Experiences of teachers in managing learner discipline: a case study of two high performing schools in a township.
Mabaso, Phindile Happiness.
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There is a number of challenges facing schools due to discipline problems by learners. For effective teaching and learning in any school, the environment must be orderly and safe for both teachers and learners. Although learner indiscipline has been increasing in schools, there are schools that are doing well with regards to their learners’ academic performances and as such are regarded as high-performing schools. Are these schools not faced with disciplinary problems? This has motivated this study to explore experiences of teachers in managing learner discipline in high performing schools. A qualitative case study was conducted to explore the experiences of teachers in managing learner discipline in the two high performing schools in a township setting. The focus of this study was therefore to explore how teachers maintain discipline while achieving great academic performance. Semi-structured interviews and document analysis were used to generate data. Interviews were recorded and transcribed prior to analysis. Data from transcriptions and from documents was coded and analysed, and themes were developed. The findings of the study revealed that teachers in these two schools are faced with disciplinary problems, including, among others, bunking, failure to do homework, bullying and drug dealing. Again, the study revealed that learner misbehaviour has a negative impact on teaching and learning. However, these schools employ other measures to ensure high performance, like adding extra hours to notional time and letting learners do more than seven subjects at Grade 10-12. The study also revealed that there are enabling factors that helps teachers manage discipline in schools, like the availability of school policies such as code of conduct and involvement of other stakeholders. Furthermore, the study revealed that teachers perceive their role to be to ensure that teaching and learning takes place in a disruption-free environment. However, the findings of the study also reveal that teachers encounter challenges in managing discipline and these challenge results from poor support from parents, restrictions by the Department of Education and the ineffectiveness of alternatives to corporal punishment.