My article last week that discussed whether of not particular school discipline procedures were a breach of students’ human rights, I didn’t even think to comment on corporal punishment.

Why would I? It’s not relevant these days is it?

So what to make of the fact that last week, Dr Kevin Donnelly stated that, as long as the school community supported it, he would be in favour of corporal punishment?

“So long as it’s done properly.” Whatever that means.

Many commentators have dismissed this as the ramblings of an out-of-touch educator who is just seeking to make headlines, but the fact remains he is one of two men the Federal Government tasked with reviewing the Australian Curriculum.

In order to distance itself, a spokesman for the government said Dr Donnelly was undertaking “a review of the national curriculum which has nothing to do with managing student behaviour.”

This statement – in my opinion – only serves to highlight a common myth in education that is that curriculum and behaviour management should be considered in isolation.

What is taught, when and how it is taught, assessed and reported are the key pillars of the curriculum and in many cases, one or more of these cause or compound behaviour issues in school.

It will be interesting to see what recommendations the government receive.

Hopefully the recommendations will not be as out-of-touch as the suggestion that it’s OK to hit kids. Having said that, I do predict some – shall we say – robust discussion.

Author: Dan Haesler is a teacher, consultant and speaker at the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Young People seminars. His website is: and he tweets at @danhaesler