Strategies For Managing Disciplinary Problems Among Secondary School Students

Project and Seminar Material for Education

Project and Seminar Material for Education


This study is aimed at investigating strategies for managing disciplinary problems among secondary school students in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. Four research questions were formulated to guide the study. Survey research design was used for the study. The population for this study was five thousand, six hundred (5,600) students from eighteen (18) public secondary schools in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. A simple random sampling technique was adopted to draw ten (10) secondary schools from the study area. Also simple random sampling was used to draw (37) students from each of the ten (10) secondary schools chosen for the study, which gave a total of three hundred and seventy (370) respondents as sample for the study.

Collected data was analyzed using mean and frequency. Based on the analysis of the data collected the study, results showed amongst others that; Guidance Counselors could help in curbing disciplinary problems. among secondary school students, such as helping students to develop good relationship skills that could help to curb disciplinary problems. Parents Teachers Association (P.T.A) help in managing disciplinary problems of secondary school students, School disciplinary committee could help in managing disciplinary problems of secondary school students, School functionaries help in curbing disciplinary problem of secondary schools students, etc. Based on the findings of the study, recommendations were made which include the following; that schools should have strong relationships with parents through Parents Teachers Association (PTA).

Chapter One


1.1 Background Of The Study

The development of a country entirely depends on its citizens and this responsibility particularly rests on its younger generation. As a result, a country needs to have a well developed generation in order to build the nation effectively in various spheres of development (Bahru, 2014). Well-developed citizens in intellectual, social and psychomotor domains necessitate concerted effort from several parties. It goes without saying that parents, schools, and the community play paramount role in cultivating the all rounded personality of its younger generation. Specifically, schools could exert a tremendous effort in the process of socializing students and thereby they could minimize behavioral problems of students (Bahru, 2014).

The invaluable roles and contributions of education in the development of an individual and the society cannot be overemphasized. Many countries including Nigeria, take education as an instrument for the promotion of national development as well as effecting desirable social change (NPE, 2004). This perhaps, might be responsible for the continuous growing concern of all stakeholders in education industry on changes that are likely to affect it as well as the implications such changes will have on the management and administration of education (Udey, Ebuara, Ekpoh, and Edet, 2009).

Schools are the fundamental socio-instructional institutions where the teaching-learning endeavor is executed in a formally organized manner. The primary purpose of schooling in one way or another is to serve its clients so that they could get the necessary atmosphere to manifest the desired behavioral changes in their entire personalities so as to bring such indispensable intentions to an end successfully (Bahru, 2014). Cooper (1993), states that effective classroom management is a prerequisite to effective classroom instruction. To this effect, teachers in most secondary schools of the country are being evaluated by their deduction both to create and maintain conducive learning environment in their classrooms by identifying, explaining and managing the various type studentsā€™ behavior in the class room.

The behavior of a student in the classroom is of paramount importance. Behavior becomes a problem when it deviates so much from normal behavior for the studentsā€™ age bracket (Padilla, 2006). The schools are in a strategic position to influence directly how students think, feel and behave concerning what is right and wrong. In view of this, the need to instill discipline in the classroom should be the goal of every teacher. Discipline is the key component to effective school or classroom management. The word discipline has wider significance and has been used more often in the field of education. Rosen (2005), defines discipline as a branch of knowledge or learning, a training that develops self-control, character, orderliness or efficiency. It is a strict control to enforce obedience and it is a treatment that controls or punishes and a system of rules.

Discipline is a complex process that involves both internal and external factors. It is the system of rule and process that involves both internal and external factors, developing self-control, enforcing obedience for the purpose of gaining more effective dependable action. This definition indicates the impact of external factors which are from the environment in which the child lives, grows and learns. The internal factors from within the child could be the cause for the childā€˜s disciplinary problems making discipline a complex process (Tirunesh, 2015).

Studentsā€™ misbehavior reduces the effectiveness and pleasure in the teaching and learning process. One of the various obstacles facing the education system in recent times is disciplinary problem particularly at secondary school level. Students are expected to show adjusted behavior in schools to facilitate effective teaching and learning process in the classroom. School training concerns handling the pupil and should also be offered for both teachers and administrators. Teachers and School Administrators should be properly trained about the impact in the manifestation of conduct disorder in school situation (Tirunesh, 2015).

Several factors have been adduced to disciplinary problems in secondary schools. Olaitan, Mohamed and Ajbola (2013) indicate, the decline of indiscipline in most schools as originating from the communities stressing that parents show a lack of tolerance and respect towards government authorities as well as towards educators and some have a laissez-faire approach towards their children. There are some factors related to the lack of parental involvement that influence disciplinary problems. Single parent homes, a lack of parental control at home, the negative influence of television, neighborhood and community problems that influence the home and value differences between the home and the school are some of the disciplinary causes listed by Olaitan, etal (2013).

The main school associated causes of students disciplinary problems according to Olaitan et al were, unclear or inconsistently perceived school rules by the stakeholders. In such a case, students do not believe in the outlined rules. In the same manner teachers and school administrators do not recognize what the rules imply or complain about the necessary responses to be given to student misconduct. Teacher-administration smooth relationship failed for needed and common result and also teachers attitude need to be changed positively towards the issue (Olaitan, 2013). According to Olaitan, etal (2013), the absence of adequate resources and the school size were also among the causes for studentā€˜s disciplinary problems.

Rosen (1997) distinguishes the following types of disciplinary problems in secondary schools, namely; defiance of school authority; class disruption; truancy; fighting; the use of profanity; damaging school property; dress code violations; theft; and leaving school without permission. The other common types of disciplinary problems experienced in secondary schools as mentioned by Donnelly (2000) include fights, insubordination, little support for educators, a general climate of disrespect, and distrust of the administration. Also, McManus (1995) lists several types of misbehaviours which make the work of educators difficult. These include; repeatedly asking to go to the toilet, missing lessons, absconding, smoking in the toilets, pushing pass the educator, playing with ma tches in class, making rude remarks to the educator, talking when the learner is supposed to be writing, being abusive to the educator, fighting in class, chasing one another around the classroom, taking the educatorā€™s property, wearing bizarre clothing and make-up, etc.

Misbehavior disrupts, it may be hurtful, and it may disinherit others. There are some effects of disciplinary problems on teachersā€™ jobs. One is that, teachers feel insecure. According to Nakpodia (2010), teachers claim that schools are no longer places of safety and order. He stressed that unless parents and guardians go back to the roots of child socialization, teaching would become a dangerous vocation, because when it is time for a teacher to go to class, he is always thinking of his safety. Nakpodia (2010) further stated that some teachers suspect that [learners] carry guns and because of that, one needs to talk to them with some respect, not real respect as such, but out of fear because students carry dangerous weapons to the classroom, thereby making teachers not be free to teach students. Another effect of student disciplinary problems on teaching learning process is poor performance (Matsimoto, 2000). Because much time is spent on disciplinary cases, less time on teaching, and this means that the syllabus is not completed hence studentsā€™ inadequate preparation for the examinations and learning.

Due to the negative impacts disciplinary problems in secondary schools have on the job of the school teacher, it is necessary that corrective measures are put in place in order to check disciplinary problems in these schools. The administration of punishment cannot be ruled out in the control and discipline of students. The right and authority of a teacher to inflict punishment on students for offences, who breach school rules and regulations, is enhanced by section 34, sub section (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) which specifies peoplesā€™ right to personal liberty; and instances in which a person who has not attained the age of eighteen may be deprived of his right to personal liberty specifically, for educative and welfare purposes. However, punishment must be reasonable and properly meted out to the student on account of the offence committed, it should be moderate and commensurate with the offence committed (Nakpodia, 2010). Although, it has been emphasized that school authorities have the right to punish students for breach of school regulations, the administration of punishment that entails physical chastisement needs to be done with caution. Corporal punishment must not be inflicted in such a way or with such force as may be considered sadistic, cruel or excessive (Nakpodia, 2010).

Also, corrective measures can be put in place in order to check disciplinary problems in these schools through the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) in various schools. Mabeba and Prinsloo (2000) argue that parents through Parents Teachers Association (PTA) have a very important role to play in supporting teachers to maintain discipline in secondary schools. Parents Teachers Association can assess the school rules and values to make sure they are clearly stated and can be understood by the students. They could also ensure all students are treated fairly and without personal preferences or prejudice. Students could be encouraged by PTA to ask questions and are counseled when they have problems or when they make mistakes. Abdulkareem and Oduwaiye (2011) reiterate that in the modern educational setting, it may be a great omission if parents leave the responsibility of managing schools to teachers alone. Parents must be at the forefront of ensuring that there is efficiency and effectiveness in the management of the schools where their children are schooling. Abdullah, (1996) affirms that parents are the first teachers of students and they must play a major role in ensuring that their childrenā€™s schools are properly managed. He further indicated that schools are situated in communities with parents hence the need to give them an opportunity to shape the destiny of these institutions.

Also, the role of guidance counselors in curbing disciplinary problems in schools is important. In any learning institution, counselors form an essential part of the organization since they serve as key persons to whom students can turn to for help on matters related to general challenges facing a teenager both in school and out of school. With the too academic oriented education system characterized with exam cheating and results irregularities, students are likely to find themselves faced with difficult decisions to make concerning career choices. Students are also faced with other adolescent challenges such as relationships, rapid growth and physical changes, peer pressure, addiction to drugs and alcohol, and the need for identity or to ā€œbelongā€ (Maiyo and Owiye, 2009). The school being a social place receives children both from developed and developing communities with varied characteristics and behavior. The guidance and counseling teachers play crucial roles in shaping the psychological, emotional, moral, and spiritual and education development of students. They look after the welfare of the students by assisting them to make decisions from a wide range of choices available. School counselors play roles as a professional and specialist in counselling of students. They engage in a specialist session on one-to-one counselling process where the ultimate goals are self-understanding self-realization and self-actualization of the student. School counselors are employed to use their skills to resolve their everyday problems or conflict (Tambawal, 2010).

School prefects are not also left out in the solving disciplinary problems in schools. Prefects have numerous roles that they execute at schools, such as acting as a bridge between school authorities and students. Prefects are also tasked with the responsibility of organizing activities in collaboration with teachers and maintain order in the school. This goes a long way in helping to create a better learning environment at school. Prefectsā€™ other roles include keeping vigilance on other students when they are in and out of school. For instance, a prefect who sees a student entering a bar should report such to the authorities so that appropriate action can be taken (Timothy, 2015).

Mathenge (2007) found out that to some extent, prefects are involved in school governance through participation in time keeping and maintenance of school discipline and hence they have an influence on school governance. Their influence could be found in their involvement in supervision of day-to-day school activities and ensuring that school rules and regulations were followed by the students (Mathenge, 2007). School institutions remain a preparatory ground to empower and certify the requirement for development of human for the efficient functioning of the school. School managements reserve power to control the conduct of students through reasonable rules and regulations. Once these rules and regulations are made, they must be enforced on the problems (Olaitan, Mohammed, and Ajibola, 2013).

In recent times, schools at all levels of education are deeply concerned about their studentsā€™ disciplinary problem. It is also becoming the primary concern of parents, teachers, instructional leaders and other concerned bodies in the education system (Bahru, 2014). If the behavior of students failed to be clearly understood, defined and the necessary intervention prepared and implemented, the overall teaching-learning process is considered as futile exercise. Students shout in the school compound, they arrive late, wander in the school compound during the mid-class, bring mobile phones with them, surf Internet in the class while the teachers are teaching, dress indecently and exhibit carelessness, show disobedience, bring clothes and other accessories to immediately change after school (Tirunesh, 2015).

Studentsā€™ misconduct has been linked to their learning outcomes and may reduce class participation or eagerness to learn. One of the problems associated with studentsā€™ misconduct in the teaching-learning process does not only disturb the process of acquiring knowledge or skills but also take the lion shares of teacherā€™s time in the process of managing studentsā€™ behavior at the expense of content delivery (Bahru, 2014). It is on the basis that there is a need for a study on managing studentsā€™ disciplinary problems.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

A close observation of the behaviour of our secondary school students revealed that among other things that students absent themselves from class, school, come to class or school late, dress indecently, fight indiscriminately as well as make away with other students and school properties at will. Above all, some students form clandestine group terrorise their fellow students and other people in the school thereby creating tension and unease to the school management. These have posed a lot of administrative challenges to secondary school administrators. It is on this premise that the problem of this study is posed in the question form, thus what are the strategies for managing disciplinary problems in secondary school students in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State?

1.3 Purpose Of The Study

The general purpose of this study is to carry out an assessment of strategies for managing disciplinary problems in secondary school students in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. Specifically, the study intends to:

  1. Identify how the use of Guidance Counsellors could serve as strategy in Curbing Disciplinary Problems
  2. Identify how the use of Parents Teachers Association (PTA) could serve as a strategy in managing disciplinary problems of secondary school students
  3. Find out how the use of school disciplinary committee could serve as a strategy in managing disciplinary problems of secondary schools.
  4. Find out ways in which the use of school functionaries could serve as a strategy in curbing disciplinary problem of secondary schools.

1.4 Significance Of The Study

The findings of this study will benefit many people in various ways. These include: students, teachers, government, school authority, parents and the society at large.

For students, the study would help them to understand the shortcomings of disciplinary problems in schools. Also they would know that it pays to be well disciplined.

The society would also benefit from this research in the sense that the study will provide the government with the idea of forming action groups for the curbing of disciplinary problems and also for inculcating acceptable code of conducts in the youth generally.

Teachers and principals will be well equipped on how best to handle disciplinary problems among students in order to carry them along to achieve a better standard of academic excellence. Again, the school authority will be able to introduce some additional rules and regulations that will improve the governance of school. Parents will be better informed on their roles as primary assignment which is to grow and train their children to be able to conform to rules and regulations wherever they find themselves.

1.5 Scope Of The Study

The study was carried out in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. It covers the strategies for curbing disciplinary problems among students in secondary schools in the area.

1.6 Research Questions

The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:

  1. How can Guidance Counsellors serve as strategy in Curbing Disciplinary Problems among secondary school students in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State?
  2. How can the use of Parents Teachers Association (PTA) serve as a strategy in managing disciplinary problems among secondary school students in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State?
  3. How can the use of school disciplinary committee serve as a strategy in managing disciplinary problems among secondary school students in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State?
  4. In what ways do the use of school functionaries serve as a strategy in curbing disciplinary problem of secondary school students in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State?

Strategies For Managing Disciplinary Problems Among Secondary School Students

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Frequently Asked Questions

How to manage disciplinary issues in school?

Train students to work and do their activity in a structured environment. Once they understand the structure, they should be able to work in an unstructured environment without losing control. All these tips help to manage disciplinary issues in school. No institution can be operated successfully without proper maintenance of discipline.

What is school discipline and how does it work?

School discipline is a system of a certain code of conduct, behavior and punishments for regulating students and making school well organized. For making teaching learning process effective, the classroom environment must be favorable and opportune.

How do you deal with difficult students in the classroom?

Keep your Students Engaged The more students are engaged in activities, the less they cause problems. Make sure you give interactive classes and teach the students passionately. It is better to make students involved than just giving lectures.

How can we prevent students from misbehaving?

Certain good control procedures are developed to prevent problems. For instance, a cover sheet can help prevent children from cheating during written exams. Such procedure should be easy as possible for the students to choose the right thing and be difficult as possible for them to misbehave or take imperfect decisions.Ā 

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