Philippine Educators, The Real Question Is Do We Need Tulfo To Tell Us What Is Wrong

There is a channel on YouTube, called "Raffy Tulfo in Action" that has millions of subscribers in the Philippines. The program often covers issues and activities that are of interest to the public. It goes without saying that the program has the same sensational flavor as a syndicated tabloid talk show like that of Jerry Springer in the United States. Recently, a video of Tulfo won the ire of so many. The episode garnering so much attention makes public a grandmother's complaint about how her grandchild was treated in school by a teacher.

One of the comments goes like this: "Let’s dislike this video as a form of protest. We shouldn’t let this slide. Let’s call everyone to dislike. Today’s kids have no discipline because of these kinds of parents. Your kids reflect the kind of discipline you show your kid."

The site Rachfeed had the following to say with regard to the reaction of the Philippine public:

Above copied from Rachfeed

The school is a place where our children learn. And children learn most of the time not from what we say but from what we do. Corporal punishment should never be acceptable in any school. In the United States, pediatricians have made their stand clear on this issue:

"The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends healthy forms of discipline, such as positive reinforcement of appropriate behaviors, limit setting, redirecting, and setting future expectations. The AAP recommends that parents do no use spanking, hitting, slapping, threatening, insulting, humiliating, or shaming."

Young children copy what we adults do. When we hit little children it sends the wrong signal that it is acceptable to assault others. When we shame little children it teaches their young minds that it is alright to shame an individual. When we resort to negative disciplinary measures what we are really reinforcing on a child's mind is the concept of power, and not what is right and what is wrong. Negative disciplinary measures, of course, still exist even in the United States. And it is not a mere coincidence that these harmful punishments are frequently applied to minority children, to the disabled, in other words, to the weak or powerless.

The state of Illinois has just banned the use of seclusion rooms for disciplining students. ProPublica Illnois reports, "Many of the isolated timeout incident reports we read — some 50,000 pages — included what happened to children in seclusion, often in their own words as school employees kept moment-by-moment logs. The children, most of them with disabilities, begged to be let out, cried for their parents, expressed despair. We included their quotes throughout our story. We thought it was crucial that their voices be heard."

Above copied from
ProPublica Illinois

I am a teacher. Most students who take the courses we offer in our Department work in a laboratory. These laboratory courses require each student to wear eye protection. If a student comes to class without eye protection, what action should an instructor take?
  1. Send the student home
  2. Force the student to sit in a chair in a hallway (Similar to what was described in Tulfo's episode)
  3. Lend a protective eyewear to the student so the student does not miss class.
Only the third option in the above list makes sense. And it makes sense not simply because we are not taking away from a student the opportunity to learn. More importantly, we are teaching the virtue of being kind and considerate. There are plenty of lessons out there on how to be mean. Sadly, there are only a few that show how to be kind. I think this is the saddest part about Tulfo's video. It seems we do need Tulfo to help us see what is wrong. Making a tabloid video that forces a teacher to lose his or her job is not right. However, hurting or shaming a child is never right. That is the tragic part. We actually need a tabloid to tell us that.