Teacher slammed for improper punishments

LEAVE THEM KIDS ALONE::The executive director of the Humanistic Education Foundation said the punishments meted out by the teacher amounted to bullying

By Rachel Lin and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Sun, Dec 23, 2012 - Page 3

A teacher at the Taipei Municipal Tianmu Elementary School on Friday was criticized by the Humanistic Education Foundation for inappropriately punishing a student.

At a press conference on Friday, the foundation played a tape of the female teacher, surnamed Hung (洪), chastising a student, surnamed Chen (陳).

“You are the worst kind of student ... How anyone can have a child like you is beyond imagination. You are a disgrace to your parents,” Hung was recorded as saying.

The tape also caught Hung asking Chen seven times when he would be submitting copies of the lesson text, as well demanding that classmates ignore Chen.

Three classmates who disregarded the teacher’s demands were also punished by being forced to copy out lesson texts.

According to Chen’s father, Hung told his son to copy out the text of one entire lesson as a punishment for running in the hallway and inappropriate physical interaction with classmates during class.

When the younger Chen failed to do so, Hung increased the severity of the punishment, telling him to copy the text of 16 lessons.

Chen’s father said his son did well in school and was also an active participant in after-school activities, adding that his son said the whole punishment came about after a classmate leaned over to ask about the school basketball team.

Chen’s father said his son was only walking quickly in the hallway, adding that his son did not feel like he deserved the punishment.

The punishment would have taken eight hours to finish, Chen’s father said, adding he had asked his son to make the recording after Hung had chastised his son for the first time.

Chen’s father did not expect Hung would chastise his son for two days in a row.

Foundation executive director Joanna Feng (馮喬蘭) said whether the punishment was educational was doubtful and the demand for the class to ignore Chen was a form of bullying.

It is unbecoming for a teacher to act in this manner and the school should immediately dismiss Hung, she said, calling for the city government’s Bureau of Education to launch an investigation into the case.

The school principal, Wang Hui-chu (王慧珠), offered an apology at the press conference after listening to the tape.

The punishment meted out for the offense was suitable, but increasing the number of times students should copy the text and extending the punishment to others was inappropriate, Wang said, adding that the school would seek to address the issue of inappropriate speech of its teachers.

Later on Friday, the school held an education committee meeting in which school authorities decided that Hung could continue to teach her original class, but would now be advised by more senior teachers.

The committee also decided that the school would pick a time for Hung to publicly apologize to Chen and his father.

The committee also said that teachers would randomly drop in on Hung’s class to observe her teaching and monitor the interaction between Hung and her students.

Additional reporting by Chiu Shao-wen