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Discipline and disciplinary measures used at selected secondary schools.

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The purpose of this study was to explore various aspects of discipline in secondary schools inter alia the views of educators to changes regarding the behaviour of learners today as compared to the past, the banning of corporal punishment in schools, commitment to provide support, and to elicit alternative methods of maintaining discipline. The study was an exploratory one aiming to bring the views of the educator to the fore in clinical research. It was also undertaken to spur other research into this area. The study was undertaken with educators from the town of Verulam in the north coast of Kwazulu- Natal, South Africa. All secondary schools in the area were targeted. This was a possibility sample as it was peculiar to the context and is valid because it does have resemblance to reality. The sample reflected the remnants of the old apartheid educational structures. Various types of schools were included inclusive of ex -House of Delegates, ex-Department of Education, private and religion-based schools. The sample had semblance of the general educator population. Educators in nine of the secondary schools responded to a questionnaire. The structured questionnaire had a quantitative and qualitative bias. The response rate was 58.3 percent. A statistical package was used to analyse the statistical aspects of the questionnaire. The results of the study indicate that educators believed that the incidents and severity of learner misbehaviour had increased rapidly post 1996. A significantly large number also stated that their superiors (the Department of Education-DOE) have left a void with the banning of corporal punishment by provldinq little or no alternatives to discipline learners. Many respondents believed that their authority was undermined and it affected discipline and hence the culture of teaching and learning. Serious offenders were handed to management of schools. Management in schools were viewed as supportative although there was a call for consistency in the application of the schools' Code of Conduct. Numerous methods of disciplining were suggested with the most popular being getting the parent involved and personal counselling. Sadly, the third popular measure believed to be effective was the use of corporal punishment, albeit it was used by a small percentage of respondents. There was no significant difference in views between male and female respondents. Various extraneous factors influencing poor behaviour were postulated. The learners' background, role of the parent and peer pressure, were viewed as most important. School contextual factors such as large classes and poor resources were also noted. Recommendations for better discipline and disciplinary measures were highlighted. The study called for a review of the Code of Conduct as required by the South African Schools Act 84 of 1996, with the focus being immediacy and relevance of sanctions and the more frequent use of the parent-component, of the Schools' Governing Body, in discipline. A more pro-active stance on the part of the DOE in assisting educators, in disciplinary measures, at grass-root level was recommended. The study also recommended further research into discipline and disciplinary measures at secondary schools.


Thesis (LL.M.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2006.


School discipline--South Africa., Corporal punishment of children--South Africa., School discipline--Law and legislation--South Africa., Corporal punishment of children--Law and legislation--South Africa., Theses--Law.