Management strategies on learner discipline

5 INTRODUCTION

The previous chapter focussed on the presentation, interpretation and discussion of data collected through the mixed methods approach using instruments such as questionnaires and interviews with the intention of answering the research questions posed in chapter 1 of this study. The questionnaires and interview questions, although at varying levels of details and design covered discipline strategies, management strategies, roles of school managers on establishing discipline, perceptions of educators on learner discipline, legal documents and suggestions to improve on managing learner discipline in schools.

This chapter provides an overview of the entire study and a summary of the findings in terms of the research questions posed in chapter 1 of this study. Recommendations to the problems of management strategies for learner discipline as seen in the findings of this study are also provided in this chapter.

5.2 OVERVIEW OF THE RESEARCH

A summary of the entire study is provided in this section.

In chapter one, par. 1, a reflection of background information was done on learner discipline and the challenges school managers have faced with its management. The main aspect was the decentralization of school governance through the enactment of the nation’s new policies (Khethiwe, 2013:1; Maphosa and Shumba, 2010:387). The term self-managed schools was explained to mean school managers now having independence and control in their institutions (RSA, 1996a). In addition, par. 1 also established managerial problems on learner discipline (Wolhuter, Van der Walt, and Potgieter, 2013:1) and legal documents to consider in the management of learner discipline. The research problem, questions and aims were also stated. The selection of the research design was explained together with a motivation for its use in helping realise the main aim of the study (see par. 1.4). The trustworthiness was also explained on how it helps with reliability and validity (Susanne, 2012:1). Other aspects of chapter one were the ethical considerations for conducting research, possible contributions of the study, definition of concepts and the structure of chapters.(see par. 1.5-1.8).

In chapter two, a review of literature was done in order to explore learner discipline in-terms of applicable theories, legal guidelines and management strategies. A theoretical framework was formulated to include management and leadership theories applicable to South African schools, choice theory of behaviour and the geborgenheit theory which emphasises security in schools (see par. 2.2.2). To understand the concept of discipline better, its characteristics and causes of learner ill-discipline was also done. In par. 2.5, the legal stipulations for learner discipline in South African schools were also reviewed (DoE, 1998; RSA, 1996; RSA, 1996a; and RSA, 1996b). The core aspects of the chapter in par. 2.6, 2.7 and 2.8 which were discipline strategies/methods applied in schools, the functions of different stakeholders in managing learner discipline and management strategies for learner discipline were extensively discussed with reference to recent literatures. Points discussed under discipline strategies/methods applied in schools were: counselling, detention, verbal and written warning, deprive learners from privileges, menial tasks, prayer by educators, parents involvement, referrals to the SGB, suspension, expulsion and corporal punishment. The functions of stakeholders considered were that of the principal, deputy principal and the H.O.D. Others were the subject educator, School Governing Body (SGB), Representative Council of Learners (RCL) and class prefect. On management strategies, areas covered were positive discipline, classroom management, support structures and skill development programmes. A summary was then done in par. 2.9.

Chapter three of this study was solely on the research design and methodology used to effectively carry out the how part of this study. In par. 3.2 and 3.3, it starts with the research map and aims. The map gave a graphical representation of the entire chapter from start to finish (Chukwuere, 2015:4). This representation was done with the Microsoft Visio professional office collection application software 2013. The research paradigm was explained in par. 3.4 which showed philosophical assumptions that shaped the design and approach chosen and the motivation thereof (Creswell, 2014:6). In par. 3.6, the design: Explanatory sequential was then explained in details. The methodology for this study was through a literature study and an empirical investigation/research which took two phases – quantitative and qualitative. The literature study for this chapter followed the methodological approach. In the quantitative phase, sub-topics presented were population and sampling, variables, measuring instruments, data collection procedures, data analysis and statistical techniques, while in the qualitative phase, the presentation followed site , participant selection, data collection strategy, data analysis and the researcher’s role (see par. 3.7.2 and 3.7.3 for more details). Both phases had a trustworthiness check. This chapter was rounded off with the ethical considerations for the study.

In chapter four, a presentation, interpretation and discussion of findings of the empirical data as obtained from the questionnaires and interviews was provided. In the quantitative phase, data management, questionnaire format and variable creation were discussed. The reason for including this section was for any reader of this study/dissertation to be able to understand clearly the process of the questionnaire technique and how the coding of the questionnaire was done in the Statistical Analysis Systems (SAS) and Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) without necessarily having advanced knowledge in statistics. In par. 4.3, response rate was calculated in order to know the number of questionnaires returned and used for data computation. The presentation and discussion of the quantitative data followed:

• Descriptive statistics;

• Testing for significant correlations between variables; and

• Testing main and interacting effects using 2-way ANOVA.

The SAS software was used for the computation of the first two in the bullet above, while the SPSS was used to calculate the ANOVA for main and interacting variables in the study.

In the second phase, the interview data was coded using content analysis, presented and discussed into themes and categories. The themes automatically were derived from the research questions in chapter one of this study. The categories were then discussed in correlation with quantitative results from the first phase, interview raw transcripts and past literatures. The mixing of both phases was achieved here.

In chapter five, an overview of the entire chapters of the dissertation was provided. Summary of findings from the research questions was also presented in par. 5.3. Recommendations was then made for this study and for future study on the theme of this study.

5.3 SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

In this section, the summary of the findings obtained through the empirical investigation are presented which was done in accordance to the research questions of the study. The research questions as posed in chapter one are listed below:

1. Are there disciplinary methods provided for school managers regarding learner discipline in secondary schools?

2. How are the management strategies on learner discipline currently applied on learner discipline in secondary schools?

3. How can you describe the role of the school managers in establishing and maintaining learner discipline in secondary schools?

4. What are the perceptions of secondary school educators and school management on learner discipline in secondary schools?

5. Which legal guidelines are available to school managers for managing learner discipline in secondary schools?

6. What further suggestions may serve as guidelines to improve management strategies on managing learner discipline in secondary schools?

The following conclusions are drawn through the findings obtained from the research questions which are re-composed into themes as used in data presentation of both the quantitative and qualitative phases. They are presented as follows:

5.3.1 Disciplinary methods/strategies for learner discipline

This question was answered by using the results from the questionnaire and interviews. For the questionnaires, educators responded to the level of effectiveness of the discipline strategies as available as a means of a corrective measure. Educator’s responses were to strategies such as reprimand, isolation within the classroom, isolation outside the classroom, merits-demerits points system, system of classroom rules, learner participation in the code of conduct, encouraging learner praises, encouraging traditions, referrals to the SGB disciplinary committee, meeting with the parents of learners, emphasising values, regular prayers by educators, proper subject preparation of educators, rewards, deprivation of privileges, community service, menial task, detention, referral to the principal and the use of corporal punishment.

Furthermore, selected educators also responded to the disciplinary methods in the interview session but were only expected to address the strategies used in their particular schools.

During the focus groups and one-on-one interviews, the usage of various disciplinary methods/strategies for handling misconducted learners such as reprimand, menial task, call the parents, demerits and merit style, detention, suspension and expulsion, referral to the School Governing Body (SGB) were established

From the disciplinary methods/strategies established, the researcher deduced the following:

• The educators in Ngaka Modiri-Molema district do not capitalise or put to use all options available to them in terms of disciplinary strategies/methods. They only employ seven (7) out of about twenty (20) strategies mentioned in the questionnaire which are reprimand, menial task, call the parents, demerits and merit style, detention, suspension and expulsion, referral to the School Governing Body (SGB). This suggests that school managers do not exhaust all available means when handling learner discipline in their respective schools.

• Categorising responses to quantitative question on discipline strategies/methods into ineffective and effective, the following methods/strategies were effective: system of classroom rules, learner participation in the code of conduct, encouraging learner praises amongst other learners, encouraging traditions, referral to the SGB, meeting with the parents of learners, emphasising values, proper subject preparation by educators, rewards, deprivation of privileges, referral to the principal and corporal punishment.

• The most effective disciplinary strategies/methods ranged from referral to the principal, the use of corporal punishment, system of classroom rules and proper subject preparation by the educator.

• Categorising responses to quantitative question on discipline strategies/methods into ineffective and effective, the following methods/strategies were found ineffective: menial task, community service and regular prayers by educator.

• BesidesIn addition the quantitative results, synthesising the qualitative phase further, reprimand, merits and demerit system and menial task can be said to be used widely in the region but not to be effective?.

• On the other way round, synthesising the qualitative findings, calling of parents and referral to the SGB were found very useful and practically helpful in Ngaka Modiri-Molema district.

• Detention is very widely used in the region but most educators are reluctant to use it simply because of the extra time they have to work.

• Suspension and expulsion are used for serious cases and as last resort but educators feel that its use no longer has meaning because the same learners are taken back to school in which educators.

5.3.2 Management strategies for learner discipline

This section aimed at determining how management strategies for learner discipline are currently applied which was examined with the use of the questionnaires and interviews. In the first phase through the use of questionnaires, educators also responded to the level of effectiveness of the management strategies as currently applied in their respective schools. Their responses were to management strategies such as positive discipline, parental involvement, learner involvement, consideration of learner’s need, positive school and classroom climate, code of conduct for learners, classroom rules and management, in-service training for educators, support structures on intervention rather than punishment, the professional conduct of an educator, community involvement, relationship and participatory building and ratio of male to female educators. Moreover, educators responded to the same question in the qualitative interviews but were only expected to address how management strategies are currently applied in their particular schools.

During the focus groups and one-on-one interviews, management strategies for learners discipline such as parental involvement, discipline hearing, and referral to the School Governing Body (SGB) were established

From the above, the researcher deduced the following:

• The educators in Ngaka Modiri-Molema district put to very little use a host number of management strategies available to them. They only put to use three (3) out of about twelve (12) mentioned in the questionnaire which are parental involvement by the School Management Team (SMT), disciplinary hearing, and referral to the School Governing Body (SGB). Obviously, this may be a result of ignorance from both educators and school managers or the SMTs incapability in the application of major management strategies which invariably has detrimental effect on positive school discipline.

• However, educators responded to all management strategies as effective in the first phase (quantitative) except for positive discipline with 32% ineffective rate. However, the study found out that not all management strategies are been implemented in schools in the region as noted earlier.

• In addition to the quantitative results, synthesising the qualitative phase interviews further, parental involvement, discipline hearing, and referral to the School Governing Body (SGB) can be said to be the management strategies adopted in the region.

• It has now become very common for school principals in the region to invite parents to school when their children misbehaves. It is found to be an effective an easy means to use. They invite parents by the principal calling parents telephonically and in some cases, they visit them at their homes.

• The act of allowing a disciplinary hearing is well adopted in the region so that the other side of the story of the accused learner can be heard.

5.3.3 Roles of school managers in establishing and maintaining learner discipline

This question was answered through the use of both instruments. For the questionnaires, educators also responded to varying questions as to the roles managers play ranging decision making, code of conduct to in-service training. Moreover, educators responded to the same question in the qualitative interviews but educators were only expected to address the roles the school managers play in establishing and maintaining discipline.

Owing to the focus group and one-on-one interviews conducted, in questioning how school managers establish and maintain learner discipline in their particular schools, subjective responses of educators in the roles of the school managers were: ensuring consistency in implementing policies, monitoring and evaluation, encouraging proper recording of learner misconduct, organise meeting with parents, and linking with external help on learner related discipline problems. The summary of the disciplinary methods are highlighted below:

• The study discovered that the code of conduct for learners is adopted and implemented in all schools in Ngake Modiri-Molema district.

• The study also showed that the important stakeholders were involved before the adoption of the code of conduct.

• It is thought that must educators are not as familiar as the principal with discipline related documents. Principals and management teams therefore are mainly responsible to ensure that the school’s discipline policy is implemented fairly and consistent.

• School Management Teams (SMTs) monitors and evaluates particularly by checking discipline record books and also checking if educators are missing teaching periods.

• The SMT, particularly the principal organise meetings with parents of learners to discuss issues concerning the education and safety of their children.

• It also emerged in the study that on rare occasion, the school management also organise intervention programmes for learners by relying on external help. This happens when educators are not found capable or equipped with the technical know-how of handling the situation. It can be the use of social workers, religious leaders, nurse, etc.

5.3.4 Perceptions of educators and school managers on learner discipline

Insights regarding the perceptions of educators and school managers on learner discipline was obtained through the qualitative interviews. The interview question basically explored on how educators feel about the state of learner discipline in their particular schools. From the findings of this study, the only main point to take note of was that educators all unanimously agreed that the level of learner discipline is poor and discouraging. This was true of all schools interviewed. This confirms the main problem of this investigation statement as a proof that learner discipline and the management thereof is indeed a problem in all South African schools.

5.3.5 Legal guidelines available to school managers for managing learner

The legal guidelines available to school managers was answered through the use of interviews. This section aimed at checking how familiar educators are with the legal documents provided by the government for managing learner discipline and if a substantial familiarity will help educators manage learner discipline better. The findings of the study showed through qualitative analysis that educators in the region are familiar which was not in congruence with the findings obtained through the interview session.

5.3.6 Suggestion to serve as guidelines for improving management strategies

The suggestions that may serve as guidelines for improving management strategies for learner discipline are reported based on the interviews conducted. The categories to note from the interviews are parental issues, proper subject preparation, community involvement, dedicated discipline manager, policy review, reactivate corporal punishment, and intervention programmes.

Reflecting on these suggestions on improving strategies as enriched from the interviews, the researcher made the following deductions:

• Parental issues was noted. Parents are very ignorant and are in denial of capabilities of their children. Parents should be more ready to listen and take responsibility for their duty as parents and get involved in the education of their children.

• Educator’s preparedness is very significant in promoting classroom management. Educators must go to class with content and subject pedagogy.

• The community should also be involved in as external support to the schools for the management of learner discipline. A considerable forms of misconduct also happens outside the school environment. They should take the responsible of controlling what happens in their surroundings or environment.

• A discipline manager should be employed solely to be in charge of discipline related issues in the school. This appointment should come from the Department of Education and main criteria for this position should only be educators that have acquired classroom teaching experience.

• The present discipline related policies allows for too much privileges on the rights of learners which is also known as the over-emphasis of learner’s rights without teaching learners the importance of their responsibilities. The study discovered that this policies are creating more problems than solution to the problem of indiscipline in learners. A review of the present policies should be commissioned and educators must be massively involved.

• Relating to policy review, corporal punishment should be allowed in schools as all other alternative measures have not proved effective over the years.

• Intervention programmes as means of support structures should be organised regularly to help learners with their discipline challenges. Educators must be trained so as to use effectively these interventions as support structures.

• Lastly, isolation of unbearable and frequently disturbing learners especially those with cases of suspension and expulsion should be all re-admitted into some sort of special school with special provisioning that can adequately cater to solving or managing their issues. This school should have stationed permanently police officers, nurses, social workers, etc.

5.4 RECOMMENDATIONS

The following recommendations are made to address the problems identified in the problem statement. The recommendations are made in the following categories: educators, school managers, the community and the Department of Education.

5.4.1 Recommendation for educators

The recommendations for educators are highlighted as follows:

• Educators should ensure they get acquainted with all the discipline strategies and management strategies available to them for use.

• Educators should request for training on the use of any sort of mechanism (management strategies) that would help them better manage or handle the issues with learner discipline.

• Educators should ensure they master properly the content of their subject so have more control for the sake of proper classroom discipline.

• Educators must teach their subject with best teaching methods (pedagogy) and must also show great confidence during instruction.

5.4.2 Recommendation for school managers

The recommendations for the school managers are highlighted as follows:

• The school managers must ensure they utilise all possible discipline strategy/method and management strategies.

• The School Management Team (SMT) in conjunction with the School Governing Board (SGB) at appropriate time should organise training seminars and workshops on the application of disciple strategies/methods, management strategies and intervention programmes.

• Educators should get familiarised with the legislation that guides learner discipline in South African secondary schools and not just leave it to the hands of the principal.

• The SMT should improve on monitoring and evaluation of the educators especially on how learner discipline is been handled.

5.3.3 Recommendation for the community

The researcher would like to recommend that the society gets involved in the discipline of learners in schools by becoming watchdogs on their activities in the community and disallowing bad morals and values of these learners. The etiquette of any leaner should start reflecting the values of the society and this should be characterised with good moral values and conduct towards education in general.

5.4.4 Recommendation for Department of Education

The recommendations to the Department of Education are highlighted as follows:

• The Department of Education should re-visit the current policies used in managing learner discipline in South Africa as allowed by legislation. Policies should teach learners to keep to their responsibilities rather than over-emphasising and protecting learner’s rights. This should be done through the inclusion of a majority of educators and school managers who have daily experiences with these learners.

• Relating to the above, the government should re-consider the use of corporal punishment as other means have been tagged not effective.

• The Department of Education should consider the post of a discipline educator to be solely in charge of discipline related issue. This also grants the department a direct connection with schools.

• The Department should organise workshops for educators on the implementation of discipline and management strategies.

• The Department should serve as links for external help to schools in order support the initiatives of school management regarding intervention programmes.

• The Department of education should consider isolating dangerous learners with serious cases of misconduct to special schools where all the help they need can be given in a single locations. Support services should be stationed permanently in this kind of school such as police officers, social workers, registered counsellors, nurses, etc.

5.5 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY

Based on the findings of this study, it revealed that discipline and management strategies are not adequately explored and used by schools. It will be worth conducting a similar study in another province with serious cases of learner discipline. Thereby conducting a comparative study afterwards to check effectiveness of school management on learner discipline in South Africa. In addition, the study also revealed that corporal punishment remains the most effective means of discipline. This study recommends that a comparative study be done by checking on outcome based results on learner discipline between South Africa and any country where capital punishment is still employed. A review of their policies and methods of discipline should be conducted.

5.6 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

The limitations of this study are rooted from methodological and researcher’s limitation. These limitations had potential treats on the quality of the findings of this study coupled with the ability to answer the research questions posed in chapter 1 of the study.

The respondents for interviews (qualitative phase) were only selected from one of the stratas of the entire population. This was done for convenience sake of the researcher. The limitation here is missing out on some of the demographic influences on the dependent variables of this study. In reaction, the researcher examined the demographic factors of the different stratas and discovered that they were very similar so generalisation based on one strata did not alter the findings of the study. In addition, so many scholarly papers had been published in the area of learner discipline but none has been conducted by checking on the effectiveness of disciplinary methods especially on how it is currently applied in secondary schools with consideration of the region where the research was conducted. The study findings could not be really compared against the findings of past ones. To help overcome the limitation, the researcher employed a rather large method of enquiry –explanatory sequential which catered for a mixed method which was suitable means of collecting large data and helped achieve triangulation. Another limitations the longitudinal effects for carrying out the study. Time was an issue because of the methodology chosen. The researcher managed this issue by consulting regularly such as consulting with statisticians for accuracy of findings. Lastly, during interviews, the research employed the services of a translator so educators were given the opportunity to speak in their native language. This made the interview session to retain its subjective nature which helped validity and dependability of categories generated during coding.

5.7 CONCLUSION

This study aimed at determining management strategies on learner discipline in secondary schools in Ngaka Modiri-Molema district. It discovered that strategies available to manage learner discipline are not extensively utilised. It recommends that more studies should be conducted in other province in the country and also a comparative study between South Africa and a country which employs the use of capital punishment.

Although, the research was conducted in a region of the North-West province, the researcher is of the opinion that the findings of this study are universal in nature and globally applicable. In the end, effective management strategies are dependent on effective leadership and management skills, understanding of policy documents and effective use of discipline means provided. I believe that this study will inform and serve to improve on management strategies for learner discipline in South African secondary schools.

Source: Essay UK - http://ntechno.pro/essays/education/management-strategies-on-learner-discipline/


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