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THE ROLE OF SCHOOL DISCIPLINE ON STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
1.1 Background to the Study
Provision of quality education and training is the ultimate goal of any educational system. The success of teaching is reflected by academic performance of students. This goal can never be achieved without school discipline. How students are disciplined has been an issue since the inception of public education. In 1770, William Blackstone applied the phrase in loco parentis, which literally means in place of the parents, to educators. In loco parentis gave teachers the ability to act in place of the parent in response to disciplinary actions (Conte, 2000). In loco parentis was implemented in schools in the early 1900s, and with it came corporal punishment.
Victorian era parents believed children who were lazy and insubordinate were alienating themselves from God, and teachers were thought to be the perfect authority figure to ensure alienation did not occur (Parker-Jenkins, 1997). During this time period corporal punishment was viewed as necessary to produce citizens who conformed to the norms of society, beat out sin, and ensure learning occurred (Parker Jenkins, 1997). The book of Proverbs in the Bible advocates the use of a rod, i.e. corporal punishment, to save children’s souls from death. Therefore, teachers began administering corporal punishment for acts of wrong doing by their charges (Conte, 2000).
Recently scholars have written more on indiscipline among pupils and its effects on learning outcome and their progress in schools. Discipline in school is a very important aspect towards academic excellence, while lack of it usually gives rise to a lot of problems such as lack of vision and mission, poor time management, irregular attendance and punishment. It also plays a vital role in the acquisition of sense of responsibility in learners as well as educators. Gawe, Vakalisa and Jacobs, (2001:190) express cooperative learning if academic performance is to be achieved among students.
Effective discipline helps in the achievement of goals, expectation and expectation and responsibility in students (Dunham, 1984:66).Good discipline creates a good image of the school and prepares learners for the future. Disruptive behavior amongst learners eliminated if there is good discipline at school. The implementation of effective discipline at school is a key for the learner in his journey to adulthood. By definition discipline refers to the ability to carry out reasonable instructions or orders to reach appropriate standards of behaviors. It is understood to be that abstract quality in a human being which is associated with and manifested by a person’s ability to do things well at the right time, in the right circumstance, without or with minimum supervision (Ngonyani, 1973:15).
Various studies have been conducted on issues pertaining to schools’ academic performance, such as those by Malekela (2000:61), Galabawa (2000:100) and Mosha (2000:4). They have pointed out some factors that lead to varying levels of performance in schools, including availability of teachers, availability of teaching and learning materials and language communication. Omari (1995) talks about school discipline as one among aspects that influence performance in schools. School discipline is an essential element in any educational institution if the students are to benefit from the opportunities offered to them. Omari (1995:38) argues that it is difficult to maintain order and discipline in schools where teachers have no space to sit, prepare and mark students’ work. In other words, Omari (1995) supports the above scholars that availability of teaching and learning materials has an impact on school discipline. Indiscipline in schools, and consequently, school strikes, destroy the teaching- learning environment. Occasionally there are protests, riots and violence and sometimes the police have to come in to intervene to protect school property. Some schools become virtual prisons as they construct huge walls and expensive fences to protect good students, teachers and property against undisciplined students. Ohsako (1997:7) argues that violence is a sensitive issue that provokes anxiety, arouses emotions and has negative impact on school performance.
Despite the rules endorsed by the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training but they are not followed by many of the students and their teachers in some government and private schools, who misbehave wherever they are outside the school environment. As Omari (1995:25) observes, the most important thing is not so much to have written rules pinned in the office of the head teacher or discipline master as to have rules actually implemented. School rules and regulations should facilitate administrative work, should focus on the creation of a good atmosphere for teaching and learning.
For several years now there have been concerns by various people and groups regarding thedeterioration of the quality of education in secondary schools. Schools vary in categories some school have maintained standard other school standard decline .It’s time to look the circumstances surrounding differential performance among them; as well as the varying levels of discipline associated with different school categories.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The survey of the results of the national Form Four Examinations in Lagos state for 10 years now, from 2003 to 2013, indicates dominance of some secondary schools in the top positions. Despite numerous studies that have been carried out such as those by Malekela (2000:61), Galabawa (2000:100), Mosha (2000:4) and Omari (1995:38) that look for factors associated with academic performance in schools, little has been investigated on discipline, particularly with respect to best performing secondary schools in comparison with least performing secondary schools. A study into this issue is thus imperative that focused on how school discipline can be identified or defined, factors of its existence or absence in schools, and the principal determinants of school discipline in relation to academic performance in schools. Therefore there is a need to address the issue of indiscipline in schools if they are to meet the academic and social needs of all students and the society in general.
1.3 General Objectives of the Study
The general objective of the study was to examine the extent to which students in best performing schools are disciplined compared to students in least performing secondary schools in Kosefe Local Government Area.
1.4 Specific Objectives of the Study
i). To examine the suitability of set rules and regulations in best and least performing schools.
ii). To examine the mechanisms in place that ensures that students’ abides to prescribed rules and regulations.
iii). To examine how the students punishment management influence academic performance.
iv). To investigate how the administration of school rules and regulation contribute students’ academic performance.
1.5 Research Questions
i). To what extent set rules and regulations in best performing and least performing schools are suitable?
ii). Do mechanisms in place ensure that students’ abides to prescribed rules and regulations?
iii). To what extent students’ punishment management influence academic performance?
iv). How does administration of school rules and regulations affect students’ academic performance?
1.6 Significance of the Study
The study is expected to give information which will be helpful to school head teachers, policy makers in the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, parents and other stakeholders’ in Lagos state. Furthermore the study is expected to help the Government of Lagos state in solving the increasing problems of indiscipline among students’ in schools. Also the study will assist head of schools on how to manage school rules and regulations, not only in Kosefe Local Government Area but also in other schools in the whole country at large and also will provide protective measures against indiscipline.
1.7 Definition of Terms
Academic performance is the measured ability and achievement level of a learner in a school, subject or particular skills.
Discipline in this study means a form of discipline appropriate to the regulation of children and the maintenance of order in the school.
Performance in this study is the act or a process of performing a task or an action. How well or badly you do things is also involved. So the learner’s actions at school indicate his performance.
School in this study is described as a formal institution for instruction or preparation for adult life which transport culture to the next generation.
1.8 Delimitation and Limitations of the Study
• Some respondents did not return the questionnaire in time and others did not fill them. The researcher had to make follow up until got enough data for analysis.
• Some head of school did not allow researcher to do research in their schools. They end up give promises for researcher to come next time that they are busy with other school issues. To tackle this researcher had to look for other school to do the research.
• Financial constraints and time limit. To handle this researcher had to work on time and use money wisely.
1.9 Chapter Summary
This chapter covered issues at stake that included background to the problem, statement of the problem, purpose of the study, specific objectives, research tasks and questions as well as significance of the study. It also covered scope of the study and chapter summary. The next chapter reviewed the available sources of literature related to the study.
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