December 17, 1998
Mr. Jordan Riak
Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education
P.O. Box 1033
Alamo, CA 94507-7033
Dear Mr. Riak:
Dean Manuel Justiz referred to me your recent letter inquiring how teacher certification candidates at the University of Texas at Austin are prepared with regard to corporal punishment in the schools. While you are correct that corporal punishment is legal in Texas, our teacher preparation program focuses on other, more effective methods of discipline and motivation. Educationalresearch has consistantly shown corporal punishment not to be effective and so we do not recommend or teach "how to do it" in our program. This message is consistantly provided throughout our program, and it is in accord with the policies of the schools in which our students observ and practice teaching. The principal course in which this topic is addressed is EDC 331, Classroom Management and School Organization. Two of our faculty members who teach sections of this class have authored textbooks which are commonly used in this course. Professor Edmund Emmer co-authored Classroom Management for Elementary Teachers and Classroom Management for Secondary Teachers, and Professor Gary Borich wrote Effective Teaching Methods. Other textbooks used in the course are Looking in Classrooms by Good and Brophy and Building Classroom Discipline by Charles. All of these texts document the relative ineffectiveness as well as the negative consequences of corporal punishment. So in answer to your specific questions, I must say that our graduates have been taught not to use corporal punishment in schools. I hope that this reply is clear and suffices. Please feel free to contact me if you desire more information about our teacher certification program.
Lawrence D. Abraham, Ed.D.
Associate Dean for Teacher Education and Student Affairs