Stop Shaming, Start Praising: What I Learned From Growing Up in a Shaming Culture

I was recently in this business meeting where this director openly shamed his subordinate in front of a group of people: in quite a nasty way too. He basically tore his subordinate apart and ripped him into shreds, criticizing him for having low awareness about what he himself (the director) wanted, asking stupid questions during an important meeting, and basically wasting his time.

And the story doesn’t end there: his subordinate isn’t just an entry-level executive (not that it would have been okay if he were) but a senior manager in his forties with people reporting to him! And some of this manager’s own direct reports were in that very meeting where he was openly shamed!

Child abandoned on the road

Was it really appropriate to shame the manager, much less before a group of people who are working under him? How did shaming the manager help to build the respect of the group members for their own manager? I don’t know.

Myself, having been brought up in the Singapore education, I was exposed to a strong shaming culture where teachers were authorized (maybe even at times encouraged) to publicly humiliate and shame students. I believe this was/is the case for many other schools in Asia as well.

(Any of you who studied in schools in other countries, please share your experiences in the comments section!)

Shaming In My Primary School

Back in my primary school (I was from Rulang Primary, a good school in the western part of Singapore), I “affectionately” remember how students who talked during assembly would be asked to stand outside the hall as punishment.

The “pain” of the punishment was never the ache from standing but the shame of being placed before the entire school and gaining the implicit label of a “bad” student. While I was a school prefect in my upper primary years and didn’t have to sit through assembly, I remember being terrified of talking or even opening my mouth in my lower primary years during the assembly period. I was afraid that being seen with my mouth open — even if I wasn’t talking — would warrant the teachers/prefects the right to punish and call me out to be shamed.

In class, I remember students who didn’t complete their homework would be made to stand along the walkway outside the classroom. Teachers and students who walked by would see these students and know that they were being punished, hence feeling sorry for them. It was meant to make said students feel ashamed and deter them from not committing the same offence again.

Dark corridor

This never happened to me (not that I recalled), but it definitely make me scared about doing anything wrong because I would be called to stand outside class. I didn’t want to be openly shamed like this. I would also feel very sorry whenever I saw students punished this way.

In a way, such punishment was also ostracization, since the students in question would be deliberately segregated from their classmates and denied from being part of the class activities for their “wrongdoings”. It was as if these students were deemed “unworthy” of attending the class and “lesser” compared to the other pupils just because they didn’t do their work like the latter did.

During class, I remember this particular ritual my P5–6 form teacher made us go through whenever we went through our assignments: Whenever we got a question wrong, she would make us stand up from our seats and slap ourselves in front of our classmates–all forty of them.

This slapping was never meant to hurt us (my teacher never derived any pleasure from seeing us hit ourselves), but for us to remember our mistakes and never commit them again.

It worked fairly well because I grew up being very meticulous about details, being very sensitive to mistakes, and being very cautious not to make any mistakes. Because in my mind, I had associated a physically, emotionally, and mentally negative outcome with mistakes: even the tiniest of them. It was clear that mistakes of any sort were not tolerated in school — especially the careless ones — and there was absolutely no room to make any of them.

Then… Came Secondary School

Then… came secondary school. The shaming culture didn’t get worse (it couldn’t have actually; it was the worst in the primary school I came from), but it didn’t get much better either.

I was in a secondary school (BPGHS) where we had an infamous disciplinary master nicknamed “Tiger Tan”. Why that name? Because (a) he was fierce like a tiger and (b) his surname is Tan. He would always be nice when a good mood, but he would be irate when he flared up. Shouting, scolding, and punishing were all part of his disciplinary arsenal.

I don’t remember if physical punishment was in the mix too, but I once saw Tiger Tan kick my friend in his butt — REAL HARD — during morning assembly. Why? Because my friend was talking and being naughty overall. I was standing right beside him when it happened and felt really bad because… which growing, self-respecting teenager would want to have his/her butt kicked (literally) in front of his/her friends?

I didn’t think it was appropriate treatment at all regardless of how naughty my friend was; I thought Tiger could have been less harsh in how he handled the situation. At the very least, something that didn’t involve kicking and shaming.

(Anyway, the last I heard, he has retired and is enjoying his golden years.)

Punishment of children

University: End of Shaming

It was only when I entered university that I stopped being exposed to a shaming culture. For the first time in my life, I was in a school where students weren’t treated as a sub-species.

While we were still expected to respect the professors/teachers as students, we were finally treated as as actual humans with rights, not as lesser individuals. To be honest, it was a nice and refreshing change to be able to walk around the school hallways freely and not live in fear that some teacher was going to come screaming at you all of a sudden for some wrongdoing you were not even aware of.

Then… Something Totally Different

And then when I started my first (and last) internship in my ex-company, I became exposed to a totally different culture.

There was no shaming and no punishing at all there. Instead there was… praising.

That’s right: Rather than have your mistakes continuously pinpointed/corrected, be endlessly criticized about your behavior/personality/worth as an individual, live in fear of getting flagged out in meetings for your wrongdoings, or get publicly humiliated/shamed for anything you do that’s “incorrect”, there was frequent praise, appreciation, and commending of the things you do right.

Don’t get me wrong: It wasn’t like no one ever got criticized in there as healthy and constructive criticism was a norm. It wasn’t like all the managers in the company were civil and kind, for there were a couple of dictator-like personas who would openly scold and shame subordinates in public. (And when I say public, I mean literally in public, like in a restaurant. This happened between a general manager and a director in the company.)

But the overall culture in the company was one of praise and celebration. No one was seen as sub-par to another; everyone was equal. Managers would work with their subordinates as equals and partners as they brought the best out of them. Vice presidents would speak to interns like they were of the same level when they were really 15 years apart in their ages, life experience, and job experience.

A Life-Changing Experience

In entered my then-manager.

My manager then… he wasn’t just a regular manager. He was a manager who was highly gratuitous and open with his praises, often acknowledging me for the littlest of tasks that I didn’t think much of.

These were of tasks which I considered non-tasks and would do as part of my natural self. For example, creating a report in accordance to his needs, doing a well-structured analysis, and following through with what we discussed in previous meetings.

His praises weren’t like “not bad” or “nice work” type of “non” praises. He would repeatedly say things like, “Excellent!! This is really excellent work, Celestine!!”, “Okay, now we’re talking!” (referring to how great he felt my work was), “You really exceeded my expectations,” and “This is fantastic. Terrific job Celes, really amazing work.”

During the last day of my internship (2005)

Me and my then-manager during my internship. Mosaicked his face to protect his privacy!

Shock… Then Something Else

So when I first heard his gratuitous and open praises — especially over seemingly trivial stuff (to me) — I was thrown off-guard.

I thought, Wow, seriously? Is he joking or what? I thought perhaps he was mocking me or something!

But then I looked at his face, which was filled with excitement and joy. No fakeness, no pretense, and no falsity. It was hard to think that a corporate professional and someone as senior as him would be childish as to give fake praise too.

So then I said, “Err…. okay, but this is really nothing. It’s just a simple thing.”

To which he responded, “Well, you would be surprised how many senior people my level (and beyond) can’t even do something like this right. This is really great stuff. Great job, Celestine. No, EXCELLENT job.”

This was the starting point when I thought, … Really? Excellent job… this? … Me?

Little girl, hopeful look

Being… Inspired To Be Better

My encounters with this manager marked the start of my shift towards self-acknowledgement, self-appreciation, and self-recognition.

While I had never doubted my personal ability nor potential before, I never thought that anything I did had serious merit unless I threw my entire life towards it and perhaps almost lost an arm or leg in the process. It was sort of a self-discounting mentality, where I would think there was no big deal about whatever I was doing, even if it might be a great piece of work which I invested tons of time in.

This was probably partly due to being raised in a culture where mistakes would always be highlighted and harped on all the time while good behavior was taken as the norm.

I became very motivated. It was not like I would have been any less hardworking nor committed if my manager was not him. I was already very self-initiated and highly driven at this point in my life (otherwise I wouldn’t have been chosen for my internship–perhaps more on this in a future post).

But I started to get motivation from an added source. Rather than just feel driven to be my best, I became… inspired… to be my best too.

And what’s the difference between drivenness and being inspired, you ask? Drivenness is sort of like the state of being pushed (even if internally within yourself) to do something, while being inspired is the state of being pulled, drawn, to do something.

It may sound like both are the same, and in a way they are because they both lead to the person taking action. But there’s quite a vast difference between the two, in that someone who’s driven is constantly pushing him/herself forward in a manner that may eventually lead to tediousness and a feeling of drain.

But someone who’s inspired… the possibilities are endless. His/her power is unlimited.

… The source has been activated.

Changing… for the Better

My internship and encounter with my then-manager might have been only two months, but the seeds of change had been planted.

Slowly, I became less worried about making mistakes and more open about being myself. I became less obsessed with following regulations and guidelines and more interested in understanding what was going on in the world and doing things that mattered. I became less fearful about entering a meeting and worrying that I might get pounced on by an authority figure for a mistake I missed, and more confident about my ideas, my worth, and my ability.

All in all, I began to find my footing and glow in my own light.

Girl smiling at the shore

If I look back to all the moments of and/or experiences with shaming in my childhood (luckily only restricted to my schools; my parents never treated me disrespectfully as a kid) and the fear-inducing cultures I was thrown into throughout my schooling years, none of them so much as inspired me to grow or better myself in the same way that being acknowledged/recognized (by my ex-manager) did.

Even with my primary school teacher’s slapping ritual, it was useful in that it has made me supremely cautious about not making mistakes and being immaculate in everything I do.

But… that was it. It didn’t inspire me to want to achieve greatness. It didn’t inspire to want to be better. All the shaming experiences and cultures I was put in only made me improve within the context of who I was, but not to rise above myself and become bigger than I really was.

Stop Shaming, Start Praising Instead

So what does it mean for us? It means that the next time you feel like negatively criticizing, punishing, or shaming someone (and this person can be your kid, your niece/nephew, your co-worker, your direct report, your friend, or perhaps even your partner), maybe praising is the way to go instead.

Five little steps to get started:

  1. Pinpoint mistakes as you see them, but do it constructively. Read: How To Give Constructive Criticism in 6 Steps
  2. Identify good points about the person. Compliment him/her about it. (One of PE’s readers, Alice, told me during the Edinburgh PE readers meetup that her friendship with her best friend started when she gave him a compliment to strike a conversation in doing the Kindness Challenge tasks for Day 5 (Give a Genuine Compliment to at Least 3 People) and Day 6 (Talk to Someone You Don’t Normally Talk To). How cool is that?)
  3. See the potential in him/her. Let him/her in on what you see, so that he/she can be aware of this hidden potential in him/her too.
  4. Building on #2, praise the person openly where others can witness it. Let others see the goodness of this individual too. There’s no reason why praise should only happen behind closed doors!

    More on being emotionally generous: Are You Emotionally Generous? and Day 13: A Day of Emotional Generosity of Be a Better Me in 30 Days Program.

  5. If the person reacts adversely or uncomfortably to your praises, it’s just a reflection of his/her own issues. Maybe he/she doesn’t give enough credit to him/herself (like how I was in the past) and hence feel awkward by your praises. It’s okay; simply let him/her warm up to your compliments. Continue to praise him/her without reservations, and slowly you’ll see a positive shift in his/her behavior. :)

Between shaming and praising, the world can do with less of the former and more of the latter. Enough with trying to coerce people into action through force; my challenge to you today is to inspire people — whoever it is you want to inspire — into action by using your personal power (over force).

(Read Map of Consciousness for more information about power vs. force; they represent the two broad tiers of consciousness.)

Have You Been Shamed or Praised Before?

Do you have any experiences with shaming and/or praising, be it in school, work, or home? What are they? How did you feel about them when they happened? Do share in the comments section below! :)

Image: Child on the road, Dark corridorPunishment, Little girl, Girl at shore



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  • Arnold Tse

    I study in Hong Kong where there is a shaming culture as well. Luckily, I’ve never been shamed partly because I try my best to behave myself and partly because I have only studied at international schools where teachers generally don’t shame students.

    I am worried because I know I will be shamed when I graduate and work. I will probably become a nurse and any mistake could result in someone’s death. Celes, I totally agree with you when you say we should start praising and stop shaming. Sadly, shaming seems to be the only way to prevent me from making such costly mistakes. I can’t justify myself by saying that humans are bound to make mistakes.

    Do you guys think that shaming is appropriate in such situations?

    • http://personalexcellence.co/ Celestine Chua

      Hi Arnold, thank you so much for sharing your story!

      Why would shaming be the only way to prevent you from making costly mistakes though? Do you personally think that it’s important to shame in order to be aware of the consequences (dire ones in your case) and to avoid making mistakes in the first place?

      • Arnold Tse

        Hi, Celes. Thanks for the reply. I’m glad that we could have such constructive discussions.

        To be honest, I don’t know if I believe what I wrote. I’m probably saying that so in case I do get shamed, I can just think “oh well, it was for the greater good” instead of becoming angry and trying to argue, which would make the shaming even worse.

        • http://personalexcellence.co/ Celestine Chua

          Hey Arnold! I’m glad that you recognized that you were probably giving shaming more credit than it actually deserved as a way to avoid further shaming. That’s very self-aware of you to make that realization and courageous to make that admission too.

          I think the common goal of everyone is to be our best selves and to avoid making mistakes where possible, especially costly ones. The question then is: Which is the best method to achieve that? Shaming or Praising?

          To each his own and there is no right or wrong answer, but from my own experience with both, praising has been the more empowering way forward for me, not just for myself but also when I work with my own clients. Shaming has its merits as I shared in the article and as some readers have commented, but I see them as limited merits that help one to improve within a certain context, but that’s pretty much where the merit ends.

  • Lolita

    Thanks Celes! This is one of the best posts i have read lately. I grew up in a shaming culture and it was not restricted to school. My mother would make us stay outside in the cold because we had gone out to play just to prove her point to us. My primary school was even worse. I remember being bathed infront of the whole school.l Kids who used to wet their beds would be put in a separate dorm so that others would know that they were wetting their beds! Infact there was a lot of shaming. I have experienced the same at the workplace though i recently got a manager who really praises my work. As you say, it opened me to greatness! Thank you, I will remember to pass the praises to others.

    • http://personalexcellence.co/ Celestine Chua

      Hi Lolita, I’m so glad to hear that you’ve a manager who praises your work — that sounds like my own experience back during my internship! It’s a blessing for both of you to have each other as working partners and I wish you all the best in your working journey ahead.

      And now with you passing the praises to others, you are now planting seeds for others to blossom. :D

  • Carrie Curley

    The adage “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is easy to roll of the tongue but it’s true. It also make you compassionate. Even today I could tell you 100 things wrong with me. Where I’ve failed. Where I could have done better or worked harder. But today I work every day to remember I am a child of God and He sees me as perfect. For those of us with children its that beautiful gift to do things differently.

    We are all stronger than we think. Smarter than we believe. WE ALL ARE AMAZING!

    • http://personalexcellence.co/ Celestine Chua

      Hi Carrie, I totally agree with you there! Whatever experiences I have been put through have all contributed to making me who I am today, and I’m extremely grateful for that.

      I think the other side of the story is that there are people brought up under the shaming culture who never break out of its shadow (or rather, have yet to). I work with clients, listen to readers’ cries for help, and hear my workshop participants’ stories and the limiting beliefs or personal issues they face in their life would always linked to some sort of shaming or unjustified criticisms they received earlier in their life. Such experiences have made them live under their real potential for a good part of their lives because they would have their dignity/self-worth constantly put out as a kid and never had their personal power ignited.

      • Carrie Curley

        Amen sista! It breaks my heart. I work with mostly women who want to better themselves. I do nutritional and business coaching and until they understand what they are really worth they are stuck. The hardest thing about the virtual world is not being able to give them a hug. I wonder how many they have had.

        I’m a survivor. Took me a long time to understand the victor vs victim mentality. Wasn’t pity. Almost an acceptance of my station in life. Living under that safe radar and choosing to limit myself for fear of failure. Fear in general. And now I talk to these women with huge, compassionate hearts that don’t believe they are destined to be successful in whatever way they define it.

        They drink the Kool-Aid early on but it never leaves their system. I meet them for the first time without knowing what they have been told and hear it in the way they describe themselves.

        To finally see that I am strong, smart and beautiful enough and that all of the negativity I endured was someone else’s stuff was a huge shift in my life. I want us all to have it. No matter how short you think life is, it’s shorter. I want my, your and all of our lives filled with energy, confidence and wonder.

  • Susan

    Wow Celes! This reminds me so much of my primary schooling in the US. I remember being forced to wash out dirty buckets in the janitor’s closet (in first grade) as punishment for not finishing my milk at snack time. Even at the age of 6, I knew it was absurd for adults to punish a child for not wanting to drink milk, or any other substance for that matter. Things have changed now in the US, and kids are not forced to eat or drink, but I’m sure many people have emotional scars from those awful school days. I had to laugh out load when you said you had to slap yourself in front of the class. That is so absurd that it seems funny now, although I’m sure it was not funny at the time. I can visualize it as a scene in a movie, where the audience roars with laughter at the stupidity of that bizarre cultural behavior.

    • http://personalexcellence.co/ Celestine Chua

      Hi Susan, thanks so much for sharing your story! That’s crazy that you were punished for washing those buckets just for not finishing milk!!! Was it a teacher that did that? I would think that’s totally outrageous; I’m glad things have changed now. If I’m not wrong, I think kids have quite a fair bit of rights now, don’t they? I heard something or watched something on a show before about how they can call social services if they ever feel they are being treated inappropriately by their parents.

      Re: the slapping thing, you know, interestingly I felt — at that point — that was a great way to enforce lessons and make us more vigilant about mistakes. I never saw it as humiliation but rather, very just punishment for being “stupid” and careless about mistakes. At that point I loved it whenever there were other classmates who made mistakes whereas I didn’t because it showed that I was a “good” student who was careful about mistakes and hence didn’t have to punish. I rarely had to enact the punishment because of that but when I did I did it with pride. Other kids resisted it, some (girls usually) even slapped themselves very softly (sort of like just touching their cheeks) after which the teacher would demand they do it over and over again until a slapping sound could be heard.

      It was only when I started experiencing the praise treatment and seeing the benefits that I realized, “Wow, praise is a much more powerful motivator than shaming/punishment can ever be.” (And hence what I wrote in the article.)

  • http://www.prettyawesomefitness.com/ Aqilah Norazman

    Hi Celes, wonderful article you’ve got here. I love how I can relate to most of the things you say. I did primary and secondary school in Singapore just like you did and I agreed with the shaming culture. I guess it’s the way the system works, being publicly humiliated so you avoid repeating the same mistake again. Enter high school when I moved to Sydney from SIngapore and the environment was totally different. Praises was encouraged not just amongst teachers but among students and our peers. If there was a mistake, we were taken aside to discuss how we can improve.

    I wouldn’t say that the shaming culture was all that bad though, I learned a lot about my experience in school both in Singapore and Sydney and that’s a plus point. At least I know (from my experiences and from what you’ve written) what to do when I step up onto a managerial role one day and how to treat my employees. :)

  • Madalina Sraier

    In my country, shaming is still used in schools (mostly in primary and second grades) as opposed to praise (we all know that type of comments certain teachers make: “Oh, you just don’t get i! Look, Mary understood everything.”). I think this is highly detrimental to the child’s development, self-confidence, and learning progress, because shaming isn’t something positive, so you can’t expect for it to have a positive outcome.

    Systems which use a motivating evaluation method, such as golden stars for kinder garden kids, is definitely better since it doesn’t impact their self-esteem in a negative way. After all, schools should be the place where we all discover our inner talents, potential, and dreams, but sadly that isn’t the case in many countries.

  • wanxuan

    Hi Celes,

    I also remember being called to stay outside the classroom. That was because I had fogotten to bring my homework. I was a forgetful student during primary school but I grew to be a more careful person. I still forget things sometimes but am way better now. I think Singapore’s education system is evolving. From my brief teaching stint, I know that school teachers are now not allowed to order students to stand outside the classroom because the student(s) will not be able to benefit from any classroom lesson still being taught. It only serves to make the student’s mind wander outside the classroom and make the student listen to the teacher out of fear, not love. But the teacher is still allowed to stand within the classroom. When I teach students( I am a tutor now), I find ways to “catch them when they’re good” instead, praising and rewarding good behaviour rather than punishing/shaming, which only leads to more resentment. I praise them for seemingly little things such as paying attention in class. I think (and hope) more teachers are doing that now too.

    • wanxuan

      Sorry I mean the teacher is still allowed to order the student to stand within the classroom.

    • http://personalexcellence.co/ Celestine Chua

      Hi Wanxuan, I was wondering how the SG education system has changed (if it has) while writing the article and I’m glad to hear that things have improved since my time! It’s good to know that teachers are now not allowed to have students to stand outside the classroom, and to be honest, it really did not help the students to benefit as you rightfully pointed out.

      I love how you focus on praising and rewarding your students than punishing/shaming. Your students must be really lucky to have you as their tutor!! :D

      • wanxuan87

        Hi Celes, yea my students are indeed lucky! I think so too ;) Thanks for your kind compliment!

  • http://ananthsreflections.blogspot.com thisisananth

    Hi Celes, thanks for this amazing post. The point about being driven vs inspired really hit home. Thank you.

    • http://personalexcellence.co/ Celestine Chua

      Thank you ananth! :) I’m so glad you’ve found this post helpful. Many hugs. :) *hugs*

  • JadePenguin

    The older teachers in my country did/do still have this mentality (possibly remnants of Soviet times). In kindergarten, we were all supposed to sleep in the afternoon and not allowed to talk or even sit up or we’d be moved to another room. In primary school, one English teacher basically shamed and bullied a few boys all lesson long!! Not only was she making them feel bad, she was also wasting time for everyone else!!

    I totally agree that shaming is never the way to go. You may forcefully subdue someone and make them do what you want out of fear but they’d do much better if they had positive reasons for doing so.

    However, I would not overly praise praise either. It has to be genuine and not excessive. And it has to focus on something you did well, kind of like feedback. I’ve heard that the worst thing you can tell a child is “You’re so clever” because then the child will always try to live up to that expectation and become too afraid to make mistakes (because “clever” people don’t make mistakes). So a better option would be “That was a clever way to solve that problem. Well done!” I think your manager got it right by explaining that you actually did your task really well and better than what he was used to.

  • JadePenguin

    I have a question though: what do you think about shaming companies for unethical practices? Like letting the customers of a clothes manufacturer know that they use child labour and horrible conditions, so that they’d boycott the company. Or telling people not to buy Nestlé products because they want to make profit out of drinking water while so many people are in serious lack of water, and other horrible things that IMHO violate human rights. And Shell that wants to drill in the Arctic. Gazprom who arrested 30 peaceful Greenpeace activists. Monsanto that tries to patent life. Etc etc.

    Or politicians that are corrupt through and through – you got to let the voters know not to vote for them to run the country!

    While praising the alternatives can be a better way forward, it’s also clear that these companies/people will never change their ways and the only thing we can do is make sure people don’t give them any of their money/votes.

    • http://personalexcellence.co/ Celestine Chua

      Hey Jade! I did think about that when writing the post (after all I just wrote an article about receiving really bad customer service at a local shop), and I think as long as we don’t turn to humiliation, finger-pointing, blaming, and flaming in our methods, then it shouldn’t be classified as shaming. I think there’s a healthy difference between constructive criticism and shaming and we should focus on the former since that’s more of an act of power vs. force.

      Sometimes there’s a thin line though. Like Ellen (Degeneres) once called out on this group called “One Million Moms” on her show for trying to sabotage her spokesperson deal with JC Penny because she’s… gay. While Ellen normally doesn’t pay attention to her haters, she did it here because they were understandably being bullies in their own way. One can say that Ellen was shaming them by raising them on her show, though she did it in a fairly constructive manner, focusing on the positive vs. negative.

      I watched the video before and I never thought she was trying to shame them in any way, though she did definitely seem quietly outraged that people would attempt something as ill-spirited as that (on the basis of her being gay).

      I suppose the most important guiding principle is focus on constructive discussion and constructive criticism (while calling out the parties in questions for their misdemeanors) without trying to shame or humiliate. Sometimes the line can get quite blurry, so I understand where you’re coming from!

  • Ithamar Fenerson

    You’d be surprised to learn that you are not alone in your sentiments. Shaming is still the primary method for ‘motivating’ peers in the African American culture. I believe it to be one of the primary reasons we are looked upon as being overly materialistic and image conscious. I have family and friends that literally curse their kids and even hit them in public in an effort to “teach them a lesson,” although the only lessons they teach are how to be more angry, bitter, and resentful.

    This post is a much needed wake-up call to the detrimental effects of shaming and to the importance of creating communities of love, praise, and acceptance. I am doing my part by sharing, liking, and linking from my blog. In the words of your then-manager, “Excellent!! This is really excellent work, Celestine!!”

  • Thach

    Hi Celes,
    Discipline systems in most schools are based on the need for control rather than personal development. The industry is becoming so result-oriented that the emphasis is on making students better in academics only and not as individuals.

    When a child disrupts, it challenges the order, and then it becomes a battle of control between student and educator. Often times, educators have a tendency to force their “baggage” on students, and thus they are shamed. And at times, students are also subjected to judgment.

    I agree that educators should be more encouraging, and at the same time, it is important to be firm when the time calls for it. (Students also bring “baggage” to school from home.) It has to be done with the child’s progress solely in mind. Schools should work on creating a positive and healthy environment for students.

    As a teacher myself, I have progressed through various stages of discipline. When I started out, I was really young and I must add that I didn’t have the best ways of handling discipline at the very beginning. I progressed as a teacher as I progressed as a person. Now, I am careful not to force my “baggage” on my students. I avoid unnecessary advice or telling them the kind of person whom I think they are.

    I am careful as for what I say because I don’t want to leave a scar that might remain in their conscience for the next 20-30 or more years and be the reason why they cannot do certain things or even get started.