Discipline in a KwaZulu-Natal secondary school : the gendered experience of learners.
Msani, Mhlope Cynthia.
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The study explores and describes perceptions of learners in a secondary school on how discipline is enforced at Hintsho, with particular attention to gender. Corporal punishment is one of the methods of discipline that is still used at Hintsho. The issue of corporal punishment is a sensitive one since its use is now illegal. In the course of the study the researcher interviewed learners about this and other forms of discipline. Data was collected through interviews with ten Grade eleven learners. Access was enabled by the position of the researcher as a teacher of over ten years’ standing in the school. The study found that some teachers (especially males) still beat learners in order to enforce discipline and keep order. This occurs despite the fact that the school has formally prohibited the use of corporal punishment and has passed a code of conduct to encourage the use of alternative disciplinary forms. Learners confirmed that other forms of discipline and punishment are indeed used. But these are generally corporal punishment in another guise. Hard labour, for example, was identified by learners as a frequent form of punishment. While some learners accepted the various forms of punishment that were used, others opposed both corporal punishment and the other forms of punishment introduced as an alternative, especially the cleaning of toilets. Male teachers proved to be stricter and more severe than females as they were less tolerant and less reasonable.