Current Institutional Affiliation
Visiting Lecturer, Department of Education, University of Cape Town

Award Information

Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa: Doctoral Dissertation Completion Fellowship 2015
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Department of Education, University of Cape Town
Corporal punishment: cultural-historical practices of a South African primary school teachers

Teachers in South African schools continue to use corporal punishment, despite its legal abolition 18 years ago. Anecdotal evidence suggests that teachers, particularly those who have been culturally exposed to corporal punishment, believe that corporal punishment is the only effective mode of disciplining children. Drawing on Vygotsky's Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT), the study seeks to understand how cultural-historical genesis of higher psychological functions can explain the continuing use of corporal punishment in schools. A qualitative methodology, with in-depth observations and interviews was used at a public primary school in rural Mpumalanga, where teachers, parents and learners participated in the study. Data is analysed thematically, within the CHAT framework to address the question: What cultural-historical processes account for the continuing use of corporal punishment in schools? The study will inform culturally appropriate intervention strategies to reduce the use of corporal punishment. Ethics and validity are considered essential constructs for this study