Summary on School Discipline in Canada by Genviève Thiboutot

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According to the Online Oxford Dictionary, discipline is described as: “the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience.”   The progression of this horrifying practice has changed dramatically in Canada over the past decades.  As recently as twenty years ago, corporal punishment in schools was accepted worldwide and was considered an appropriate method of discipline.  Methods such as corporal punishment, psychological abuse or neglect and assertive discipline were used to control the students’ behaviors.  Parents, which play a major role today in the education of their children, did not have any rights at that time.  According to the StudyMode website, “It was completely up to the school authority figures on the type of punishment and the severity of the punishment given to the student. The classroom teacher had the most say in the matter since it was the teacher who usually administered the punishment to the students.” ["StudyMode"]  Multitudes of weapons were used to punish the misbehaving students; leather straps, belts, sticks, rods, rubber hoses, hard plastic baseball bats and the list could go on.  “If at the time a teacher did not have his/her weapon, they would often resort to punching, kicking, slapping and shaking as ways to « get children’s attention ».  Besides these common manoeuvres of punishment, other and often more painful techniques were used by teachers […]” ["StudyMode"] In the terrifying novel, Out of the Depthswritten by Isabelle Knockwood, school discipline, in Canada, is much talked about.  The teachers in the book change the students to fit their requirements.  The poor children who went to the Indian Residential School in Shubenacadie were extremely bad treated; one girl confesses: “One day when some kid made a mistake and threw some potato peelings in the milk can, we were all punished until that person confessed.  We had no meals for two days. […].” ["Knockwood, p.38"] In fact, they were identified as numbers: “Much later I discovered that this was almost identical to the prison garb of the time.  We were also given numbers.  I was 50 and Rosie was 57.” ["Knockwood, p.30"]

According to Margaret Barber, in her text, Changing Punishment: The Evolution of Discipline in Canadian Schools, she elaborates on a factor which changed the school system for the best.  Bill 212, also known as, the changes to the safe school’s act, was passed in 2007.  The Progression Discipline was introduced and “represented a shift away from disciplinary measures that isolated students who displayed inappropriate behaviors towards a new form of discipline that helps correct and council students who misbehave. This new form of punishment focused more on reforming the behaviors of students who behave poorly by involving parents and support professionals.” ["Barber"]  As education and teaching methods in Canada advanced, physical punishment became a thing of the past.  The children were now “viewed, treated, and taught” in a completely different way.  ["Barber"]

Nowadays, in Canada, students are able to study in “safe learning environments where intimidation, fear, and corporal punishment are abandoned for catered learning plans, behavior-altering programs, and personalized counseling or coaching.” ["Study Mode"]

WORKS CITED

Barber, Margaret. « Changing Punishment: The Evolution of Discipline in Canadian Schools.«  History Research Paper, 19 November. 2012. Web. 29 March 2014.http://www.theodorechristou.ca/tmc/Select_Subjects_in_the_History_of_Ontario_Education_files/Changing%20Punishment-%20The%20Evolution%20of%20Discipline%20in%20Canadian%20Schools.pdf

Knockwood, Isabelle. « Out of the Depths. » Nova Scotia: Roseway Publishing, 1931. Print.

StudyMode, « Discipline in the Classroom: past and present.«  StudyMode, October. 1999. Web. 29 March 2014. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Discipline-In-The-Classroom-Past-And-4097.html