Attitudes of parents, teachers and adolescents on the cultural practice of physical punishment for behaviour management of Solwezi District

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Monde, Wamundila Collins
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The study aimed at examining the attitudes of parents, teachers, and adolescents on the cultural practice of physical punishment; and parents and teachers’ practices in the behaviour management of their children. The research design used two questionnaire scales; the first was employed to measure the attitudes of parents, teachers and adolescents and the second was administered on parents and teachers to identify their childrearing practices. The third instrument was a focus group discussion guide administered on the three respondents. A randomly and purposively selected sample of 376 participants from schools in Solwezi District took part in the study. The results by way of ANOVAs and Post Hoc analyses showed that there were significant main effect differences across groups in their attitudes towards the cultural practice of physical punishment [F(2,310) = 26.733, p < .05] Clear-cut significant differences were observed between teachers and parents (p < .05); and between teachers and adolescents (p < .05). Parents and adolescents consistently posted similar and non-significant differences (p = .9780) on the cultural practice of physical punishment. The respondents indicated that physical punishment was not appropriate in child behaviour management strategies due to its negative effects. Notable was the finding that the majority of the respondents were neutral on whether physical punishment was appropriate as a childrearing strategy. It appeared some communities in Zambia were experiencing a transitional period influenced by cultural dynamism, human rights and modernity causing some debate on its appropriateness. Parents were more positive in the use of childrearing practices with physical punishment endorsement than teachers [t = 2.268, df(161), p =.025]; a reversal of the response on the attitude scale. In addition, parents and teachers appeared to use child behaviour management techniques sparingly opting more of shouting at children or reinforcing positive behaviour through praise. The low scores on the use of physical punishment and yet higher scores on the attitudes on the cultural practice of physical punishment by teachers tended to generate research interest. It could be that teachers were ill-equipped in other alternative behaviour management tactics or overwhelmed with levels of indiscipline in schools and therefore had remained fixated with the use of corporal punishment but could not use it due to the ban. A bivariate correlation between attitudes and use of physical punishment by parents and teachers mainly showed non-significant relationships (p = .473). This was inconsistent with the Developmental Niche Model by Super and Harkness (1986) in which this study was anchored. Drawing from the Model, assumptions would be that positive attitudes towards the practice of physical punishment would endorse its use. Interventions by Government and stakeholders were necessary to equip caregivers in behaviour management of children. A further research was cardinal in childrearing and behaviour management practices in homes and schools in the light of cultural dynamism. Key words: Physical Punishment, Attitudes, Childrearing Practices, Behaviour Management, Parents, Teachers, Adolescents.
Discipline of children-Solwezi, Zambia , Punishment(School discipline)-Zambia , Punishment(School discipline)-Zambia , Educational Sociology-study and teaching-Zambia , Child education-Behaviour, Characteristics, Management