The Instigator
swimmer825
Con (against)
Losing
14 Points
The Contender
Maikuru
Pro (for)
Winning
25 Points

Punishing a group for an individual's actions

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/26/2009 Category: Education
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 10,373 times Debate No: 8418
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (10)
Votes (7)

 

swimmer825

Con

My opinion is that punishing a group of people as a whole for the actions of an individual or multiple individuals is never the right choice especially in an educational setting.

My stance on this issue is based off of previous experiences as a student when multiple times a teacher punished the entire class for the actions of an individual.

I believe that this form of punishment is ineffective because the majority of the cases the person or persons who misbehaved simply did not care about the repercussions of their actions.

Also the person or persons who misbehave believe that there is nothing wrong with the entire class being punished because they would be punished anyway so why shouldn't the rest of the class do it with them.
Maikuru

Pro

Thanks to swimmer825 for starting this debate. As a former middle school teacher, I was often the one punishing my entire class for the actions of a few students. Now is my chance to defend myself haha.

My stance is that it is sometimes right to punish a group of people for the actions of an individual or multiple individuals. Given the framing of Con's position, I will limit my arguments to an educational setting (within the U.S.). There seems to be only one word that may pose an issue here, so I offer the following definition:

- Right: suitable, appropriate [1]

I'll start with arguments in favor of my position, followed by a rebuttal of Con's case.

1. Certain actions (e.g. throwing objects, assaulting others) are absolutely unacceptable within the classroom and must always lead to reprimands. Since it is impossible for a teacher to identify the perpetrator of every misdeed, it is sometimes necessary to punish the entire class as a sign of the action's inappropriateness. To allow the act to go unpunished only encourages students to perform it when the teacher is unaware.

2. If students are aware that misdeeds will lead to class-wide punishments, they are encouraged to do their part to prevent such misdeeds. For example, if a student witnesses their classmate doing something wrong, they are more likely to try and stop them if they may be punished as well. The alternative results in an every-man-for-himself attitude that does little to maintain good conduct.

3. A class must often act as a single unit (e.g. moving between rooms, assembly functions). During these times, it can be impossible to punish individual students without disrupting the entire activity. Imagine trying to reprimand three talkative students while trying to move a class of 30 down the hall. A teacher cannot divide their attention in these circumstances without causing additional problems, and thus must penalize the class as a whole.

::Rebuttals::

Con claims class-wide punishments are ineffective because the problem student doesn't care about the repercussions on them or their classmates. However, such indifference doesn't mean the student should go unpunished. Certain acts must be shown to be unacceptable, regardless of whether or not the guilty party can be identified.

We've got 5 rounds so I'll stop here for now. I await my opponent's response.

::References::

1. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
Debate Round No. 1
swimmer825

Con

I agree with the definition and i would like to thank you for clarifying that.

I will start off by addressing my opponents arguments.

1. In a classroom setting of about 30 students there has to be at least one person who saw the incident who could report the perpetrator to the teacher. Also my opponent said that allowing acts to be unpunished would lead to more misbehavior, however I have noticed that in a classroom setting the cause for misbehavior is lack of respect or lack of interest in the class. Likewise is the correlation that i have noticed in classes where group punishment is used, when group punishment is used the majority of students respect the teacher less and have less overall interest.

2. I am in multiple classes where group punishment is used and it does not serve as a deterrent to potential misbehavior. If anything people find it amusing to have the entire class be punished with them. Also at a middle school or even high school level for that matter the advice of a peer not to misbehave has little effect.

3. I understand that classes many time act as a single unit but immediate punishment is not always the best answer, perhaps in that kind of situation it would be best to punish the students misbehaving once you are not moving between class rooms or at an assembly.
Maikuru

Pro

I thank swimmer825 for his prompt reply.

1. Necessary for Order

My opponent claims there are always witnesses to classroom wrongdoing, so blanket punishment is unnecessary. However, anyone who has ever been a student understands that ‘tattling' is not a common occurrence and students are often unwilling to disclose that information. When a serious wrong has been committed and some punishment must be administered, it would be irresponsible for a teacher to ignore the incident and thus encourage future wrongdoing.

Con also states that the use of group punishments negatively influence class interest and respect for the teacher. Firstly, I am only advocating the use of class-wide punishments following serious wrongs or when neglecting to do so would create greater problems. Secondly, a student's frustration lies equally on the guilty student, increasing the likelihood that they will do what they can to stop future misbehavior (see 2). Thirdly, allowing misbehavior to go unpunished is the quickest way to lose one's authority and is far more damaging to a teacher's image than enforcing class-wide restrictions.

2. Acts as a Deterrent

Con claims his own experiences have shown class-wide punishments to be ineffective deterrents. Despite the fact that my own experiences as both a student and a teacher would disagree, he is also at odds with the social sciences. According to both Piaget and Kohlberg, the actions of school-age children are driven largely by obedience to authority members and self-preservation [1][2]. As I observed numerous times with my class, group punishments effectively decreased misbehavior by appealing to my students' sense of self-protection and respect for my status in the classroom.

3. The Class as a Unit

My opponent suggests teachers punish individual trouble-makers some time after the class has completed its group activity. However, an established trait of effective teachers is their immediate and decisive response to misbehavior [3]. Punishing a student in the future for some wrong they are doing now lessens the impact of the reprimand and does nothing to stop their actions in the present. By delivering the penalty right away, teachers can halt the misbehavior and retain control of the situation.

::Rebuttals::

My opponent has not addressed his original point on punishment ineffectiveness. I will consider this argument dropped until it is addressed again.

::References::

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://faculty.plts.edu...
3. http://www.sjsu.org...
Debate Round No. 2
swimmer825

Con

I apologize for the inconvenience but i will not be able to continue our debate because I must study for finals at school.

But to restate my opinion, I believe that group punishment can be avoided by stronger individual punishments and is an ineffective type of punishment.
Maikuru

Pro

I thank my opponent for notifying myself and the audience about his circumstances. In case he is able to return later to complete the debate, I will simply extend my arguments for this round.

Good luck with your finals =D
Debate Round No. 3
swimmer825

Con

swimmer825 forfeited this round.
Maikuru

Pro

My arguments extend.
Debate Round No. 4
swimmer825

Con

swimmer825 forfeited this round.
Maikuru

Pro

I'm saddened that my opponent was not able to return and continue the debate, but I thank him for his participation.

I have shown that group punishments are often necessary to maintain order, act as an effective deterrent for school-age children, and is actually the preferred method of punishment during class-wide activities. While Con claims superior alternatives exist, he has proved us with none. Seeing as Con has failed in presenting an adequate case and has offered no rebuttal to my previous arguments, I strongly urge a Pro vote!

Thanks for reading =D
Debate Round No. 5
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Maikuru 5 years ago
Maikuru
Thank you for taking the time to review such an old debate. It's too bad about the forfeits, though.

I happen to agree with your customer-employee explanation, to an extent. I often liken the U.S. educational system to a gym membership in terms of general goals, responsibility, and the roles of the individuals involved. That said, I see no reason why "punishment" should not be an aspect of the teacher-student (or, in general, customer-employee) relationship.

As with any institution, those who provide a service are dependent on those who would pay for the service. However, they are also free to establish appropriate guidelines within their institutions to ensure an atmosphere and clientele of their liking. After all, as you implied, the customers (i.e. students) are free to take their patronage elsewhere if they are not pleased with their options or interactions.

I too believe that teachers and professors should "do what they are paid to do," a large part of which includes maintaining an environment conducive to learning. Punishment, be it group or individual, is a necessary part of such maintenance. This dynamic is true for every established institution, academic or otherwise.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Maikuru, a point to note regarding group punishments is that it results in students being punished for no fault of their's. Maybe it works as a deterrent but the likelihood of an innocent student getting punished is too high. If there are 20 students in the class and one of them makes a mistake, then punishing the other 19 as well is unfair to them. They have no capability to stop the wrongdoer. This makes group punishment unjust.

My position is that all "punishment" should be outlawed in schools because the discipline of a child is the responsibility of the parents, not the school. Especially in private schools, where the parents pay to enroll their children, if the students comes late to class, or does not do their homework, it is their money and their parent's money that is being wasted. That is punishment enough. Teachers should have absolutely no right or responsibility to enforce discipline. Students are the customers, teachers are the employees. That relationship must be kept in mind by the teachers while teaching. I believe that as a society, we are made to believe that the student-teacher relationship is different from that of a customer-employee relationship.

This is even more true for college students than for high schools. Teachers and professors should just do what they are paid to do and stop acting as if they have a right to "punish" students. Anyway, regardless of my position, if punishment absolutely has to occur, then I believe it should be given to the guilty individual.
Posted by Maikuru 7 years ago
Maikuru
You raise some good points, Gallifery, and have given me something to think about. Welcome to DDO =)
Posted by Gallifery 7 years ago
Gallifery
Pro stated quote: "I have shown that group punishments are often necessary to maintain order, act as an effective deterrent for school-age children, and is actually the preferred method of punishment during class-wide activities. While Con claims superior alternatives exist, he has proved us with none. Seeing as Con has failed in presenting an adequate case and has offered no rebuttal to my previous arguments, I strongly urge a Pro vote!"

Working in Law Enforcement since 1994 gives me some insight on this. For starters Group Punishment is illegal period. The Supreme Court decided that prisoners cannot be punished as a group for what one does. This would also apply to any other setting outside of criminal court. Example: Teacher punishing a group of students for what one does.

Group Punishment is a Civil Rights Violation according to the High Court and anyone practicing this form of Punishment is guilty of it and can be taken to Federal Court. I am just amazed that a teacher would be for Group Punishment Pro. One day you will get the right parent like me who will take you to Court and you will not be teaching ever again.
Posted by Maikuru 7 years ago
Maikuru
Thank you for the review =D
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
Defaulted PRO due to forfeits.
Posted by Maikuru 7 years ago
Maikuru
I joined Teach for America right after graduation and started teaching middle school science in Philadelphia.

Thank you both for taking the time to check out a forfeited debate =D
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
wjmelements
Defaulted PRO due to forfeits.
Posted by MTGandP 7 years ago
MTGandP
"As a former middle school teacher"
You were teaching middle school before you were 23?
Posted by Maikuru 7 years ago
Maikuru
Mongeese?

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7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
swimmer825MaikuruTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro's arguments were stronger as he points out that it acts as a deterrent and points out that it meshes well with the class working as a unit. Conduct due to forfeit.
Vote Placed by Officialjake 6 years ago
Officialjake
swimmer825MaikuruTied
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Vote Placed by philosphical 7 years ago
philosphical
swimmer825MaikuruTied
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Vote Placed by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
swimmer825MaikuruTied
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Vote Placed by tribefan011 7 years ago
tribefan011
swimmer825MaikuruTied
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Vote Placed by wjmelements 7 years ago
wjmelements
swimmer825MaikuruTied
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Vote Placed by Maikuru 7 years ago
Maikuru
swimmer825MaikuruTied
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