A School at the Disciplinary Turning Point: the Way Forward

A disciplinary confusion is not so easy to identify in a school because teachers in such schools are always seen coercing or threatening students with force and aggression to make them perform one activity or the other. School and class prefects have to necessarily bully other children to extract obedience to simple instructions. It is a common sight, and in fact seems right for pupils and students to always be found crying, pleading or serving one form of punishment or the other even while academic activities are going on.

This situation is even worse in primary schools where activity-based teaching methods are no longer used, while children are expected to behave like adults and always made to feel guilty of noise-making.  I had to complain at some point to the school authorities because almost all of the children in a nursery class of school were always told to kneel down, close their eyes and raise their hands up when  parents came to pick their children after school. The teacher’s explanation when I asked was that they were always making noise.

Teachers in such environments are always heard making negative comments about children and talking in anger and frustration. Love and confidence in student-teacher relationships are usually at the lowest level. Students resent their teachers and learning is negatively affected.  Despite the ‘efforts’ of teachers, acts of rebellion are common among the students in such a school. No wonder such schools would usually always describe her graduating students as ‘stubborn’ and also accommodate one form of exam malpractice or the order from the students during external exams.

The way forward for any school at the disciplinary turning point is a reorientation of its educational philosophies and methodologies, change to the non-abusive and acceptable disciplinary approach, training and re-training of teachers, and close monitoring of teachers to ensure that they fully comply with the prescribed improved method. A school in transition to the better method should be ready to contend with the actions of some teachers who would device strategies to resist change and make comments that would imply that the improved method would not work.

Readers should watch out for more on this topic.

 

-Uchenna N. Nduka

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