachers and the Headmaster. Less academic pupils were generally strapped considerably more than those in A and B streams. The peak years for receiving the strap were from Primary 5 to Secondary 3. It was also used outwith these year groups, but usually less so. With boys, the year group most belted was age 14 and, perhaps strangely, with girls it was age 15. In general girls behaved better and applied themselves more to their work, but as they matured they could talk back and give the teacher cheek. As a result they were strapped less often. Boys worked less hard, broke more school rules, tended to fight and make a noise,swear, were disruptive and could show acts of bravado in front of girls in a class. As a result they were belted much more often. The worst example I know of involved a boy who was strapped 9 times in a single period lesson. Very few boys got through school without being belted and about 25% of them were routinely belted several times in an average week.

I recall during our school holidays going doen south to visit my uncle near London. I went to the school of my cousin in Coulsdon to wait for him coming out. Pupils poured out of the school, sauntered about and made their way home, but there was no sign of my cousin. Eventually 6 boys appeared, my cousin amongst them, all rubbing their hands and with terse expressions on their faces. Apparently they had all been sent to the Headmaster when the school closed in order to be caned. The delay had been due to the time it took to gather them all together, time for the lecture and the punishment that followed. I think they were each given a total of 4 strokes on their hands, and I can't remember what it for, but I wonder whether the practice of punishing in this way was regarded as normal or was it unusual?

 
 

Another_Lurker

"Belting the lates"

August 10 2010, 8:35 PM 

Hi Nelly from Lochgelly. You said above:

"Belting the lates" was a common practice in many schools. The school entrance doors would be closed at 8.50am and any pupils arriving after that time would be detained just inside the school, boys near the boys entrance, girls at the girls entrance. At about 9.00am a male teacher would come along to the boys entrance and a female teacher to the girls entrance, line up the latecomers and work their way down the row belting each in turm. Seldom was an excuse accepted.

That brought back memories, on which I've commented before in this estimable Forum. In the early 1960s starting a Scottish holiday I spent the night at a B&B just north of Luss on Lomondside. The next day, having breakfasted and had a stroll round, I was loading the car to depart when the lady of the house emerged and asked if I could possibly give her daughter a lift to school as she had contrived to miss the school bus. I was happy to oblige, although this apparently meant going back south.

The girl, 14, 15 maybe, duly rapidly boarded and we set off down Lomondside. A shy young man, I didn't make conversation other than to confirm the route. I drove circumspectly, so as not to alarm my young passenger. Fairly soon however the young lady decided that I wasn't going fast enough. To my total consternation she announced that she'd get belted if we didn't get there in time! I would have dearly liked to question her on this. Although I had some interest in school CP I'd never heard of belting as a school punishment, and I certainly wouldn't have expected a girl to be corporeally punished for being late. Indeed, in response to your queries

Did anyone experience this at English schools, or was Scotland stricter on punishment than England was?

I think I can say with reasonable certainty that at that time the answers were 'no' and 'yes'! However, shyness and embarrassment won the day, and instead of eliciting what might have been a very informative briefing on Scottish school CP I concentrated on extracting the maximum from the car and delivered her to the school in Helensburgh with about 5 minutes to spare, at least on my watch, which was set to BBC Home Service time. I only hope the school operated on the same time standard! happy.gif

 
 

StevefromSE5

Re: Whole Class Punisment

August 10 2010, 8:58 PM 

NELLY

The only mass caning at MGS was 4 of my fellow 5th formers for dumb insolence. They were following one of the masters to the dining hall and were calling his nickname ever louder. This was the great(because he got me through O level Maths & with a grade 4)HP McCullum, or Merc as per nickname.

He suddenly spun round and spat out:

"Right, you lot--to the Headmasterrr!"(He was Somerset born & bred). The guilty 3 & one innocent bystander were caned there and then. Merc had a way with the English language, this quote regarding my mathematical abilities better illustrates the accent:

"Arr-yew stinkin' great cabbige, McCook!"

I wonder if the incident of which you caught the tail-end might have been extended by a sift of suspects to eliminate the innocent. It strikes me as unusual for that sort of trouble to be taken, so it could have been a more mundane explanation, maybe that some of the guilty parties were on the games field and therefore off the premises that afternoon-Coulsden's near enough my neck of the woods & most schools even then had distant playing fields in London and its' suburbs. We had 6 rugby pitches at MGS, but often overflowed onto the public pitches in nearby Mote Park for games as well.

The Head might also have had earlier appointments he couldn't interrupt, of course. Maybe, just maybe, he needed a quick sustainer from the hip flask before battle commenced!happy.gif

I think the general line, even with our agreed lesser use of CP down here, was probably the same both sides of the border when it came to mob-handed misbehaviour-the Claude Rains/Captain Renault approach:

"Round up the usual suspects!"

AND Claude Rains was also born in Camberwell, SE5!



Steve

 
 
Nelly from Lochgelly

Belting the lates.

August 10 2010, 9:12 PM 

A true gentleman, Sir! To save that poor girl from painful stinging hands. Or were you cheating the system? I was late fo school several times because the bus was late. The excuse was not accepted. "You should have left home in time to walk here" and the application of the belt followed. Very sore at any time, absolutely excruciating on really cold hands on a freezing winters day.

You are refering to a rural area where the use of the belt was usually less frequent, although it certainly was still used. It remains on record that, at a school a little north of where you were, over one hundred pupils were strapped one afternoon after being found out of the school grounds after the lunch break. The offenders were rounded up, formed into lines and a team of teachers arrived, belts in their hands, to belt the lot of them. It was in the towns, particularly the industrial ones, that the belt was most often used. You could walk into virtually any Scottish secondary school in the 50's, 60's and 70's and hear the crack of leather being applied as you walked the corridors. I hope you thanked your parents for arranging to have you born south of the border!

 
 

Re: Whole Class Punishment

August 11 2010, 12:47 AM 

Hi Nelly from Lochgelly

Glad I found this fascinating forum.

As am I. Your arrival here has livened things up.

Firstly the use of both the slipper (why do you call it that if it is a gymshoe"?) and the cane. I can see the message that is sent if a pupil has to attend the headmaster to be caned, all rubber legs and knot in stomach during the journey and a sore bottom on the way back!

I honestly have no idea why it's called "the slipper". I believe other terms, such as "dap", were used in other parts of the country. It's become quite an evocative word - the threat of "You'll get the gymshoe" doesn't have quite the same effect as "You'll get the slipper".

Interesting you should say that there was variation. In Scotland there was variation too, from school to school and from teacher to teacher.

From what you've said, it seems there was less variation in Scotland. Frequency and severity seem to have been the main variables there. The implement (the belt) and sex equality seem much more constant. In England, both the belt (strap and possibly tawse) and the cane were used in different areas. Some sexist local authorities prohibited CP for girls and, in those areas where it was allowed, some sexist schools exempted girls from it. In some schools, boys were caned on their bums and girls on their hands. In other both sexes were caned on their hands. It other, both sexes were caned on their bums. In class, most of my teachers gave the slipper on our bums but a couple gave it on our hands.

My understanding is that there were possibly 3 major suppliers of canes to English schools, two based in London and one in the north, and a number of small producers.

You could be right. I never took much interest in where they came form. I was only ever concerned with where a particular cane was going. sad.gif

Bamboo was less suitable as it was inflexible and could easily split during use. Rattan was much preferred as it was solid yet flexible and, I believe, very effective.

Rattan is VERY effective. sad.gif I can't see how bamboo would be any good for anything much over a "token caning".


 
 

Another_Lurker

Re: Belting the lates.

August 11 2010, 4:18 AM 

Hi Nelly from Lochgelly. You say of my attempt many years ago to save a young lady from the ravages of the belt:

A true gentleman, Sir!

Please have a care! A true gentleman implies courtesy and manners, and courtesy and manners have been given a good kicking recently in this estimable Forum, much to my sadness. You could get me into a great deal of trouble! happy.gif

And you said of the potential fate of the young lady:

To save that poor girl from painful stinging hands.

What! You mean the poor girl might have been belted on both hands just for oversleeping and missing a bus! Thank goodness my trusty 998cc 39bhp Ford Anglia was able to attain its maximum speed of 70mph for sufficient of the journey to get her to school in time! happy.gif And for those whose motoring experience doesn't extend that far back 70mph really was the top speed of the car, quite nippy by the standards of small family cars in those days. The National 70mph limit was still a few years away.

You mention a school a little north of my Sir Galahad efforts where over one hundred pupils were strapped one afternoon after being found out of the school grounds after the lunch break. Not Lochaber High School by any chance? I have heard it rumoured that the belt was used rather freely there at times.

In an earlier post you asked:

....... the slipper (why do you call it that if it is a gymshoe"?) .......

Having been a very good little lad I cannot attest to the effects of the slipper with the experience possessed by my distinguished fellow contributor Jenny. However, I saw a great many other unfortunates being slippered and it may be worth making clear that 'the slipper' could range from a fairly small and light plimsoll, often the victim's own, in Junior school, up to the giant size 12 sandal with a leather sole about half an inch thick favoured by my Form Master in my first year in Secondary School. As with canes it was a case of horses for courses! happy.gif I cannot help with why this motley collection of implements were collectively referred to as slippers, at least in my part of the world. It may have derived from the use of real slippers to punish children domestically.

 
 
PC21

Belting the Lates

August 11 2010, 8:54 AM 

I think that I would go along with Another_Lurker's suggestion that the school use of the term "the slipper" derives from the domestic use of that item of footwear by parents to discipline their children.

 
 
Nelly from Lochgelly

The slipper

August 11 2010, 9:09 AM 

Thanks for responses re this item. Perhaps it did derive from a domestic situation where the use of a carpet slipper in parental chastisement was not uncommon in the 20th century. The school item was simply a thicker, heavier version of the same implement. I can see how a gymshoe could give a strong sting if soundly applied, but I would respectfully suggest that the tawse was even worse. The velocity at the twin tails end of a 24" tawse at it flew with considerable effort over the shoulder of the teacher was such that the hand received an almighty whack with about the final 5" of the tails leathering the length of the hand in that instant and the leather was very heavy, stiff and about 8mm thick. It more than took the breath away. Reactions would include "running on the spot", cupping hand to mouth and blowing into it, shaking hand violently, yelps of "Aowww" and "Ooya", deep intakes of breath, puffing and panting, squeezing hand shut and drawing the hand to the chest with eyes closed struggling to suffer the pain.

A number of schools can give reports of group or mass beltings. I saw one in a school one day in the late 60's which resulted from food being thrown in the dining hall during the lunch break. The throwing spread and eventually the whole place was in uproar and the duty teacher had lost control. A prefect was sent to tell the Headmaster who arived very quickly with 4 members of staff. All had their belts with them. The doors were barred, silence demanded and the pupils were ordered to form up in lines. The Headmaster, Deputy Head and teachers stood at the top of the hall in front of the stage and, as the rows moved forward, the teachers belted every pupil present (there would be about 120) before sending them out to the playground. Quite a sight.

The school I was referring to was in Buckie, Aberdeenshire where over 100 were belted for being out of the authorised area.

 
 
hcj

Re: Whole Class Punisment

August 11 2010, 9:38 AM 

Jenny wrote, in response to a comment by Nelly from Lochgelly:

I can't see how bamboo would be any good for anything much over a "token caning".

I sometimes think you only write these things in order to wind me up! happy.gif To quote the words of Delia Smith, "It's different, but every bit as good".

I'm not referring to garden canes here. Bamboo is a durable material - it can even be used to make scaffolding - and there are many parts of the bamboo plant that can be used in the manufacture of punishment implements of various types. One of the most effective canes you can use is one made from bamboo root.

 
 
Nelly from Lochgelly

The English school cane.

August 11 2010, 10:30 AM 

In the 1960's Messrs Jacobs, Young and Westbury of Haywards Heath produced around 15,000 school canes each year. In addition they held a contract to supply canes to the Inner London Education Authority up to, I think, the 1970's. Their canes carried no makers stamp but their contract ones had the initials ILEA branded into the crook of the handle.

The other major London maker was John Gray and Co, an old established firm of walking stick makers who also produced school canes, many thousands each year. Other major suppliers were Cooper of Godalming, who supplied around 6,000 canes per year, and Wilson of Carlisle.

The canes were made from rattan with the nodules and tips carefully cut and sanded. Crook handles were formed by steeping one end of the straight cane in a vat of hot water for a day until it softened. It was then bent over a large diameter rounded length of wood and tied in position to form a loop at one end. After being allowed to dry out, the tie was undone and the crook end remained in shape to form a handle which prevented the cane from slipping through the hand when in use and provided the ability to hang it on a hook for storage.

Both firms made canes in different lengths and diameters for differing requirements. Sometimes known as "Junior" and "Senior" models, the lengths could vary from around 22" to 38" and the diameter from 6mm to 12mm. A typical example of a crook handled secondary school cane might be about 32" long and 10mm in dimeter. It would be possible to flex it and bend it to a fair degree without it splitting. The tip was sanded to avoid cutting when it was used. Some canes could split or become "hairy" at the end and had to be replaced. They were inexpensive compared to a Scottish tawse. In the 60's a school cane would cost about 10p (in new money) while a Lochgelly tawse was around £2.50. But the tawse was easily transported and was everlasting, often handed down from generation to generation of teachers and as good after 100 years of use as the day it was made.

 
 

StevefromSE5

Re: Whole Class Punisment

August 11 2010, 11:34 AM 

NELLY

Aberdeenshire, eh? Pleased to note I'm not the only person who refers to counties as they were!

Amazingly, the only strap I've ever seen was in the folk museum in Creetown(Wigtownshire). Very worn & wasted & not looking as if it would hurt a fly, more like an old piece of Pepperami.

I suspect I'm not the only person on here with limited sightings of the tawse, which is why it's hard to compute the daily use you describe with deterrent effect. I've no doubt the real thing did hurt & am glad there's no Scottish blood in me for that reason only!


Steve

 
 
hcj

Re: Whole Class Punisment

August 11 2010, 4:43 PM 

A typical example of a crook handled secondary school cane might be about 32" long and 10mm in dimeter. It would be possible to flex it and bend it to a fair degree without it splitting. The tip was sanded to avoid cutting when it was used. Some canes could split or become "hairy" at the end and had to be replaced.

For someone who wrote two days ago that you had never seen or felt a cane, you seem to have lots of information to impart. Much, but not all, of it is correct.

I strongly advise against trying to bend a cane as it damages the stem. Rattan canes don't usually "split", although they sometimes break or become weak close to the point where they are held, particularly if a backswing is used before the downstroke. The only way a cane would split or become hairy at the end is if it is hit repeatedly on a hard surface rather than its intended target.

On another point, I don't think crook handles were commonly made by soaking and tying. The process would be far too cumbersome for manufacturing in quantity and the crooks would not retain their shape reliably.


 
 
Nelly from Lochgelly

The cane

August 11 2010, 5:14 PM 

HCJ

I have handled a "modern" cane, but not an authentic school one, much as I would like to. My information mainly comes from a number of years of research on the subject, including manufacturers, films, photographs and written details of cane manufacture. I can assure you that school canes were made in the way I described, at least by the two most prolific manufacturers in England. It was a labour intensive industry by today's standards, but they were produced in batches of perhaps 30 at a time affixed along the same pole and the "tieing and drying" procedure to form the crook did indeed work. Both the cane in England and the tawse in Scotland were entirely hand made. No machinery, no automation, just fairly repetitive work.

I have heard several reports of canes splitting at the ends, although I accept entirely that the majority did not. Your point that this was most likely due to the cane being used to strike a hard object is quite possibly the explanation, although I know of at least a couple of schools who appear to have used simple bamboo garden canes and these tended to split fairly easily, and I knew of a Headmaster in a London secondary school who ordered a heavy tawse on the grounds that his cane had developed a split at the tip and he was concerned that it might cause damage when used. He had heard of the Lochgelly tawse, ordered one up and was, by his own account, delighted with its effectiveness. In Scotland it was far from unknown for teachers to suddenly bring their belts down hard on the desk of an unsuspecting pupil. Made one hell of a noise and gave him/her quite a shock, but did no damage to the tawse. Perhaps the same could not be said of the cane if used in a similar manner.

As for flexibility, perhaps you could clarify the position for me? I have seen rattan school canes flexed to a half moon shape, but it may be that the degree to which one of these canes could be flexed depended on the diameter of the cane in question. It would perhaps be reasonable to expect that one of the lighter, say 6mm, canes would more ameniable to flexing than would a stouter 12mm example. Have you seen canes being flexed prior to use, or have you ever attempted to flex one yourself?


 
 

StevefromSE5

Re: Whole Class Punisment

August 11 2010, 9:46 PM 

There was a master at Aylesford Secondary School(the one nearest to my house in Maidstone) famed for caning with split end canes-Hitchcock, not Alfred, but the Geography Teacher;boys only there, by the way.

I also saw our Maths teacher in 1R at MGS, Bert Rudling, tap the blackboard sharply with what I remember as a rattan pointer. He did this frequently & not as a warning re CP, just to gain attention.

Unfortunately, he did it once too often and the tip end, about 9 inches of the 3 foot flew off. I caught it, otherwise it would have parted my crew-cut, if such a hairdressing feat is possible! Damn good slip catch from a sitting position if I say so myself, even if it was two-handed.

Bertie left after one term though he'd been there 3 years already, but this wasn't connected with teaching us. I think, as he was the only staff member in a bubble-car, he probably died trapped in his garage. Those things were hard enough to get into, but exiting was infinitely harder!


Steve

 
 
Jenny

Re: Whole Class Punishment

August 12 2010, 12:13 AM 

Hi hcj


I said: I can't see how bamboo would be any good for anything much over a "token caning".

I sometimes think you only write these things in order to wind me up! happy.gif To quote the words of Delia Smith, "It's different, but every bit as good".

Would I do a thing like that? Especially to a man who offered to buy me a beer at extraordinary expense. happy.gif

I'm not referring to garden canes here. Bamboo is a durable material - it can even be used to make scaffolding - and there are many parts of the bamboo plant that can be used in the manufacture of punishment implements of various types. One of the most effective canes you can use is one made from bamboo root.

I was thinking of garden canes when I wrote that. I didn't envisage a teacher using a (bamboo) scaffold pole to administer CP. happy.gif I've heard of the properties of bamboo root (I believe you may have mentioned it before) but when someone mentions a bamboo cane, I immediately think of a garden cane.

 
 
prof.n

1947 ???????

August 13 2010, 2:30 AM 


Teaching video, original from 1947. Just interesting


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHzTUYAOkPM&feature=related


and here is a send up of the same film

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgBjq1EsDHU&feature=related

 
 
American Way

Re: Whole Class Punisment

August 13 2010, 3:09 AM 

Hi prof n Just a heads up I prefer to hit share under youtube video and the url pops up shaded ready to copy and paste. It has fewer letters and numbers and makes for shorter links. No big deal either way.


 
 
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