ERIC Number: EJ1211360
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019-Mar
Abstractor: As Provided
Shaming School Children: A Violation of Fundamental Rights?
Goodman, Joan F.; Cook, Britiny Iris
Theory and Research in Education, v17 n1 p62-81 Mar 2019
Children in schools are often shamed, at times intentionally, sometimes inadvertently. The question we pose is whether this practice violates their fundamental human rights, in particular that of freedom. Arguably, because of their limited capacities and dependent status what children require is protection rather than rights. Yet, children are not just a collection of needs requiring care; they are also apprentices to adulthood holding 'rights-in-trust'. We confront the conflict through the following: (1) clarify the slippery term shame and its corollaries humiliation, embarrassment, and guilt; (2) illustrate school shaming practices with a focus on No Excuses charter management organizations; (3) review empirical and theoretical appraisals of shaming; (4) suggest that the concept of human dignity, upon which human rights rest, creates a moral barrier limiting the permissibility of shaming; (5) it follows schools should foster children's dual rights, welfare, and freedom/autonomy, with a consciousness of freedom as the eventual and pre-eminent goal; (6) in conclusion, shame -- a disparagement of the other by a person in authority that is both intended and received as such -- is almost never justified as a disciplinary technique. It shrinks the self and immobilizes action. Discipline through guilt inducement is far preferable because its target is an act, not the person, and it motivates reparation. Schools are therefore obliged to abolish shaming practices, in so far as they can, and search for disciplinary alternatives; we offer an approach.
Descriptors: Childrens Rights, Freedom, Punishment, Anxiety, Charter Schools, Discipline Policy, Human Dignity, Child Welfare
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A