Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Non-Corporal Punishment, Written Impositions and a Trip Back to The West End

I had hoped to upload some more scans today - as outlined in my last posting - but typically I have been scuppered. I have to travel back to London's West End again - more specifically, to New Oxford Street. The reason? Although the new 'Net Book' computer I purchased yesterday worked well enough (though I still have to really get to grips with it) upon my arrival at home, when I went to put it on charge, I discovered the mains lead for its charger to be missing...AAAARRRGGH!!!! The scans would take a while to upload and I am in a bit of a rush. But as they were to be of pages of text on the subject of non-corporal punishment and discipline - punitive and procedural written impositions et al - and taking into account the comment I mentioned in my last communication, I thought I would quickly post up a couple of snippets of my own stuff from the new volume I have been working on (the prequel / in-between volume I have told you about in the past). It is all at a very early stage, you must understand, but hopefully you'll get a flavour - it needs a lot more work!
PS: I have also added a new blog I have just come across to the sidebar blog list. Called The Headmaster's study, you can reach it by clicking on the pic above right or check out the sidebar blog role.

A Couple of Snippets
...she was to copy out a multiplication table; it was totally spurious and being purely of the research workers’ devising, bore scant resemblance to any truth or logic. The detailed make up of each such table she would subsequently be obliged to learn would be just as random - being computer-generated. In this way with each imposition or learning task having virtually guaranteed mutual exclusivity from any previous work, there was nothing that might constitute a pattern that could be discerned and that might allow the more astute girl to benefit from her previous impositions by easing the take up and recall of the new.

Rote learning and recital were the key principles in force here. Though those faceless individuals in charge of the place, on setting up the regime, would have known only too well that such ritualistic learning by memorizing was not the optimal learning method, since it focuses only on the transfer of information and misses the purpose of learning, it mattered not. Learning was not of primary concern here in any case. The true raison d'être, as with everything else this small, select unhappy band of young women were exposed to - be it the cruel social seclusion of the no talking rule, the personality-submerging restriction of the stifling and humiliatingly juvenile school uniform or the seemingly ever more petty and never-ending lists of rules and regulations which had to be adhered to and repeated verbatim at the drop of a hat – was discipline, pure and simple.

And that requirement for discipline was served well by the need to keep up, to concentrate; not only on recording the dictation, but doing so without recourse to correction - and while maintaining a near perfect copper-plate hand. It denied even the brightest among them sufficient pause as to press into employment any learning and recall strategies she might have picked up through her past academic endeavours. Indeed, there was insufficient mental freedom allowed them as to consider anything else; it kept them grounded within their physical surrounds, the escape of daydreams, of imagination, of wonder, was barred them at every turn.
To young Lavinia Vitesse none of this was entirely new, of course. But even so, there had been changes-a-plenty in her absence, far reaching changes, changes going far beyond the outward appearance of the girls themselves – though the new uniform was a drastic enough departure in itself...

...“Ok, girls, fingertips on shoulders, elbows smartly out to the sides. Not like that, 16S, you stupid girl! That's better, elbows right back, nice and tight. Now, class, I'm glad to report that every one of you finally managed to get through your multiplication tables successfully in the last session. There were one or two stumbles and corrections, to be sure, but generally I'm satisfied that you finally have them drummed into those thick heads of yours.”

Six pairs of wide eyes stared fixedly ahead, locked on to the white board or more accurately, the long, thin, tapering cane that hung along side it; near-on one and one half metres of whippy white-plastic perfection, capable, under expert wielding, of a finely resolved and graduated chastisement, from the faintest, stingily-pink, lines, through raised and purpling wheals of throbbing agony to the actual splitting of velvet peach pink flesh, drawn drum-tight through hairpin-bent, ankle-grasping and straight-legged stance...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My idea would be to have a class of fully uniformed adult schoolgirls chanting - individually or all together - the forty-seven-and-a-quarter times table; starting with one-quarter forty-seven-and-a-quarters are eleven-and-thirteen-sixteenths; one-half forty-seven-and-a-quarters are twenty-three-and-five-eighths; and concluding with (say) forty-seven-and-a-quarter forty-seven-and-a-quarters are two-thousand-and-thirty-two-and-nine-sixteenths.

There would have to be some corporal penalty for those who did not manage the task. Let us say one-quarter stroke of the cane for each mistake, or from the point where they just got totally lost. A ptential forty seven and a quarter strokes.

Pedants might claim that you cannot have a quarter stroke of the cane.

Not so. Odd quarters, halfs or three-quarters are represented by one two or three whcks with a hairbrush kept in the classroom purely for that purpose. These whacks are applied to the bare bottom over teacher's knee - thoguh the caning itself may be on the uniform knickers.