This was declared anonymously by one of the students in a students’ staff meeting. “Everyone scolds us”, was a wake-up call for me. Why did that statement and perception come among the students?

I decided to do a fact check myself. I work in a small dental school having about 300 students. I can be present at many of the learning sessions, face-to-face and online. There are instances during student clinical session where an occasional student is pulled up once a while, by the clinical supervisors or clinic staff. The reason is usually related to patient safety or professionalism issues. In large classroom lecture settings, it is mostly a firm request for more student participation and engagement. Objectively, I evaluated that not everybody scolds students, there are instances of scolding.

I talked to some students on this comment. Objectively, I am right. However, I was more interested in students’ perceptions. These are the insights I learned.

Scolding is a universal tool used since ages by various cultures to bring compliance and obedience, fast and efficiently. It is used by persons who have the power, in this context, the teachers and elders scold students. Scolding is perceived as showing care in many cultures, have you ever questioned your dad or mom who scolded you? I thought that they were right and had a right over me.

Scolding is never a tool to get to your goals, especially in today’s world of technology and self-isolation. The risk and harm due to severe reprimand or scolding, be it a child, teen or young adult, is high compared to the immediate benefits. There are established ways to influence others to agree to your views, needs or demands. Establish a thriving relationship, with or without power, with or without authority. Pitch Anything by Oran Klaff is another excellent resource to up your skills in influence.

Let’s influence!

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