Cane and able, not anymore.

The behavioural pattern of students, today, has changed. The teachers are thus finding it hard to handle them, without using the cane. Harish Joshi finds out how whacking a child would do no good and counseling for both teachers and children is the way out SPARE the rod and spoil the child, the adage no more holds good and the educational fraternity as well as psychologists are unanimous in this verdict.

But at the same time, they feel that teachers should be properly equipped to handle growing instances of behavioural problems among school going children. A regular counselor — for both teachers and children — is the best bet.

City based psychologist Sanjyot Deshpande says, "Discipline needs to be redefined. Corporal punishment has done more harm than good. Strictness should mean being firm and consistent while dealing with children without making them feel humiliated. "The pressure on teachers is understood. They have to ensure good performance and meet the school requirements. Personal problems of teachers can also result in erratic behaviour. What is needed is stress management and training programs for teachers by exposing them to educational counseling."

Principal of Abhinav high school Jayashree Pai, points to a changing social scenario in which "outstation postings of the male breadwinner leave the child with a single parent — the mother. Absence of the father has been identified as an important factor for behavioural changes among kids and a counselor is definitely needed to probe his or her mind to find a solution." Gauri Tatke, a practicing counselor, says, "Today, there is a growing tendency among children to disrespect their teachers. But punishment is not the answer. A counsellor is." But what is the option to corporal punishment? "A deterrent has to be there to correct behavioural aberrations. A teacher or parent can make an erring child miss out on his favourite activity for a period of time. In school, for example, he can be barred from doing his favourite extra curricular activity," she adds. Dr Bharat Desai, Head of Department of Psychology, MES Garware College, laments that just five schools in the city have full time counsellors.

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