South African Journal of Education
On-line version ISSN 2076-3433
GOVENDER, D Sagree and SOOKRAJH, Reshma. 'Being hit was normal': teachers' (un)changing perceptions of discipline and corporal punishment. S. Afr. j. educ. [online]. 2014, vol.34, n.2, pp. 01-17. ISSN 2076-3433.
Global and national concerns that corporal punishment is still being used, openly in certain milieus and surreptitiously in others, suggests that education stakeholders need to take cognisance of teachers' perceptions and experiences that influence their classroom discipline in the context of changing curriculum policies and legislation. This study was guided by research objectives that explored, firstly, teachers perceptions of their past experiences of corporal punishment and, secondly, their perceptions of their disciplinary techniques since the abolition of corporal punishment. Through a qualitative research methodology of semi-structured interviews, data were collected from seven primary school teachers in KwaZulu-Natal. Teachers' perceptions of their experiences and practices of corporal punishment were explored through two dimensions of the Foucauldian concept of bio-power, namely, disciplinary power and governmentality. The findings show that although all teachers experienced corporal punishment negatively when they were pupils, their responses to the abolition of corporal punishment were varied, multiple and complex. Recommendations for further research include exploring the resilience of authoritarian teaching approaches and teacher professional development of learner-centred approaches to curb teacher frustration that contributes to their use of corporal punishment.