The medieval debate over "the rule of the rod"

Debate over corporal punishment in schools continues to this day, but new research by Dr Ben Parsons, of the University of Leicester, shows that the debate is an old one. In his project, Discipline and Violence in the Medieval Classroom, Parsons examines writings from the Middle Ages and concludes that corporal punishment was not necessarily the rule of the day.

Parsons' research reveals that "the picture of 'unremitting brutality' put forward by Renaissance writers such as Erasmus, Roger Ascham and Michel de Montaigne is not consistent with medieval accounts of school discipline," but rather was used as a learning aid, and was "withdrawn when things are done as required."