No harm done by 'tough love'

8th August 2008 at 01:00

Corporal punishment is outlawed in Japanese schools, but many parents turn a blind eye to the practice. Forty per cent of people in Japan believe that a slap to the face is acceptable "tough love" for pupils, a survey shows.

Indeed, a majority of respondents called for more such punishment. It is probably no coincidence that those same people said they had received physical punishment at school. Presumably, they would say, it never did them any harm.

Some respondents went further: they said that acceptable punishment included jabs to the head, throwing chalk, being made to run around the playground and even pulling hair.

Another possible punishment was making the children sit for hours kneeling on the floor with their legs folded underneath their thighs. This is also the traditional position taken by samurai as they committed hara-kiri.

Happily, there was no support from the parents of Japan for that particular form of punishment.

Fee, fi, fo. ?

Parents of university students these days often complain about the minimal amount of time dedicated to lectures and tutorials received by their children. They should relax, according to an informant from a tertiary establishment dedicated to teacher training in the west of Scotland. Apparently, such students are benefiting from the latest educational studies which suggest they derive greater educational advantage from a research-based model of learning called "fo-fo".

The new system places the burden of learning on the student, who will research, investigate and report back entirely on his or her own initiative. In other words, "F*** off, find out", to explain the acronym more fully.

Chuffed to be chief

Most headteachers are kept busy driving up standards and worrying about getting their exam results. We have yet to hear of a Scottish dominie who has taken on the kind of extra duties that Doncaster head David Rowsell, of All Saints School, has - as an African chief.

Mr Rowsell has been named Chief Angu Keba I in a ceremony of thanks for kitting out Akodzo School in Tema Newtown, Ghana, with computers.

"They made me progress chief, because of the work we've done. So technically, I'm an African chief," he told The Star in Sheffield. "But you don't have chiefs unless they have someone to do the work, and our staff and pupils have been outstanding in making this project happen. I don't know if they make people chiefs on a regular basis, but I'm really honoured."

Mr Rowsell was one of four staff and 10 pupils to visit Ghana. Mark Ibberton, an IT teacher, set up the 11 laptops that put the Ghanaian school online for the first time.

We look forward to a whole host (or should that be tribe?) of chiefs across Scotland, once our own former chief of state, Jack McConnell, settles in as British High Commissioner.

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