Durban - BULLYING tactics and verbal forms of punishment meted out by teachers are as damaging to pupils as corporal punishment.

This included name calling and insulting pupils, while they are alone or among their peers.

“This is a form of humiliating punishment, which is known to have negative effects on children's self-esteem and morale,” said Divya Naidoo, of Save the Children South Africa.

She said positive discipline was a long-term solution as children are taught self-discipline.

“This is where pupils are corrected in a respectful manner, and explained the consequences of having disrupted a lesson or being rude. Children will understand they are disadvantaging themselves from learning.

"Hitting or smacking a child is a quick, short-term solution. A few minutes later, the child will go back to making a noise or whatever they have done to have angered a teacher.”

Naidoo added that while it was important that children respect their elders, the same was needed of adults.

Professor Nyna Amin, an associate professor in curriculum studies at the School of Education at UKZN, said when learning was sabotaged it could lead to absenteeism, school avoidance or dropping out.

“Some studies have shown that executive functions that require higher-order thinking skills like decision-making, problem-solving and abstract thinking are negatively affected.”

The spokesperson for the KZN Department of Education, Kwazi Mthethwa, said allegations of any form of abuse that may be directed at pupils would be met with hard disciplinary action.

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