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The study was on the effect of cognitive restructuring and shaping techniques in reducing lateness among secondary school students. The study was carried out in Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State using quasi-experimental design. Two hundred and sixty-five (265) latecomers made up the population of the study, while ninety (90) latecomers made up the sample. An observation guide designed by the researcher was used for data collection. Three research questions were answered using frequency, and six null hypotheses were tested using ANCOVA. Result showed among others that both cognitive restructuring and shaping techniques were effective in reducing both the number of days of lateness to school and the magnitude of lateness of the latecomers. Based on the findings, recommendations were made. These include: (1) School guidance counsellors in the State should organize Parents’ day for PTA members and apply cognitive restructuring on them to enable those of them who are responsible for their wards being late to school to rethink and come to the aid of these children. (2) Physical punishment should be abolished in secondary schools set aside by the school authorities on lateness to give room for more meaningful and purposeful psychological therapies.



Background of the Study – – 1 Statement of the Problem – – 5
Purpose of the Study – – 6
Significance of the Study – – 7
Scope of the Study – – 9
Research Questions – – 10
Hypotheses – – 10

Conceptual Framework – – 13
The concept of cognitive restructuring – 13
The concept of shaping – – 15
The concept of lateness – 17
Theoretical Framework – – 19
Theories of cognitive restructuring – 19
Theories of shaping – – 24
Lateness – – 26
Empirical Framework – – 48
Empirical studies on effect of cognitive restructuring on changing undesirable behaviour. 51
Empirical studies on effect of shaping on changing undesirable behaviour. – 51
Empirical studies on lateness. – 51
Summary of Related Literature Review – 52

Research Design – – 54
Area of the Study – – 55
Population of the Study – 56
Sample and Sampling Technique – 56
Instrument for Data Collection – 57
Validation of Instrument – – 57
Method of Data Collection – – 58
Experimental Procedure – – 59
Control of Extraneous Variables – 60
Method of Data Analysis – – 61

Summary of Findings – – 75

Discussion of Findings – – 78
Conclusion – – 84
Implications of the Study to Counselling – 84
Recommendations – – 84
Limitations of the Study – – 86
Suggestions for Further Studies – 86
References – – 88
Appendices – – 95


Background of the Study
Lateness and punctuality are common phenomena in life
activities. They are opposite sides of each other, like
opposite sides of a coin. Punctuality entails doing things in
time (early). Lateness entails doing things behind time
schedule. Lateness is generally what one experiences in
everyday activities at home and public life. Evidence abound
that people go late to activities, including work. Teachers
come late to school; workers in other fields of work attend to
their duties late. This has negative effect on both the work
and the workers (employees) respectively. The work may be
done hurriedly and at the end the output may be less and of
poor quality. In the work situation, lateness by the
employees without permission from the supervisor in advance
will attract him sanction and he may look for an opportunity
to work the balance of his scheduled shift as a make-up
(Internet Resource, 2008). According to Green (2007) many
people possess this sad habit, and there are some who are
constantly and consistently late. He finally concluded that
millions of people suffer from it.
Daily observations show that many students in different
parts of Nigeria come late to school habitually, be it private,
public or mission secondary schools. Between the hours of
9.00am and 10.00am, secondary schools students are seen
coming to school which had started by 7.30am or 7.45am.
This problem is considered serious enough in the sense that
teachers who ought to be in the class teaching between these
hours of 9.00am and 10.00am are busy monitoring the
latecomers. It is also observed that lateness to school by
these secondary schools students is increasing at a
tremendous rate all through the country. Ifelunni (1991)
equally noted that the rate at which students go late to
school is on the increase.
Consequent upon the observed increase in lateness in
secondary schools by students, there is a feeling that there
are various factors contributing to this problem among
students. Thus, one can argue that the extent of lateness a
student exhibits depends on these factors, which may be
acting singly, or in combination for some students and not
others. Adeyemo (1975) outlined these factors to include
bad company, keeping late nights and uninteresting method
of teaching by the teacher. Oyebanre (2000) suggested that
maladaptive behaviour, which includes lateness to school, is
caused by poor conditions in homes and environment; and
that it is more prevalent among lower-socio-economic
Lateness to school has some negative implications for
the students. It may lead to the students telling lies`,
cheating, keeping malice, quarreling, missing class lessons
and failing examinations (Anagbogu, 2002). It may also lead
to truancy and dropping out of school (Ogbuvbu, 2008).
Moreover, experience shows that students who come late to
school are severely punished. For example, they are beaten,
flogged and kept under the sun kneeling down for long hours;
all in a bid to see if they will either stop coming late to school,
or at least reduce the rate at which they come late to school.
Despite such punishment measures as noted earlier,
which the school authority uses to check lateness among
secondary school students, these students still come late to
school. This is worrisome, and one stands to reason that
punishment does not help in solving problem behaviour
among students. Instead it has lead to increase in
undesirable behaviour like aggression. Such punishment
strategies as tongue-lashing, prolonged torture, ridiculing and
flogging among others, no doubt inflict pains on the late
comers. Moreover, they tend to cause more psychological,
emotional, social, moral and personal problems than bring
about the desired results. Verbal punishment for instance
could make a late-coming student lose confidence in himself
or herself since it is ego-deflating. This inhibits the student’s
attainment of his or her goals.
Since the various forms of punishments commonly used
in secondary schools to address lateness behaviour among
students have failed but even have in some cases increased
their problems leading to increased lateness, the researcher
is motivated to tackle the problem using two counselling
techniques of cognitive restructuring and shaping.
Cognitive restructuring is a technique in cognitive
therapy developed by Aaron Beck in the 1960s. Cognitive
restructuring aims at removing one’s “faulty thinking” and
irrational counter-factual beliefs with more accurate and
beneficial ones. (Internet Resources, 2007). It is a process
by which the individual is made to avoid crooked and
irrational thinking and think straight (Essuman, Nwaogu and
Nwachuku, 1990). The therapy restructures the already
structured irrational thoughts, beliefs and philosophies, which
an individual has already acquired by redressing and
changing them at the mental level of the person concerned to
ensure his happiness and efficiency at school or workplace
(Uba, 1989).
Shaping strategy is training the individual to acquire a
desired behaviour by reinforcing every response the
individual makes which brings him or her closer to the desired
behaviour while eliminating the undesired response by
ignoring them through non-reinforcement. It implies using
reinforcement to bring about change in behaviour. According
to Okoli (2002), the technique is used to teach new
behaviour. Invariably, it is necessary to investigate the effect
of cognitive restructuring technique and shaping technique in
handling lateness among secondary school students.
It is important to note that these techniques have
proved effective in handling some problem behaviours. For
instance, Chukwunonyem (2001) used cognitive restructuring
technique to change pupils’ behaviour in mathematics, and
Isaac (as cited in Akinade & Adedipe, 1994) used shaping
successfully to reinstate verbal behaviour in hospitalized
psychotics. Therefore, it is hoped that the techniques will
also be effective in handling lateness among students.

Statement of the Problem
Many secondary school students attend school late
everyday of the week. This has led to many of the students
attending classes late and in some cases missing classes
entirely, especially if the classes come up in the morning
hours. This would mean that students do not participate
actively in class work; and will thus lead to poor performance
of students in tests, assignments and examinations.
Lateness has indeed stood in the way of learning vis-à-vis
school success of these students.
The routine method of using punishment to control
lteness does not appear to be effective. In fact punishment
has failed because it is externally imposed and does not
mobilize the willpower and participation of the individual
concerned. Against this, it is thus important to find out non
punitive measures to control lateness among secondary
school students. Hence the choice of cognitive restructuring
and shaping techniques to allow for full participation of the
late comers. While the cognitive restructuring technique will
change their attitude about lateness, shaping technique will
change their behaviour towards lateness. The fundamental
problem is how to reduce lateness to school among secondary
school students.

Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study is to determine the effect
of cognitive restructuring and shaping techniques in reducing
late-coming behaviour to school among secondary school
Specifically, the study is to determine:
1. How effective cognitive restructuring technique is in
reducing lateness among students.
2. How effective shaping technique is in reducing lateness
among students.
3. Which of the two techniques (cognitive restructuring
and shaping techniques) is more effective in reducing
lateness among students?

Significance of the Study
The investigation has both empirical and theoretical
significance. The findings of this study will be beneficial to
guidance and counselling consultants, and also the school
guidance counsellor. It will help them acquire and master new
techniques of handling lateness to school.
The findings of this study will also be beneficial to the
school authority. For example, when the rate of lateness to
school among students is reduced, the school authority will
have less disciplinary problem to contend with, and this will
lead to improved quality of learning, which in turn will directly
or indirectly lesson the rate of examination malpractices.
The findings of this study will be very helpful to the
teachers as they could highlight the fact that some students
in the calss formerly tagged “never-do-wells” are in deed
achievers themselves except for their inability to manage
their time very well. The findings will also reveal to the
teachers the effect of extraneous factors in the academic
achievements of the students. This realization will thus make
the teachers willing to find ways of helping the students in
the class towards attainment of their expectations.
The findings of this study will also be useful to the
students who will be leaders of tomorrow. They will
appreciate the negative effects of lateness and start attending
school in time. This will make them carry on the good habits
of punctuality to other ventures now, and in the future. The
students will equally learn that lateness is a learned habit
that can be cured.
The findings of this study may lead to policy makers
making teachers undergo training on the two techniques so
that they can use them to address students’ issues where
The findings of this study will also be beneficial to
parents. Arrangement for meetings and public talks with
parents may be organized in the school to make parents
understand that they contribute to students late-coming to
school and so directly or indirectly to the poor academic
achievement of their children by failing to help them manage
their time well.
Also the findings of this study will inspire researchers
who are concerned with issues affecting students to carryout
more studies on the use of cognitive restructuring technique
and shaping technique on other aspects of issues affecting
the students. In addition, other researchers may likewise be
motivated to develop keen interest in seeking ways of curing
lateness in other spheres of life.

Scope of the Study
The study covered lateness in two broad dimensions,
namely: number of days of lateness and magnitude of
lateness. The magnitude of lateness was further divided into
four categories. Based on the time morning assembly started
to the time teachers could be outside catching latecomers.
These categories were: –
1. Very Severe Lateness (V.S.L.) – 9.06am – 9.35am.
2. Severe Lateness (S.L.) – 8.36am – 9.05am.
3. Mild Lateness (M.L.) – 8.06am – 8.35am.
4. Very Mild Lateness (V.M.L.) – 7.35am – 8.05am.

Three groups of students were investigated. They were:
1. The experimental group 1, on whom was used the
cognitive restructuring technique.
2. The experimental group 2, on whom was used the
shaping technique.
3. The control group, on whom no technique but ordinary
group counselling by their school guidance counsellors
was used.

Research Questions
The following three research questions guided the
1. How effective is cognitive restructuring technique in
reducing lateness among secondary school students?
2. How effective is shaping technique in reducing
lateness among secondary school students?
3. Which of the two techniques: cognitive restructuring
and shaping is more effective in reducing lateness
among secondary school students?

The following six null hypotheses were tested at the
0.05 statistical level of significance:
1. The reduction in the number of days of lateness of the
students treated with cognitive restructuring technique
and that of those in the control group will not differ
2. There is no significant difference in the reduction in the
number of days of lateness of the students treated with
shaping technique and those in the control group.
3. There is no significant difference in the reduction in the
number of days of lateness of the students who were
treated with cognitive restructuring and those treated
with shaping technique.
4. There is no significant difference in the changes in the
magnitude of lateness of students treated with
cognitive restructuring and those in the control group.
5. The changes in the magnitude of lateness for students
treated with shaping technique and those in the control
group do not differ significantly.
6. The change in the magnitude of lateness for students
treated with cognitive restructuring and those treated
with shaping techniques do not differ significantly.


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