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cious punishment which many persons, and ourselves amongst the rest, have seen at a private school. A passionate man, and many schoolmasters are such, who has no regular system of flogging, will pinch ears, kick at the legs, pull the hair violently, and use very abusive terms : such instances of ungoverned ill-temper and brutal behaviour are not uncommon, and we speak within our own knowledge of having seen, not very long ago, such scenes, and of knowing that they are still common in schools, particularly in the north of England. An ignorant man, whom accident has made a schoolmaster, must govern by force, and the only bounds to his intemperate passions are actual fear of his pupils, before the stoutest and boldest of whom these unworthy instructors of youth have not unfrequently shrunk from their purpose.
Such a system of capricious punishment no one can defend, and we should not act an ingenuous part if we were to attempt to impute any approbation of such a system to our correspondent, though the vagueness of the manner in which he has defended the giving of blows, without clearly stating under what restrictions, lays him open to the charge of approving of blows any how inflicted, and for any kind of offence. But he who defends the infliction of blows should state for what kind of offences he would give blows, and how they should be inflicted. We can hardly imagine any person maintaining that a boy should be punished because he cannot learn something which he has done his best to learn; or if he be really very stupid and dull, still if he
being obedient to the laws of the school. The only point of difference between us is, what the laws should be, and how they should be enforced.
has tried his best, no man, we think, would consider blows a proper punishment. Corporal punishment is probably reserved by the more reasonable defenders of it for the infraction of positive rules of the school (which rules may be good or bad), for obstinacy, lying, and other like offences. If it would cure, or tend to cure these evils, something might be said in favour of it. But our correspondent seems to think that the boy is the only person concerned in the business, whereas it takes two to make a flogging, a boy and a master; and our main objection to flogging is founded on certain considerations that primarily affect the master. Our objection is this: first, it is very difficult, particularly if the occasions for punishment arise often, for the master to inflict the punishment with coolness and solemnity, and, as a general rule, in ordinary schools, punishment follows the offence too soon to enable the master to do it judiciously. If it is inflicted with any passion whatever, it is very likely that blows will be inflicted beyond what is just, and beyond what the master himself intended; he will exhibit to his scholars an example of ugoverned temper, he who is to be their guide, their pattern, and their friend; he will run very great risk of forfeiting all their respect, unless he be a man of more than usual intellectual strength, in which case he may command some respect, but will secure no love. We are all along supposing that the scholar is conscious that he deserves some punishment, and that all the boys would admit the justice of the punishment; but what will be the case if he thinks he does not ? Suppose his offence to be a violation of some petty rule-suppose the master to be influenced merely by bad humour-is the boy in this case, as we
are told, to submit quietly to what he feels to be unjust? He may submit, but in his moral organization there is something implanted which resents this outrage, and we believe that this something is for good, not for harm. He feels contempt and indignation for the tyrant who abuses superior strength, and rooted hatred is his only feeling towards his teacher. Again, can a master, whose system is to govern by blows, expect the love and respect of those who are under him? If a boy finds that a blow is, in the master's mind, the extreme punishment, what value will he set on the master's approbation or disapprobation? What power has the master of influencing the conduct of his pupils, when the efficacy of the blows is exhausted ? Boys, after a time, care not for ordinary blows ; if blows are to do good, they must continually increase in severity, and, in course of time, nothing but extremely severe punishment can be efficient, even in securing temporary obedience; and extreme punishment must be adopted by those who defend blows, if their system is to have the merit of consistency.
We stop to meet a possible objection that may be made, of this kind. Under your improved system, in which the disapprobation of the master is to work such miracles, is it not possible that the master's disapprobation may
be expressed in cases where the boy thinks he does not deserve this disapprobation, which you substitute for other punishment ? and if this is so, will not there be certain bad effects, similar to those which
attribute to the infliction of blows, or at least some effects which are positively bad and perhaps worse than those from a blow, which is a thing that many boys soon forget, while words often remain in the memory? Let us see
how this matter stands. The expression of approbation or disapprobation implies reflection, caution, delay : thé natural attendants of blows are passion and haste. There is therefore less chance of error in expressing disapprobation than in giving a blow. A blow also, as it has been well said by the Author of the 'Remarks on Flogging and Fagging in Winchester,' (See Journal of Education, No. XVII. p. 84, et seq.) is not a reason: it is not even a word; it is a blow, and nothing more. Disapprobation is expressed in words-in words which are not words of passion, but words that contain reasons and require consideration; and reasons expressed are immediately subjected to the judgment of those who hear them: if they are good reasons, they compel conviction and acquiescence. If they are bad, perhaps the master will find out that they are insufficient, before he exposes himself by uttering them; and here again is delay, which is the thing we aim at producing, between the offence and the punishment. But suppose the boy does not admit the master's easons ; suppose all, or nearly all the boys sometimes do not admit the reasons for the expression of disapprobation to be adequate ; and suppose the master's reasons are not adequate. But here again is a great difference between reasons and blows: the boys cannot deny that the master has acted with coolness, with deliberation, with a real intention to do his best; they cannot help approving of the mode in which he has expressed his disapprobation, even if he is mistaken. The master, on his part, will readily see how his opinion is received by the boys : if it is not received as he wishes, he must reflect on the matter, and endeavour to find out where he is mistaken; and it is very likely that he will not fall into the same error again.
A blow unjustly inflicted is a wrong done, for which no excuse can be given except that it was done in haste, which is no security against its repetition; whereas disapprobation, with reasons for it, even if the disapprobation is unmerited, contains in it something which is of the nature of security against a repetition. We have here supposed an extreme case. A well-trained master, who has reflected on the motives by which both men and boys are influenced, will not be in much danger of falling into such mistakes as we have supposed. His disapprobation will be founded on good reasons, and will be the ruling motive for the boys avoiding to do wrong. In the other case blows are the ruling motive. Now here stand the two masters, and let the boys choose between them : one holds in his hand the rod,
if you do so and so, I will flog you; the other says, if you do so and so, I shall disapprove your conduct, and I shall show, by my behaviour, in private or public, or both, that I do not like what you do ; I shall tell you why, and you will find that most of the boys and other people too will be of my mind. If you do as I wish you shall receive my public approbation : this is what I offer to you as the opposite of my disapprobation. What has my friend there with the rod got to offer you as the opposite of flogging ?-_when he approves of your conduct he will not flog you.
Any man who has had any experience in managing boys or dealing with men, knows very well how many circumstances occur in this intercourse which tend to irritate and annoy; and this quite independent of positive disobedience on the part of boys, or bad intention on the part of men. The natural outlet for this irritation and annoyance is action of some kind; and the