Susan J. Walz

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Mary Cain

Second Advisor

Dr. Dorothy Bladt

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert Brasher

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


A traditional method of correcting errant behavior of young children has been the use of corporal punishment in the home and 'in loco parentis' in our public schools. Corporal punishment as a disciplinary method, stands on historical precedent and continued social practice, having found its way to America as part of Old World tradition and Puritan theology.

In an attempt to assess current opinion regarding corporal punishment in the schools, a twenty-two-item questionnaire, based on contemporary child development theory, was developed. Responses of two hundred eighty-one teachers and student teachers were studied for the purpose of finding differences in various sub-sets of professionals and pre-professionals in Southwest Michigan.

Data gathered indicate a shift toward more positive methods of classroom discipline from those less humane. In comparison with earlier studies, there is more objection to the use of corporal punishment than there has been in the past; however, agreement with the use of physical force as a disciplinary technique still exists.

No significant difference between the opinions of teachers and opinions of student teachers was found. There was, however, a significant difference in the opinions of male and female subjects; males had less objection to corporal punishment.