ERIC Number: ED252451
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Student Discipline in Colonial America.
Petry, John R.
The basis for the severe discipline imposed on school children in colonial America, especially in the Puritan colonies, was the belief in original sin. The child was regarded as being born in sin and thus depraved and prone to sin. The purpose of education was to enable children to read the Bible and thus change the behavior which otherwise would lead to damnation. The Puritan teacher was to apply constant discipline so that the ways of the child, characterized by idleness and foolish talking, would give way to the disciplined behavior that was the sign of the elect. Children were expected to act as adults and the rules they were expected to adhere to were strict, leaving little leeway for play or joyfulness. Harsh punishments for minor infractions were common. Beatings and other forms of corporal punishment occurred regularly; one legislator even suggested capital punishment for children's misbehavior. Religious instruction was an integral part of the curriculum. While the extreme disciplinary measures of the colonial period have disappeared, concepts of thrift, the involvement of government in public education, hard work, moralism, and separation of church and state have remained to influence contemporary society. (IS)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Puritanism; United States
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Studies Association (San Francisco, CA, November 8, 1984).