Worried by the moral decadence in her school, a meeting of the management team of a secondary school was convened. One of the strategies adopted for improvement was the constitution of a disciplinary committee. The deliberation took an interesting dimension during the recommendation and consideration of teachers for inclusion in this committee.
The principal set the tone for this session with his announcement:
“You have all seen how stubborn our students are. So we don’t need teachers who are afraid to flog in this committee.”
“That means we need more of male teachers.” The vice principal administration quickly added.
The suggestion by the school counselor, a lady, that she and the chapel mistress should be included in that committee was immediately rebuffed by the vice principal academics.
The principal concurred with the vice principal academics by stating that the committee should be “focused on instilling discipline in the erring students, and that the long stories from the counselor and the chapel mistress would be a distraction.”
The school counselor expressed her disappointment that they were getting it all wrong. She struggled to make explanations but could not achieve much.
A Better Concept
It is a common practice for schools to set up disciplinary committees to assist in the achievement of discipline. In addition to supporting students to ensure that they do the right things at all times, this committee should also ensure that teachers apply discipline in their relationship with students. Since the psychological and emotional balance of students are essential in the maintenance of real discipline, this committee should play active roles in monitoring the school’s students’ grievance procedure in respect of offences by fellow students, teachers and other workers in the school.
The committee should note that each disciplinary case should be uniquely approached. A general approach will usually include the following:
Invite consistently non-complying students for discussion. This discussion will enable the committee members acquire wide understanding of the child and the problem he has presented.
Allow such students to express their anxieties, confusion and challenges.
Provide support and guidance where necessary.
Bear in mind that students deserve respect even when they have broken rules. Debasing a delinquent student may make his case worse.
Demand for compliance without threat of punishment.
Track progress, commending every little improvement patiently.
Encourage self-appraisal and self-generated strategies for improvement.
Considering the delicate function it should perform, this committee should ideally be made up of emotionally stable, disciplined, fair, objective, firm and mature teachers who have understood and effectively keyed into the right ideology on discipline and the school’s policy on it. Some mature students may also be include:
It is regrettable when the activities of such an important committee are driven by people who operate on the narrow perception that discipline is maintained by inflicting on students physical and emotional torture. This is the philosophical basis of the principal’s announcement above, and I am of the opinion that he is in the process of ignorantly laying a faulty foundation for discipline in his school. The teachers in schools that operate on the wrong and narrow philosophy of discipline in countries where there are not yet child protective regulatory provisions would be seen carrying canes to scare children. Unfortunately, teachers struggle more to contain delinquency in such situations!
All who are worried by the increasing dimensions of insecurity due to crime perpetrated by human beingswho for one reason nor the other, have not been nurtured to be conscience, love and logic driven, should key into the efforts that are aimed at improving parenting skills at all levels of child care and education.
-Uchenna N Nduka