The challenges of managing learner discipline : the case study of two schools in Pinetown district.
This study investigated the challenges of managing learner discipline. A case study was conducted in two schools, the secondary and the primary schools in Pinetown District in KwaZulu Natal. The aim of this study was to investigate what challenges educators face in the management of learner discipline. This qualitative study was set in the interpretivist paradigm. The research tools compromise of semi-structured interviews and documents review. The theoretical frameworks that inform this study are behavioural modification model by Skinner, (1992), The Choice theory by Glasser, (1998) and assertive discipline model by Canter, (2007). International and local literature that foregrounds and supports the study were reviewed. Analysis of different contexts was made to inform the challenges of managing learner discipline problems in schools. The findings of this study revealed that teachers from very different schools, primary and secondary, felt that learners were becoming more unruly and less respectful than they used to be in the past. They further stated that the lack of discipline among learners makes it impossible to teach effectively. Educators identified some of the challenges they face such as bullying and intimidation, sexual harassment, drugs and alcohol abuse and carrying of dangerous weapons to schools. Furthermore, the findings revealed that lack of parent involvement in school, home and family background, abuse of various types, balance between learner rights and responsibilities, peer pressure, the role of media and politics were the biggest cause of disciplinary problems. Educators suggested that alternatives measures to corporal punishment were not very effective in curbing learner indiscipline in schools. They found it difficult to choose and implement the correct alternatives to corporal punishment. Some of the recommendations based on the findings are that, at the beginning of the school year, the principal and educators should orientate learners about the code of conduct and school rules. Rules and the consequences of breaking them should be clearly indicated to learners during assembly. Active parental involvement in the lives of their children is crucial for the management of discipline at school. Teachers should acquaint themselves and learn to know learner home backgrounds in order to understand learners they are dealing with. In-service workshops for all teachers across the country to be trained in alternatives to corporal punishment should be organised by the Department of Education. Professional support i.e. psychologists or educational counsellors should be increased to support schools.
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