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The Problems of Indiscipline in Rivers State Secondary Schools: A Survey of Schools in Abua/Odual Local Government Area.
The purpose of this study was to investigate The Problems of Indiscipline in Secondary Schools in Abua/Odual Local Government Area. One hundred teachers constituted the study sample. Questionnaire was administered to teachers to obtain data for five research questions. The statistical tool used to analyse the raw data was percentage method.
The results showed that lack of corporal punishment, irregular payment of teachers’ salaries, poor administration constitutes the major problems to indiscipline in schools. In this regard, it was suggested that corporal punishment should be introduced in schools; also, more and adequate incentives should be provided to the teachers.
Background of the Study
Education in any perspective finds its usefulness in the areas of moral, intellectual, social and spiritual development of the child. This development to a great extent is a function of the quality of the educational system, which is partly measured on the basis of students’ discipline. Discipline constitutes one of the fundamental, critical and challenging functions of the teacher. Mostly, when viewed from the fact that students whom they manage their affairs are drawn from different home background, accommodates the influence of peer groups and thus, were bound to exhibit different patterns of behaviour that may not conform with the instructional standard of the school.
Discipline is an aspect of school function which if not well maintained can render the school system ineffective. School discipline as a matter of fact is seen as a vital element in the process by which students are enabled to function in the society. The general idea underlying this fact is that if the school is situated in the society and it is hoped that the products of these schools will be absorbed into the society, the students must therefore be made to develop rule-following and law, adding habits so that they conform to the general social expectations of the main culture absorbing its basic attitudes and beliefs, Sieber and wilder (1997:70) point out that a society without rules is inconceivable, and rules without attitude of disapproval towards them are inconceivable. In the English Elementary School, obedience was enforced mildly without any military goal in mind and in that discipline was seen essentially as a process of obedient training for society at large. On the other hand, thinking of discipline in terms of training for society, Docking (1990:4) says it may encourage a schooling for subordination where teachers use their disciplinary authority to satisfy some unfulfilled need within themselves so that they are to view children as a means rather than as ends.
The promotion or maintenance of effective discipline is essential if organised group action is to be effective or productive whether the group is a club, society, a union, a company, a business or industrial concern or a nation. The word discipline connotes that the members or a group should reasonably conform to the rules and regulations, which is the code of behaviour which have been formed for it or by it, so that every one may benefit by them. People’s morale or industrial peace are definitely proper by maintenance of discipline if the members of a group do not abide by the rules of the organisation, it may collapse. Chaos, confusion, disobedience, disloyalty and antisocial or anti-organisational activities develop to the detriment of every one. In the word of Spriegel (1997:34) “discipline is the force that prompts an individual or a group to observe the rules, regulations which are seemed to be necessary to the attainment of an objective”. It is a factor, which restrains an individual from doing certain things, which are deemed to be disruptive for the group objectives. It is also the exercise of restraint or the enforcement of penalties for the violation of group regulations. Thus, discipline can be said as an attitude of the mind, a product of culture and a particular environment which promotes an individual to willingly co-operate in the observance of the rules of the organizational to which he belongs.
School discipline is often seen as an important ingredient in the process by which children are enabled to function in the society because living in the society entails living in association with certain agreed rules, which govern one’s behaviour. Thus, keeping order in the school is a multi-faced problem associated with range of interacting factors, such as the child himself, home and neighbourhood influence, changing societal values and expectations, the school and its natural environment, and the individual teacher.
The problem of indiscipline is more apparent among secondary school students all over the world. Indiscipline among them has attracted serious attention of scholars and administrators. These scholars and administrators attributes to their state of development. They opine that when students notice certain biological changes signalling maturity in the course of the growth and development, they tend to misbehave by faulting school rules and regulations Mukhargee (1995:17).
Indiscipline is a mode of life not in conformity with rules and non-subjected to control. By extension, the term connotes the violation of school rules and regulations capable of obstructing the smooth and orderly, functioning of the school system Adeyemo (1995:22). School rules and regulations in most cases affect students more than any other thing because they are made by the school authorities in order to guide and protect the students while in school.
Statement of the Problem
In the teaching and learning process certain identifiable problems of indiscipline militate against its success and achievements.
That means for effective teaching and learning to take place there must be discipline in order to make reasonable achievements.
In spite of the effort so far made by the government for the past eight years to curb indiscipline in our secondary schools, delinquency, truancy, disobedience, absenteeism, etc. are some of the problems of teaching and learning in our secondary schools in Abua/Odual Local Government Area.
This study is therefore interested in addressing the problems of indiscipline so that teaching and learning will improve in our schools.
Purpose of the Study
The general purpose of this study includes the following:
(a) Determine the factors underlying the problem of maintaining effective discipline in secondary schools.
(b) Ascertain the effects of such factors on academic performance.
(c) Make recommendation on the areas that would solve these problems.
The study shall be guided by the following research questions:
What factors are responsible for school indiscipline?
What are the effects of such factors on students’ academic performance?
What are the strategies adopted by teachers to prevent classroom indiscipline?
Does the rate of indiscipline among secondary school students’ increase or decrease for the past three years?
Are girls more receptive to instruction than boys in secondary schools?
Significance of the Study
The importance of this study includes the following:
(1) To provide information for government and school administrators about the solution to the problems of school indiscipline.
(2) To provide relevant data about the causes of indiscipline from teachers perspective.
(3) To make recommendations and suggestions that possibly could help solve the problem of indiscipline.
Scope of the Study
The study focus on school indiscipline from twenty-two (22) selected secondary schools in Abua/Odual Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Definition of Terms
For the purpose of this study, the following terminologies shall be defined thus:
Student: A person who is studying in a school, especially a secondary school.
Secondary School: This is a school for young people between the age of 11 and 16.
Regulation: This is an official rule made by authority.
Discipline: This is the practice of training people to obey rules and regulations.
Indiscipline: This is lack of discipline, control in the behaviour of a group of people.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
The chapter can be reviewed under the following headings.
2.1. Students discipline in Nigeria schools
2.2 Imperative of indiscipline in secondary schools
2.3. Causes of indiscipline
2.4 School indiscipline and academic achievement
2.5 School rules and regulations on student discipline
2.6 The concept of in loco-parentis and its relationship to students’ discipline
2.7 Student discipline and classroom management
2.8 Strategies of curbing indiscipline
2.9 Summary of the literature reviewed
2.1 Students Discipline in Nigeria Schools
According to Matsoga (2003:54) violence and misbehaviour exist in Nigeria schools. This lack of discipline which interferes with the teaching and learning process, manifests itself in various ways including bullying, vandalism, alcohol and substance abuse, truancy, inability or unwillingness to do homework etc. Moswele (2004:146) and Matsoga (2003:53).
Vandalizing school property is at rampart and this has influenced the government to introduce school fees in order to mend, that which was broken such as window, panes, furniture and walls.
Theft is also common. For instance, in 2003 students in one senior secondary school broke into a biology laboratory to steal ethanol Banda (2004:16) some of these students lost their lives and others lost their sight. In another senior secondary school, 19-year-old boy committed suicide after fighting with another student over a borrowed plate Maleka (2003:162). These horrible acts left the nation speechless, not knowing where such behaviour originates. These incidents sprang the debate on the use of corporal punishment in schools which concluded that Nigeria cannot do away with it, but it has to be used guardedly Maleka (2003:162) and Keorang (2004:51). Experience had it that, teachers may ask for transfers; while parents withdraw their children from schools with numerous cases of student misconduct such as the one mentioned above.
2.2 Imperative of indiscipline in secondary schools
Discipline in these schools is now passing through an eclipse. The problem of indiscipline is found everywhere, therefore, students do no longer believe in hard work as the only honourable path to success. Slangs connoting examination malpractice like “choke” exhibit, dagbo, omokirikiri and the like are common during examination time and they are expressed in such free but shameful that one somehow think that it does not mean anything. Children of the high and low, big and small, powerful and the downtrodden are involved in varying degrees.
At this juncture, it would be worthwhile to highlight some of the prevalent cases and acts of indiscipline amongst secondary school students.
Cultism has suddenly become the giant monster that has swallowed up our ethics and morals; any student who fails to belong is quickly “packed” off the stage by either being intimidated out of school or killed. Many have been forced to join counter cultist group, which often produced fatal consequences.
Section 329 (1) of the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria defines cultism (secret cult) as an association that uses secret signs, oaths, rites or symbols and which is formed to promote a cause, the purpose or part of the purpose which is to foster the interest of its members and to aid one another under any circumstance without the regard to merit, fair or justice to the demerit of those who are not members. â€¦who members are sworn to observe oaths of secrecyâ€¦
2. Indecent Dressing
Near naked and other forms of nudity is the order of the day in our schools. Kpakol (2004:62) argues that peer pressure, self-indulgence, and “dress to kill”-the deliberate habit of putting on seductive clothes to attract those of the opposite gender sexually or throw off balance emotionally. In this connection Bellow, (1993:3) states that school discipline is the training which produces in children self-restraint, orderliness, good conduct, operation and the habit of getting the best out of themselves. It involves intellectual and moral education as opposed to mere order and instruction.
3. Curriculum content
Any society whose educational system is careless about the need of the society is doomed. It thus, not enough to have a curriculum. It is most important that the curriculum relates and adequately takes care of the entire societal aspiration. Our curriculum today is greatly deficient in moral education as contained in the curriculum is shabby and neglected. In some schools, it is not even taught.
The subjects of History, Civic and Nature study and so on that immediately inculcates the ideal nation building to the youth are abolished social studies and integrated science that is fashioned in their stead has proved to be incapable in content and practice.
4. Parental Training
Charity it is said begins from home. A parent who is not firm with his children and lets them go the bad is not kind to them. Parents do not often consider the future welfare and success of their children as of great importance. Firmness is not shown by constant scolding, beating and fussing, this is to many educators indicates weakness.
In addition, some parents are always quarrelling and fighting. This definitely makes the students not to have affection and develop negative attitude to life. In school, that student may be and always picking quarrel with his peer because this is what he grew up with.
2.3 Causes of Indiscipline
Indiscipline as we have noted elsewhere is not a new phenomenon. It has engaged the attention of many writers and authors at different levels. Causes of indiscipline in secondary schools are numerous. They include school society, wrong ideals, idleness, lack of good leadership, injustice, lack of realistic rules, bad home training and upbringing, etc.
Okoroma (2000:1109) and Nwankwo (1991:67) note that the causes and symptoms of indiscipline are many and vary from school to school and from place to place. In their view, some symptoms of indiscipline include general unrest and deliberate breaches of school rules, peaceful and violent demonstration, mass disobedience, truancy, delinquency, absenteeism, drug use and abuse, as well as drunkenness.
Shakaran (1997:47) and Nwankwo (1991:67) have identified the causes of indiscipline in secondary schools in Nigeria to include authoritarian methods, bad staff behaviour, harsh school rules, poor communication, results, lack of adequate school facilities, influence of home and society. In this paper, we however, proffer a multi-dimensional approach to this burning issue of indiscipline in our secondary schools; hence our consideration of the causes of indiscipline will be multi-dimensional.
1. Social Influence
There has become a sudden shift from merit to lack lustre. Achievements are no longer measured by commitment and capability but influence and material wealth who you know than what you are measured up in terms of merit, is what determines promotion. Thus, a student need not burn the night candle.
This is the oldest son of indiscipline. This son has grown up that it often stands shoulder to shoulder with its father indiscipline. What permeates all the stretch of our society today is how to make it quickly. Public finance meant for welfare programmes that would have stemmed the aid of mal-behaviour in our youths and adolescents gets diverted to redundant programmes or private pockets. To such extent, there is no motivation in those who should be seen to be disciplined. With empty stomach, ragged dressing, hopeless accommodation, intolerable health, there is no way a person can resist temptation.
3. Rural-urban Drift
Closely related to the issue of government policy and corruption is the issue of rural-urban drift. A writer once said that everyone is a village by root. The rate, at which our youths and adolescents migrate from the serene, quiet and less atrocious life in the village to the noisy, burdensome, busy and unnecessarily over populated cities, is alarming. One identified reason for this as outright lack of basic facilities and infrastructure in our villages. Where there is any, it is often in a state of despair so grossly inadequate that no youth would see his mate coming home from the city without being tempted to taste the city. This sudden transformation from the village to city life is bound to produce unpalatable consequences. This explains why secondary school students are engaged in crimes nowadays either to be able to sustain the tempo of life in the city or in preparation to get to the city.
2.4 School Indiscipline and Academic Achievement
In classroom teaching, discipline implies the control of a class to achieve desirable behaviour. The concept of school discipline and school rewards has the similar objectives of assisting students to make maximum achievement in their academic pursuits. According to Nwankwo (1991:67) “discipline behaviour involves characteristics such as self-sacrifice, diligence, co-operation, integrity, consideration and sympathy for others as well as the fear of God”. He goes on to say that discipline is a system of guiding the individual to make reasonable and responsible decisions. In classroom teaching, discipline means the control of a class to achieve desirable behaviour. Discipline involves self-control; a disciplined person knows and takes the right course of action. He is guided not simply by self-interest, but also by consideration of interest of others. A disciplined individual is also guided in his behaviour by moral and social principles.
Factors of indiscipline that lead to low academic achievement are common with student from socio-economic status families Alumode (2002:84). This is because teachers are often prejudiced against youth from low socio-economic status families and show preferential treatment to students from high socio-economic status families Manster (2001:297). Another reason is that peer influences on low socio-economic students are often antisocial and delinquency prone, emphasizing early marriage for the girls and gang activities for the boys Conger (1993:13). Blodsoe (2005:28) believes that the quality of interaction among members of the adolescents family influence the degree of discipline and success in school work. According to him, the studies of the family relationship of bright, high-achieving students versus under-achieving high school students shows that the high achievers more often than under-achievers describe their parents as typically sharing vacation and ideas as understanding, approving, trusting, affection etc. encouraging (but not pressuring) with respect to achievement and over restrictive or severe in discipline.
2.5 School Rules and Regulation on Discipline
The Education Act of 1999 has documented some rules and regulations that govern student discipline in Nigeria schools. It stipulates methods and procedure for minor and severe disciplinary measures such as corporal punishment, suspension and student expulsion. Rules and regulations are drawn for the orderly conduct of the school affairs. Some of them are written and others are implied and they recognised by law. Addressing the issue of rules and regulations Nwangwu (2009:142) state that:
The Schools Board and individual school authorities have the right to make any reasonable rules and regulations for the orderly conduct of school affairs in the interest of the entire school and school system.
The fundamental point raised above is that those provisions are made by relevant authorized bodies to direct and spell out the relationship between teachers, student and school authorities. The responsibility is therefore on every member of the school system to respect and obey the rules, as any breach must be followed by the application of appropriate disciplinary measures. The courts of law shall always put into consideration the “reasonableness and constitutional right” of the school rules and regulations. Rules that encroached on a constitutional right of students will invariably be invalidated by courts.
2.6 The Concept of in Loco-Parentis and its Relationship to Student’s Discipline
In educational circle, the special relationship which exists between students and the schoolteacher regarding discipline is termed in loco-parentis. It is assumed that the teacher in performing certain roles especially as it relate to control of parental jurisdiction.
According to Remmlein and Wane in Igwe (1998:82) in loco-parentis means “in place of the parent, charged with some of the parent’s right, duties and responsibilities”.
The implication is that schoolteachers or authorities stand in place of parents in respect to students’ education and discipline. By this it is expected that teacher have the invariably contracted with parents to perform some of the duties and functions of the latter. The teacher is therefore expected to act reasonably in this capacity.
In present, the teachers acting in loco-parent is to discipline an erring student, and should ensure that the punishment was done reasonably and in good faith in order to avoid costly and embarrassing court cases. The teacher should act within the limit of this principle, because according to Eferakaya (1998:17), school officials who perpetuate acts of indiscipline can no longer be protected by the in loco parentis doctrines the courts are quite convinced that the school is incapable of assuming full parental responsibilities.
2.7 Student’s Indiscipline and Classroom Management
The International Dictionary of Education formally defines discipline as a term to describe teacher classroom control or general restraint of pupils behaviour Lingworth (2004:18) argues that coercion can never be a method of educating in the sense that where teachers tend to interpret control of threats thereby forcing students to learn what he has taught them is far behind the truth.
Another interesting aspect of discipline and administrative control is the use of scientific procedures known as behaviour modification based on the learning theory developed by Skinner who advocates some technique and positive reinforcement such as using rewards to bring about and maintain desired behaviour combined with extinction behaviour i.e. weakening undesired behaviour by ignoring it or by otherwise removing its reward consequences.
However, the work of Lauwerys (1999:42) is discovered to be in contrast with the scientific procedures of behaviour modification and psychodrama work of Piaget. His work on classroom management focuses attention on the teachers’ public demonstration that he knows what is going on, his ability to facilitate smooth transaction from one activity to another and handle movement and type of demand he makes from pupil. There is bound to be conflict when administration in school is taken to be rigid and regimentation, where students have to fear administrations rather than respect them. Fagbula (2002:80) in his work concludes that teachers rather than settle their minor matters take them to the school administrators create a problem to administrative control of schools. Bad administrative control can hinder effective discipline tone in the school. These can take the form of giving bad and inadequate food to students, ineffective teaching, bad staff behaviour, authoritarian methods of administration, high school rules, arrogant attitude of the school prefects, unsatisfactory curricula, poor examination results, poor communication between administrators and school pupils.
2.8 Strategies for Curbing Indiscipline
It is imperative to ensure that the best behaviours and conditions are inculcates, established and maintained for effective learning to take place in our secondary schools. This can be realised if we accept that the teacher has the power to impose discipline by using some sort of power over this students.
However, this is only possible to a little extent, for it to have meaningful impact it must also take into account the psychological needs and development level of the student.
A well-managed school begins with thorough advance planning by the school head and the teachers. Accordingly, extrinsic and intrinsic motivation should be used, positive and negative motivation, provision and satisfaction of students need the teacher having adequate knowledge of the subject, teaching students how to learn and making them to use their time effectively.
The school environment should be busy, and an active place in which the students and teachers know that they are on the same side working together to achieve something worthwhile. Such an environment is likely to establish mutual respect, and a mild reproof or expression of disappointment on the part of the teacher will enhance discipline.
Cleanliness and tidiness of surrounding, not being excessively noisy or disruptive when others are working, taking care of communal property, and punctuality exhibition of normal courtesies expected by the society to be observed. The rules can be established by quite persistence and good example by the teacher.
In essence, good discipline enables the sort of psychological need proposed by Maslow and others to be satisfied. This is because most disciplinary cases are as a result of unfulfilled basic needs. The teacher should look carefully at each level including the most basic psychological one of nutrition and ventilation.
2.9 Summary of the Reviewed Literature
The chapter examined the concept of indiscipline as it derived from the word discipline. Discipline here means a mode of life in accordance with rules, subjected to control. Therefore, indiscipline means lack of control in the behaviour of a group of people. Relating the above to the school environment, indiscipline could be referred to as inability of a person to live in accordance with school rules and regulation; it is the breaking of rules and regulations of institution.
Imperative and causes of indiscipline were discussed from the multi-dimensional perspective, which include cultism, indecent dressing, curriculum content, parental training, societal influence, corruption and rural-urban drift. Again, school indiscipline and academic achievement, which implies the control of a class to achieve desired behaviour was discussed. The chapter also examined school rules and regulations on discipline, which are drawn up to regulate school activities for the orderly conduct of the school affairs.
The concept of in loco-parentis and its relationship to student discipline, which is the special relationship that exist between students and the school teacher regarding discipline, because the teacher is expected to stand in place of the parent in respect to students’ education and discipline.
Finally, strategies of curbing indiscipline which include pedagogical, social and psychological techniques of curbing indiscipline in secondary school were proffered.
This chapter presents the research methodology to be adopted for the study. It is organised under the following heading: Research Design, Population of the Study, Sample and Sampling Technique, Instrumentation, Validity of the Instrument, Administration of the Instrument, and Data Analysis Technique.
3.1 Research Design
The research design adopted for this study is the descriptive survey research design, which is concerned with condition or relationships that exist and practices that prevail.
Specifically, it is concerned with identified the problems of indiscipline in secondary schools in Abua/Odual Local Government Area.
3.2 Population of the Study
The population of this study is 440 persons, who are teachers in the twenty-two (22) secondary schools in Abua/Odual Local Government Area.
3.3 Sample and Sampling Techniques
A stratified random sampling technique was used for the study. Out of twenty-two (22) secondary schools in Abua/Odual Local Government Area, ten (10) were sampled out through the ballot system; this represents 46% of secondary schools in Abua/Odual Local Government.
In each school, ten (10) teachers were randomly selected to give 100 teachers, which represent 52% of the total number of teachers in Abua/Odual Local Government Area. Thus, the sample for this study is made up of 100 respondents.
3.4 Development of Research Instrument The instrument for this study is questionnaire titled “Questionnaire for Teachers on indiscipline problems” (QTIP). It was developed for this study and addressed to various respondents with structured questions developed based on the objectives of the study and the literature reviewed.
The instrument is divided into two (2) sections (A and B). Section “A” deals with the personal data of the respondents; section “B” sought responses to items on factors, which militate against the effective maintenance of discipline in secondary schools.
The questionnaire adopted the 4-point Likert summated rating scale with values: Strongly Agree (SA) = 4; Agree (A) = 3; Disagree (D) = 2; and Strongly Disagree (SD) = 1.
3.5 Validity of the Instrument
The instrument was given to the supervisor and senior lecturers in the department who are experts in educational management to examine and make corrections. They scrutinize item by item and decide its validity to elicit the necessary information needed to provide adequate answers to the research questions.
The final draft of instrument was designed to reflect corrections of the experts in the department. Also the researcher ensured that the five interested research problem areas, which militate against the effective maintenance of discipline in secondary schools to ensure that it is adequate enough to measure, what is supposed to measure and ensuring that the desirable result is achieved.
3.6 Administration of the Instrument
The instrument for this study was administered personally by the researcher. The completed copies were retrieved on the spot while the others were retrieved later.
3.7 Data Analysis Technique
The responses was based on the 4-point Likert summated rating scale will be analysed and presented in table by means of percentages.
A decision on the research questions was made to arrive at by dividing frequency of occurrence by the total number of respondents and multiplied the product by 100, that is:
Frequency of occurrence x 100
Number of respondents 1
PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA
In this chapter the data collected is presented and analysed as follows:
Research question one: What factors are responsible for school indiscipline?
Note: the following was used to analyze the work.
Strongly Agree (SA) = 4
Agree (A) = 3
Disagree (D) = 2
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