New measures taken in schools to improve teacher-student relations
It is not the first time that Zhao Xiaobin, a grade-four pupil of Guangrao First Experiment Primary School, is late for school.
Yet to his surprise, the teacher does not order him to stand against the wall as punishment or produce a written guarantee as usual, but offers him a list of choices to "pay for his deeds."
The ten-year-old boy finally chooses to sing a song before the class and all his classmates are also happy to see this sort of punishment.
This is a new attempt of school discipline maintenance in this primary school in China's eastern province of Shandong.
The pupils who break the rules will receive a "multiple-choice ticket" from the school, including guessing a riddle, singing a song and reciting some well-known sayings of celebrities.
"The pupil can not choose the same punishing item when he breaks the rules next time, and that is to say the more frequently they misbehave themselves, the less choices they will have," said the school headmaster Wang Yuhui.
Wang said this sort of punishment is more acceptable to the pupils, compared with corporal punishment, which was often used by the teachers in the past.
"Before the new method was introduced, pupils tended to be more unruly and even hostile when I tried to discipline them. But now they are more self-disciplined," said a senior teacher with the primary school.
This type of reform has also been carried out in major cities in China.
In the city of Qingdao students can apply for holding a hearing if they consider the punishment from the school unacceptable.
Zhai Guangshun, an official with the local education bureau, said the students can submit their application within three days after receiving the punishment and the schools should hold the hearing within seven days.
In China's central city of Wuhan, the 20th Middle School stipulates that students who break the rules can select the ways of their punishment through consulting with their teachers and parents.
In China's rural areas, many teachers employ corporal punishment on their students. Though conditions are better than in urban areas, students are also asked to stand against the wall or copy down their texts when they misbehave.
In early 2005, the Ministry of Education issued documents strictly prohibited corporal punishment. Currently, many schools in China are taking steps to improve the relations between students and teachers.
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