By Comrade Egbagbara Omars Blessing
The issue of discipline in our secondary School system is of great concern to Educational administrators, because it affects the students’ education and moral well being. An understanding of discipline in its ramification shows that it is closely related to the achievements of the objectives of the education. As discipline entails
- The treatment suited to a discipline or learner to be educated and developed.
- Training in accordance with established rules and regulations.
- Submissiveness to order, control and obedience.
- Correction chastisement inflicted by way of training through suffering.
Discipline is not a matter of more stiffness and quietness, but rather connotes self activities and achievement of the aims and objective of Education. The currency and appropriateness of this topic come to Light, when we recall that quite recently the nation was through into a psychology trauma of unprecedented mass failure among secondary students at the senior secondary examinations conducted by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and National Examination Council (NECO). The direction and intensity of of this mass failure points to the unpalatable fact all is not well with the way the students learns in the schools. However there has been an increase in public attention to the problem of indiscipline in the secondary school system in particular. Generally there is the tendency to link the problem of students unrest in school with the problem of discipline.
However Bab fafuwa(1977) at the national conference on discipline and motivation in schools, opined that our society is passing through a very difficult time and the incidence of indiscipline permeates our entire social ,economic and political life as a nation.
B.) WHAT IS DISCIPLINE: There are several writing on what discipline is about. The word discipline cannot be given a universal acceptable definition. Before going indept into what discipline is all about, I will want to express my deep appreciation to Professors Eboh Lucky and Patrick Muoboghare of Physical and Health Education , Delta State University Abraka, for initiating me into the act of writing. I am equally grateful to Chief Egbagbara John Signor (Uyota R,ovie of Ughelli Kingdom,) Aduvikaye Grace Egbagbara, Pastor Mrs Mercy Otuokena my Elderest sister , whom made me useful to the society,Mrs Egbagbara Julie and Woman corporal Joy Uwherin Egbagbara ,both my God given companions, who always burn the mid night candle with me ,any time I have a paper of this nature and imspire me to write. To comrade Chief Ohwoekevwo David(JP), my Ughelli North Branch Chairman of the Union, and Comrade Chief Mrs Odjoji Irene my Treasurer at the Union, whom both are Proud of my write up and always correct my mistakes. To Miss Shaka Rosemary Fortune and Miss Edith Sunday Esievodje for all their assistance to me incourse of typing of the origin manuscripts. To my little Kids ,master Onokeroghene Promise Egbagbara and Miss Oghenekobirue Egbagbara, and every author I used his books in course of this research, the reading public and the publisher of the various media,I am grateful. Back to the concept of discipline, But with special reference to the School System Adesina (2000) refers to discipline as when students are taught to respect the school authorities, to observe the school laws and regulations and to maintain established standard of behavior. Ozigi (2000) sees discipline as involving such characteristic as self sacrifice, diligence, co-operation integrity truth fulness , patriotism , consideration for others and sympathy. Discipline therefore involves self control, restraint, respect for self and respect for others. The disciplined person is guided in his behavior , moral and social principles, does what is right and good. The urge to do what is right comes from within him.
Discipline therefore can be defined as the ability to respect constituted authority and to observe established laws and regulations of any organization or society.
Discipline is not an end itself, as according to osigbemhe (2002), It is enforced as a means of creating order which is conducive to effective teaching and learning, free from unnecessary interruptions and disturbance. It should lead students to develop desirable habits such as neatness, punctuality, obedience, honest, industry.
(C.) FACTORS AFFECTING DISCIPLINE: The following under listed factors affects discipline. They include.
(I.) Home : What the Child is, when he comes to school is the handwork of the home and its environment. Parents have crucial role to play in the discipline of their Children . In addition , if the virtues of industry future discipline in the school becomes a matter of natural growth. But if the home is broken or the parents have no time for the child , because of their pre- occupation with the pursuit for material well being the teacher, s task is made difficult.
(2.) THE SOCIETY: The second influence is that of the wider environment outside the home , the community or society. The child is influenced for good or bad by the language he hears, ideas he imbibes ,the television, cinema he watches, the play group and their individual characteristics. Hence the saying Evil communication corrupts good manner. Armed robbery, smoking of Indian hemp, sex abuse and other ills of the society have been on the increase , schools must purposefully encourage students to avoid behaviors which are harmful to themselves and the society. If we are really anxious to bring up a future generation of disciplined citizen , the influence of the schools, on the children must be made to made to reflect this aim. One way of doing this is to provide supervisory boarding facilities to students in schools. Again the teacher, s personality as well as his needs, altitudes, expectations, habits and other aspects of behavior, is a factor in class room discipline. Some teachers have favourites and some have scapegoats” ( students who are always picks on). The un fairness in treatment of students in the class creates problems.
D.) INDISCIPLINE: Indiscipline relate to all forms of the misbehavior within the school system. It could be collective misbehavior , when it reaches the stage of demonstration and violence. This refers to the students un rest and protect against school management or teachers resulting in the deliberate destruction of schools property.
Indiscipline relating to breach of school rules and regulations. This refers to cases likeness to school, absenteeism, wearing of non uniform dresses. Cases of indiscipline relating to disrespect of school authorities. This type refers to such incidents as rudeness to teachers, using abusive language ,refusal to recognize the authorities of senior students etc.
There are many types of indiscipline including drug abuse, delinquency, drunkenness , stealing ,truancy ,absenteeism, and persistent lateness to school.
E.) SOURCE OF INDISCIPLINE IN SCHOOLS:
(I.) HOME AND SOCIETY: It is in the school that children acquired mastery of physical, social and intellectual skills .According to Hurlock, s (2002), if a child lives with criticisms ,he condemn. If he lives with hostility , he learns to fight . however if he lives with fairness, he learns to share justice . Ashiegbu (2001), holds parents responsible for student’s discipline problems in schools. He noted that responsibility to children in the house of housemaids who may be with behavior. The author further stressed that children who have the unfortunate opportunity of being left in the care of maids with behavioral problems grow up to have discipline problems and carry this characteristics to school. Uzokwe (2002) extends his blame on the causes of discipline problem to both parents and society in general.
Ikeotuonye (2002) is of the view that we the leaders and parents are responsible for the discipline problems of our students. Leader and parents have lost social and moral credibility before the children who are more reflections of our behavior problems.
(II.)THE SCHOOL IS AN EXTENSION OF THE HOME. That is the reason why it generates discipline or behavioural problem. Primary school therefor has an important role to play in the disciplinary life of students in our educational institution. Harsh school rules and regulation can also bring about frustration in the students ,because they look at the rules and regulation as obstacle
(III) THE SCHOOL LEADERSHIP STYLE: In the school, the administrator and teacher’s leadership styles affect the level of disciple in the school. Udo (2003) confirms that the acceptance or otherwise of the school discipline depends largely on the style. For example , in schools which adopts extreme permissiveness ,students often takes laws into their hands ,it may lead to producing students who are hooligans, a factor that may leads to juvenile delinquency.
(IV.) THE TEACHERS ATTITUDE: Uzokwe (2000) blames students discipline problem on the wrong attitude of both the teachers and the administrators to produce discipline students, they must be disciplined.
(V.) GOVERNMENT POLICY: On this point Nwadibia (2003) ,traced discipline related problems in our school system to the the government . he noted that corporal punishment is no longer one of the weapons for instilling discipline in schools. Therefore mere lives of Nigerian Students at large. Finally ,Linder,(2003) mentioned that poor home training and misbehavior of students at school are from undisciplined home. More so ,many parents failed to show good example to their Children. However the All Nigeria conference of Principals of secondary Schools (ANCOPSS) in July (200) identified certain causes of indiscipline in our schools. These factors include:
- Lack of facilities and equipments
- Authoritarian methods of administration,
- Lack of moral and religion Instruction
- Lack of Proper communication among School heads, Staff and
- Lack of sincerity and devotion to duty
- Poor attitude to learning.
(F.) CONSEQUENCES OF INDISCIPLINE: The aim of discipline in the School context is to produce a breed of well behaved and cultivated students who will develop not only respect for themselves and the society but also respect for school authorities and regulations. Consequently lack of discipline relates to misbehavior in any of these areas.
Indiscipline in school, will affect the development of human resources needed for social and economic transformation of the society. Indiscipline is destructive and under serving element to progress ,training or mode of life. It is a serious impediment to National development. It allows both students and teachers to pervert the aim of education , examination, public morality and retard progress. In the school where there is indiscipline, there is bound to be Chaos, confusion, disorderliness, under development and in effective teaching- learning process.
Socially ,it affects our personality, as it does not make individuals to be responsible in the way he dresses, interacts and even speaks. Economically, it affects productivity ,as it is an impediment to the development of human resources.
G.) THE WAY FOREWARD. In order to check discipline problems, the teacher must be able to identify trouble makers in the class ,those with bad habits and reform them where possible, before it become too late. To do this, he must provide an avenue for constant interaction with his students., establish good human relations,create conducive atmosphere for teaching and learning. A disciplined Teacher, produces a disciplined student. One of the aim of educator/School administrator is to have a quite,smooth and efficient school. He may be tempted to believed that one way of achieving and exercising strong disciplinary control which is only possible through enforcement of school rules and regulation and the use of punishment for those who breaks school rules. The people who belong to these school of thought would always welcome any authoritarian type of discipline. Any enforcement based on fear can only produce negative results and will not lead to the development of those traits of character that make good citizenship.
To handle discipline problems, the school administrator must however formulate a set of school rules to guide the students in what they are expected to do or not to do. One way to make the enforcement of the rule easy is to explain the reason for making the rule, particularly if it is on that, the students do not like. If they are made to understand the reasons behind the rule, they are more likely to co-operates and to obey it. Each students should have a copy of the school rules and other copies displayed on the notice board.
The school administrator and her members of staff, should try to set good examples for the students to emulate. Learning good manners will also come directly or indirectly through the students participation in social and extracurricular activities and through formal teaching religious instruction.
All members of staff, should work purposefully together to teach and inculcate virtues of discipline in and outside the school.
The services of a counselor for the purpose of discipline is actually essential, to teach the students the meaning and importance of self responsibility, self discipline and control. Above all, respect for constituted authority in human lives. The school counselor can also be an effective communication channel between the students, parents and authorities. To wage a very successful war against indiscipline in our school system, all hands must be on deck. We must all be involved . There must be total revolution in our ways of life and sense of values. The home, the schools and the society must close ranks and device concrete ways of solving this problem of discipline. Discipline in our schools can be improved upon in the following ways:
I.)POSITIVE PARENTAL ROLE: The positive role of parents at home in inculcating discipline in their children will help to some extent the good up bring of a child which will reflect in their behavior and altitude at school. The parents should try to show good and exemplary life to their Children.
II.)MORAL AND RELIGIOUS TEACHING: This should be encouraged to arrest the problems of discipline in schools. Any staff involved in aiding and abetting student’s indiscipline should be adequately sanctioned and disciplined.
III) USE OF SUGGESTION BOX: The School authority should provide a suggestion box where students can freely identify problems and offer solutions. Any students whether senior or junior should not use the suggestion box to assassinate the character of the principal, teachers or fellow students.
IV.) TRAINING OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS: Much attention should be given to the training of administrators, who can be trusted with effective management of human resources and who possess a very clear understanding and appreciation not only of Schools as a social institutions ,but problems of behaviors and development.
V.)USE OF PARENTS TEACHERS ASSOCIATION (PTA): It is very paramount for teachers and parents to meet frequently meet to tackle issues affecting the behavior of students at school and to also see that the welfare of the students are in line with the school rules and regulations in particular and uto the school values in general.
VI.) PROVISION OF ADEQUATE INFRASTRUCTURAL MATERIALS: The government and other stakeholders in the education sector, should provide adequate and more infrastructural materials conductive to the teaching /learning process. Government should as a matter of importance enact a policy that no new school be opened until the existing one’s are adequately staffed, equipped and furnished. Schools administrator should also limits their enrolment to ensure strict discipline. This to some extent would instill discipline in the school systems.
VII.) GOVERNMENT SHOULD IMPROVE CAREERS PROSPECTS IN TEACHING. For teachers to play their roles most effectively to the school and the society, government must see that teachers are well paid and as at when due. They should be allowed to go for in service training to improve on their qualifications, where they are lacking. When teachers are mad to feel proud of their profession, they will be in better position to inculcate and maintain discipline in their students.
VIII.) REGULAL MEETING OF PREFECTS: This is another method to prevent riots and indiscriminate demonstration among students in school. The frequent meetings among the prefects most especially in the secondary school system, will provide a forum for a full discussion of the problems that are agitating in the minds. At such meeting, grievances in their minds can be identified and solutions suggested should be communicated to the staff and the principal of school.
IX.) CURRICULAR CONTENT: If the curriculum is suited to the age, ability and interest of the students. It is more likely that it will foster more learning and the attainment of its objectives compared to a situation, where the curriculum content is too difficult, too easy or boring. The learner cannot master fundamental skills ,or who finds regular school work very difficult, causes mischief for the attention and satisfaction he desires.
Some secondary schools have adopted innovative methods. Some have large open spaces. Large group, small group or individual instruction can occur. Teachers work in terms or individually. An instructional material centre where individual method is stressed and students are encouraged to participate in group activities.
Irrespective of religious and ethnics learning, we as a nation, should believe and practice certain codes of behavior. It sounds funny for us as police officer, politicians, soldiers ,educators ,parents and any position that befits our status to eulogise social, justice, moral integrity, sanctity of life, as the precepts of our social contract, only to default in them when faced with situation demanding moral decisions. In the light of this, the following recommendations were made.
- As professions in the field of education, we must recognized our potentials to effect changes and reforms. It is almost becoming convectional that whenever there is a national crisis, the schools not only get the blame but invariably the turns, round to it for the solution of the same problem. Schools are compelled today to assume greater responsibility for social reform and hence the constant curriculum content of schools to suit our needs and aspirations’ and as such teachers who are in daily contact with students must accept a good measure of responsibility of discipline in the students. Adequate provisions must be made for the complete development of the individual ensuring that the students are always fully occupied with worthwhile activities’. What is the advocated here is a realization that discipline is not achieved out of the classroom only by the prefect or labor master but must be taught to the students in the home, the classroom, in the playing field, everywhere and at all times of their lives
- I hereby appeal to our leaders in public life to live up to the expectation and urge them to use all the resources of government to effect social reform in our undisciplined school system, not only in the secondary school.
- The authority must met out punishment to erring students. Punishment given to students must be applied within the dictates of the reasons. The teachers and the school administrator as professionals and experts in their own right must be credited with the capability for doing a good job. Parents should co-operate with the teachers through their support of the teacher who discipline the students that misbehaves rather than molesting the teacher for doing a very good job.
- The government should allow the spirit of discipline to reign in schools by owing up and fulfilling her obligation to the teachers by away of paying their salaries promptly, providing teaching / learning materials and infrastructures. It is my opinion that it is a very serious mark of indiscipline on the part of the government ,if she fails in these primary obligations to her subjects.
- Conclusive the rank and file of teaching force must review their positions with respects to dedication, loyalty and appropriate behavior in the school because the discipline of the teacher is what the teachers make.
CONCLUSION: This paper tries to ex ray the concept of discipline,Indicipline, factors affecting discipline, the way forward and recommendations were made.
Comrade Egbagbara Omarayerue Blessing
Principal Consultant, MersMars Consult, Ughelli.