Teach English in Dongping Zhen - Nanjing Shi

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Definitions and perceptions of behavioural appropriateness are influenced by cultural expectations. Therefore, what is considered as being inappropriate varies across social and cultural contexts, and conflicts are likely to occur when individuals come from different backgrounds (Weinstein et al., 2004). Within such a broad topic, I will focus on analysing and summarising the use of corporal punishment in children, both at home and in schools, with emphasis on the country in which I currently live and will teach in: the People's Republic of China. Corporal punishment of children has been the focus of increasing concern from researchers and policymakers around the world. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child - UNCRC - has called corporal punishment a form of violence against children, defining it as "any punishment in which physical force is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort, however light" (2006). Much of the global concern about corporal punishment has focused on parents' use of it, yet it also remains widespread in schools (Gershoff, 2013; Gershoff and Grogan-Kaylor, 2016). At home As a developing country where according to UNICEF the child population is of over 300 millions, corporal punishment at home is not banned by existing regulations and continues to be socially acceptable (UNCRC, 2005). In 2010, a study of 2,363 parents found that 43.8% of parents said they had physically punished a child (Chang, 2010). Another survey of over 2,100 children ages 9-12 years old found that 73% were physically punished by their parents, which was associated with psychosomatic symptoms such as headaches and abdominal pain (Hesket, et al., 2010). Also, the NGO Against Child Abuse, found that of more than 100 children aged 6-10 and 126 parents, 58% of parents admitted to smacking their children. 47% of children who had been physically punished said it had hurt them badly and a third thought it had damaged their relationship with their parents (Earth Times, 2010). China's major unmet challenge continues to be the sharply unbalanced sex ration at birth of approximately 118:100 boys to girls. In a study comparing the relationship between gender and corporal punishment, interviewing mothers, fathers and children aged 7-10 years old, 48% of girls and 60% of boys had experienced "mild" physical punishment such as spanking and shaking. As for severe punishment, 10% of girls and 15% of boys had experienced being hit or slapped and beat repeatedly. When asked about the need to use corporal punishment to bring up their child, for girls, 14% of mothers and 20% of fathers believed it was necessary; for boys, 36% of mothers and 33% of fathers did (Lansford, et al., 2010). This practice does not seem to be improving, as in 2014, a study involving 2,518 parents of 3-15 years olds found that 53.7% of the mothers and 48.3% of the fathers had physically punished their child in the previous year (Wang and Liu, 2014). In schools The common law doctrine of 'in loco parentis' - Latin for 'in the place of a parent' - has allowed teachers to take on some of the functions and responsibilities of parents. This has been used to justify teachers being considered authority figures and thus granted the same rights as parents to punish children in their care. In the Peoples' Republic of China, following passing the Compulsory Education Law in 1986, the country's leaders launched a national plan to universalise compulsory education and eradicate illiteracy. Said law declared that "it shall be forbidden to inflict physical punishment on students". In 1994, the Teachers' Law stated that teachers that impose corporal punishment on students and refuse to mend their way after being criticised are subject to administrative sanctions or even dismissal. The primary education enrolment rate stands at 99.7% (UNICEF, 2012), but despite the above laws, the UNCRC still has expressed concerns that the existing regulations that ban corporal punishment in schools are poorly implemented (2005). After surveying 6,592 high schoolers, 23.2% reported experiencing corporal punishment in the past six months (Leung, et al., 2008). Out of 1,200 first and second year university students, 32.1% had experienced corporal punishment by teachers when they were at school (UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office, 2012). In conclusion, the standards of behavioural appropriateness are culturally influenced, and conflicts are likely to occur when teachers and students come from different backgrounds. This also happens with regards to how to best deal with misbehaviour: despite all the efforts to intervene to reduce and eliminate corporal punishment, it still exists around the world. Therefore, it is my intention to establish a relationship with my students that encourages good behaviour instead of simply punishing bad behaviour. In order to do that, the first step would be to establish a set of rules to which children should adhere. I firmly believe that children will behave according to set guidelines/rules if these are properly explained. Furthermore, if students are incorporated in the rule setting process they will be more likely to adhere to them. Another way to manage classroom behaviour would be to make all students responsible for the entire class's behaviour. For example, when working with a point based reward system for good behaviour and points being deducted for 'bad' behaviour, the entire class would be 'punished' for the actions of a single student. Peer pressure is a powerful motivator for children and the consequence of seeing the entire class being 'punished' by having points deducted for their behaviour will motivate children more to exhibit the required, 'good' behaviour than any punitive corporal punishment ever could. To this end, I intend to experiment with many of the various classroom management techniques presented in this course in order to maintain a certain standard of behaviour in my classes without resorting to any and all forms of corporal punishment, even if these are still widely accepted in Chinese culture. As a foreign teacher, I believe that setting a different standard for my Chinese students is not only my privilege but also my prerogative. References: Chang, K. L. (2010) Co-occurrence of intimate partner violence and child abuse in Hong Kong Chinese Families. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 1-21. Gershoff, E. T. (2013), Spanking and Child Development: We know enough now to stop hitting our children. Child Development Perspectives, 7(3), 133-137. Georshoff, E. T., and Grogan-Kaylor, A. (2016). Spanking and child outcomes: Old controversies and new meta-analyses. Journal of Family Psychology, 30(4), 453-469. Hesketh, T., Zhen, Y. and Lu, Li. (2010) Stress and psychosomatic symptoms in Chinese school children: Cross-sectional survey. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 95(2), 136-140. Lansford, J. (2010). Corporal Punishment of Children in Nine Countries as a Function of Child Gender and Parent Gender. International Journal of Pediatrics. Leung, P., Wong, W. and Tang, C. (2008). Prevalence and determinants of child maltreatment among high school students in Southern China: A large school based survey. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 2(27), 1-8. UN CRC, United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, (2005). Concluding observations on second report on China (including Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions), 24 Nov 2005. United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment No. 8 (2006). The Right of the Child to Protection from Corporal Punishment and Other Cruel or Degrading forms of Punishment (U.N. CRC/C/GC/8), 2007 Mar 2. UNICEF, United Nations Children's Fund (2012). China marks the 20th Anniversary of its ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 20 Nov 2012. UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office (2012). Child Maltreatment: Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences: A systematic review of research. Bangkok: UNICEF. Wang, M and Liu, L. (2014). Parental harsh discipline in mainland China: Prevalence, frequency, and coexistence. Child Abuse & Neglect, 38(6), 1128-1137. Weinstein C., Tomlinson-Clarke S. and Curran M. (2004). Toward a conception of culturally responsive classroom management. Journal of Teacher Education, 55(1), 25-38.