Of crime and ducks



When I was at primary school, the principal had a leather belt hanging on the wall for any miscreant students to ‘meet’ if they had been bad. Such was the life of a school boy 25 years ago. Now with corporal punishment being ruled out, and  alternatives have been found. Even in Korea this is the case. Though, old-time teachers have been known to hit their students, with bamboo sticks or even open hands.

The classic Korean style punishment takes many forms. Ranging from holding books aloft for as long at the students’ arms hold out to standing or squatting like a sprinter in the starters blocks, in the corridor to (what I’ve seen at Middle and High schools) writing out a letter of explanation and apology. All stock standard stuff. The funniest type of punishment I’ve seen meted out is the duckwalk. Looking it up on youtube I find it as either a common exercise or, in the case of my video, a punishment dealt out to wayward students.

I would be teaching class when this goes on, with shuffling and murmurs of agonst from the students. I poke my head out the door of the English centre, rather theatrically, smile quizzically at the students and usher them on with a wave of my hand. It’s all very funny to me.

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4 Responses

  1. They had the duck punishment at the school I worked at. I once saw a class made to do that all the way around the playground. Punishments involving PE are always the best – burns off all that youthful energy in a useful way. Doesn’t work with those special sports students who get to skip classes because they’re on a path to become soccer stars or whatever. I remember once making the whole class do star jumps as a punishment and this one kid who was doing a baseball curriculum thought it was the best English class he ever had.

    • I would have loved to hae seen a whole class do the duck walk around the playground. It would have been a gasser!

      As for the ‘jocks’ all I can say is brains are forever.

  2. So are you saying Korea has finally done away with using the cane?

    • Not done away with but more of a reformist attitude. You still hear stories of teachers strashing the ring out of students, but the newer batch of KET’s tends to go for the softly-softly approach.

      When I teach solo (which does happen occaussionally) I choose this tact too, as it’s less stress on myself.

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