The TES is reporting that, according to the British Psychological Society, teachers who avoid physical contact with their students are causing them harm.
Refusing to touch pupils during day-to-day classroom interactions is a form of child abuse, psychologists have said.
Members of the British Psychological Society (BPS) have said that teachers who do not touch children when they are happy, upset or worried could cause harm, hampering pupils’ development.
“What’s missing is a recognition of how important touch is,” said child psychologist Sean Cameron. “And that withholding touch is, in itself, a form of psychological abuse.”
The psychologists said that they wanted schools to change their attitudes towards physical contact with students. In particular, they have called for schools to explain to parents that touch is not only necessary, but an integral part of the teacher-pupil relationship.
Touch plays a vital role in children’s brain development, according to Professor Francis McGlone, head of affective neuroscience at Liverpool John Moores University.
“Touch isn’t just good – it’s absolutely essential,” he said. “Denying it is like denying a child oxygen. I get very exercised about the demonisation of touch. It’s cruel, in my mind. It’s another form of abuse.
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