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1.1 Background to the Study
The goal of any society is to have functional, law abiding, contributing adult citizens. Child rearing is an important aspect in creating these contributing adults. Discipline is a necessary part of child rearing and effective discipline techniques are important in creating contributing adults. The specific practice of corporal punishment as a form of discipline has been a highly debated topic over the years. One side of the argument has concerns regarding the negative repercussions from this type of discipline and negative long term effects (Gromoske & Maguire-Jack, 2012; Hicks-Pass, 2009 Simons & Wurtele, 2010). The other side of the argument has concerns regarding children being immediately compliant, not learning to obey and respect authority, and not following guidelines on discipline (Andero & Stewart, 2002; Benjet & Kazdin, 2003). This conflicting evidence in support and opposition of corporal punishment results in the continued use of corporal punishment since families and professionals can argue in support for their view. Considering the severity of the negative effects that have been linked with corporal punishment, it is concerning that parents and schools continue to use this discipline method partially due to lack of conclusive evidence of its consequences (Paolucci & Violato, 2004). The cost of the use of this discipline method is high while a long term benefit does not exist (Gromoske & Maguire-Jack, 2012). Many researchers have also demonstrated a link between physical punishment and several negative developmental outcomes for children: physical injury, increased aggression, antisocial behavior, poorer adult adjustment, and greater tolerance of violence (NASW, 2012).
Corporal punishment is any form of penalty that takes a physical form, by the infliction on the offender of pain, injury, discomfort or humiliation. Corporal punishment means to inflict punishment on the body (UNICEF, 2014). Many countries opposed the use of physical punishment in homes and all other institutions where children are cared for educated (NASW, 2012).
Corporal punishments in schools are an old fashioned mode of disciplining still being used in schools all over. Children who are inflicted with them accept it as a natural course of action. The teachers seem to be unaware of the harmful effects of these actions whether be in way of psychological or sociological problems, or be physical or mental effects on the child (Save the Children, 2013). In schools, teachers acting in loco parentis “in place of parents” are obliged to direct students under them on the appropriate behaviours expected of them both in school and the larger society. This they do by instilling discipline in them which according to Adewusi (2012) is one of the most significant assignments of teachers. For there to be orderly and peaceful school environment, school management specifies rules and regulations to guide the activities of members of educational organization And various methods are employed to make sure students comply with rules and regulations of the school because students in virtually all classrooms worldwide engage in behaviours that are counterproductive to learning and contrary to acceptable social practices. One of such methods is corporal punishment (Nakpodia, 2010). Umezinwa and Elendu (2012) pointed out that though corporal punishment is used to correct students’ behaviours which are counterproductive some researchers have debunked it saying that it has harmful effects such as somatic complaints, increase in anxiety, changes in personality and depression. Corporal punishment of adolescents is associated with increased risk of many serious social and psychological problems (Straus, 2003). Raikhy and Kaur (2010) stated that corporal punishment during this sensitive phase of human life will have profound effect on their personality, growth and overall development. Corporal punishment most often produces, in its victim’s anger, resentment, and low self-esteem (Paintal, 2007). Arab et al (2011) in a study carried out in Pakistan found that corporal punishment impedes classroom participation, decrease attendance and increase drop-out rate, negatively affects self-confidence, creates fear and hindrance towards learning. Save the Children project (2008) made a study with an aim to establish the prevalence of corporal punishment on children in both schools and homes. Findings of the study revealed that corporal and other forms of humiliating punishment were known by the pupils (64.5%). The practice of corporal punishment was found to be very high among teachers (90.8%). Corporal punishment was mostly administered by class teachers compared to other members of staff in schools. About 11% of the pupils had even suffered bodily injuries as a result of punishment and this showed the extent of corporal punishment. In many countries, corporal punishment is still lawful. The majority of children are not yet protected from all corporal punishment in their homes, with 95.5% of the global child population living in countries where it is lawful for parents to chastise them in the name of “discipline” (Global Initiative, 2010). In Nigeria for example, a retrospective survey found that a high percentage of girls were victims of physical violence, including corporal punishment. The most widespread forms of physical punishment reported by respondents were beating (90%), hitting (84%) and kicking (55%) (The African Child Policy Forum, 2010). Based on the foregoing, this study aims at the perception of secondary school students on the use of corporal punishment in schools in Kaduna South Local Government Area.
1.2 Statement of the Problem Corporal punishment is used in schools all over the world, despite concern about its effects on children and about the implications for their capacity to benefit from school (Save the Children, 2013). Corporal punishment has become an increasingly problematic global human rights issue (UNICEF, 2008). Since the beginning of this century, a global tendency to abolish corporal punishment has been introduced to challenge old dependence on corporal punishment as a tool for reforming children’s misbehavior (Global Report, 2008). This tendency was highly supported by the contemporary call for protecting human rights including the right in security and human treatment (articles 3 and 5, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) and child rights in physical protection (Article 19, Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1990) (Paintal, 2007). In most countries worldwide, many children even babies continue to be subject to corporal punishment of their parents, guardians, teachers in work places, residential and penal institutions (Save the Children Sweden, 2003). Like many other countries, Nigeria has ratified the “Child Right Act” of 2003, which include restriction of punishment item 221, which stated that “no child be ordered to be subjected to corporal punishment”. In fact, school, caregivers and teachers as well as administrators are expected to take into account the child’s “human dignity” and eliminate any disciplinary measures that may cause physical, mental or emotional injury or harm. Many teachers and parents reported that they inflicted severe punishment on children because they were unaware of alternatives to corporal punishment and knew little about the physical and psychological impacts of harsh punishments. There is no clear evidence that the corporal punishment will lead to better control in the classroom, help moral character development in children, or increase the students respect for the teachers or other authority figure (Society for Adolescent Medicine, 2003). It is believed that corporal punishment does not help the child to correct his behavior, it communicates that hitting is the correct way to solve problems and violence is acceptable in our society. It has negative effects on the social, psychological and educational development of students, contributes to the cycle of child abuse, and promotes pro-violence attitudes of youth (OWEN, 2005; Society for Adolescent Medicine, 2003). Within the school system, corporal punishment has been found not only to be a problem, but that its effects are insidious and little recognized. It is emotionally destructive, and affects the quality of the teacher-pupil relationship, and cut off all modes of effective communication that play a crucial role in promoting student’s emotional health and well-being (Youssef, Attia & Kamel, 1998). Many educationists have argued that corporal punishment has shock and dehumanizing value (Kynacou, 1995) and capable of making the learning environment a punitive place (Pieters, 2000). Ndubisi and Uka (1981) believe that fear of corporal punishment inhibits creativity in students, does not necessarily change the underlying wish to misbehave. In Ilorin, South West, Nigeria corporal punishments practices by elementary schools teachers were potentially source of optical injuries to the children (Mahmoud, Ayanniyi & Salman, 2011). It is a major cause of ocular morbidity and blindness in Nigerian children (Oluwakemi and Kayode, 2007). Earlier in Nigeria corporal punishment had caused death of two pupils and one loss of eye (Chianu, 2000). Schools across Nigeria are still like police stations where out-of-control teachers apply the severe form of corporal punishment on hapless pupils. The result is that more pupils are dropping out of school out of fear (http.//www.punchng.com). Corporal punishment is seen by parents and teachers as an acceptable forms of punishment and not much has been heard from the recipients on it effects on their behavior. The unilateral perception is not enough to arrive at a conclusion on the effects of corporal punishment. This informs this study since he who wears the shoe knows where it pinches. Hence, it will investigate the perception of secondary school students on the use of corporal punishment in schools in Kaduna South Local Government Area.
1.3 Research Questions
In view of the afore-going problem, this research intends to address the following questions:
1. What are the perceptions of secondary school students on the major factors contributing to the prevailing practice of corporal punishment in secondary schools in Kaduna South Local Government Area of Kaduna State?
2. What are the perceptions of secondary school students on the prevalence and types of corporal punishments used in secondary schools in Kaduna South Local Government Area of Kaduna State?
3. What are the perceptions of secondary school students on the effects of corporal punishments among secondary school children in Kaduna South Local Government Area of Kaduna State?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The general aim of this research work is to examine the perception of secondary school students on the use of corporal punishment in schools in Kaduna South Local Government Area. In order to achieve this, the research will focus on the following specific objectives:
1. To examine the perception of secondary school students on the major factors contributing to the prevailing practice of corporal punishment in secondary schools in Kaduna South Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
2. To investigate the perceptions of secondary school students on the prevalence and types of corporal punishments used in secondary schools in Kaduna South Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
3. To examine the perceptions of secondary school students on the effects of corporal punishments among secondary school children in Kaduna South Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
1.5. Significance of the Study This study will shed light on corporal punishments in secondary school. The findings of this study will be beneficial to students, teachers, policy makers and other stakeholders. The results can inform future policy direction concerning corporal punishment. The study will also raise awareness on whether teachers observe rules and regulations regarding the use of corporal punishment. Being aware of the rules and regulations will protect teachers against possible legal suits for inappropriate administration of corporal punishment. Observing rules and regulations regarding corporal punishment will also protect students from the associated physical and emotional abuse. This may also help policy makers, parents, teachers and other stakeholders with more understanding and insights in developing effective childrearing methods and techniques that promote desirable emotional development. It is also hoped that it will provide a springboard for future research on the effects of corporal punishment. These findings would hopefully create more awareness and serve as a source of reference for government, stake holders, government organization, counselors, non-governmental organizations and administrators in research and policy. It would serve as a contribution to knowledge and contribute to the work of other researchers and individuals carrying out similar studies on corporal punishment in secondary school. The findings of this study will also add to the existing knowledge about corporal punishment.
1.6. Scope and Limitation of the Study
The research work is limited to Kaduna South Local Government Area of Kaduna State, since the researcher cannot cover the whole length and breadth of the country in carrying out this study. The study area is of particular interest due to the fact that Kaduna South Local Government Area has large concentration of schools for children from diverse cultural backgrounds. The study also confined itself to the children in secondary school only and to the location of study area.
1.7 DEFINITIONS OF TERM
Perception: Perception is defined as a psychological process of regarding, understanding, and interpreting an event. What is perceived guides how people behave in a particular situation. There are multiple factors that influence perception. The needs, the desires, and the personality of a person are vital in influencing perception. It depends upon the personality of a person with respect to how they interpret the situation. Additionally, it is contented that past experience and knowledge impact what is perceived.
Corporal Punishment: The Committee on the Rights of the Child (2006) defines “corporal” or “physical” punishment as any punishment in which physical force is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort, however light.
Secondary School: A school that is intermediate in level between primary school and tertiary school or university and that usually offers general, technical, vocational, or tertiary school-preparatory curricula. It refers to a high school or a school of corresponding grade ranking between a primary school and a tertiary school or university.
Children: People between birth and full growth; boys and girls who has not reached full economic and journal status as an adult in a society (Melchiorre, 2004).
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