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Background to the Study
Discipline is an important component of human behaviour. It helps not only to regulate people’s reactions to various situations but also regulating human conduct and relations with others. It is the epicenter of success of a school and all members of a school are expected to adhere to various standards or codes of behaviour (Mestry, 2004).
In the recent past years, there had been an increase in public attention to the problem of discipline in Nigerian school system. Infact, there is the tendency to think that the problem of students unrest do happen quite often these days in our institutions of learning in Nigeria. In our primary, secondary and higher institutions for example, rules and regulations are no longer obeyed. It means that the students do not listen to their teachers and their school head, as well as the teachers themselves violating the rules and regulations of the schools in both private and public schools in Nigeria. They eventually take laws into their hands. This was affirmed by Wright and Kate (2003) and Boakye (2006) that indiscipline behaviour of students may be the result of normal reactions to deficiencies in the school as an institution, and to teachers and administrators as directors of the educational enterprise.
Discipline as explained by various writers from different perspectives and as such cannot be given a specific acceptable definition. But its acceptability depends on the level of usage and popularity in the conceptual framework. According to Adesina (1990), there is need for the school authority to ensure the school rules and regulations are obeyed and to maintain an established standard behaviour. Discipline with specific reference to school system could involve such characteristics as sacrifice, diligence, cooperation, integrity, truthfulness, self-constraints as regards to respect for self and respect for others. A disciplined person is guided by his behaviour to do what is right and good. In this case, discipline could be defined as the ability to respect constituted authority and to observe established rules and regulations of the organization.
The purpose of discipline in the school system is to produce a breed of well cultured students who will develop respect not only for themselves and the society, but also respect for school authorities and obey school regulations. Indiscipline among teachers will affect the development of human resources needed for social and economic transformation of the society (Aigboje and Gbinigie, 2005). The teachers’ behavioural problems are considered the most dangerous ones, which face the components of the educational process (teachers, principals, pupils/students, parents, and supervisors) .The disorder, theft of properties, vandalism, violence against teachers and students are matters that may threaten the educational process (Mohammad, 2011). The disciplinary problems of teachers may lead to students’ practice of disruptive behaviour which cause disciplinary problems in the classroom and may have negative consequence on students in terms of low achievement and also hamper the realisation of the school objectives.
The principal is the head of the management of the secondary school. By virtue of the position he is occupying in the school, he oversees the affairs of the school by guiding the teaching, non-teaching staff and students alike in order to implement laid down educational policies. He is accountable to the Chief Inspector of Education (C.I.E.) since he coordinates all aspects of teaching and supervision in school and also deal with all disciplinary issues in school.
Indiscipline could be regarded as any act that does not conform to social values and norms. Indiscipline takes many shapes and forms depending on how it is being carried out in its assorted forms. It is a destructive element to progress, training or mode of life in accordance with rules. It is misbehaviour in any form. Indiscipline refers to that situation where students or teachers set aside school rules and regulations and do what they like and leave undone what they are expected to do. Indiscipline is violation of school rules and regulations that is capable of obstructing the smooth and orderly functioning of the school system.
The issue of indiscipline among teachers is fast becoming an issue of attention in our education system. The problem of indiscipline among teachers may be linked to poor academic achievement of students thereby leading to a downward slope in the standard of our education system today. Infact, no single issue appears more controversial and apparently subject to misinterpretation as the concept of discipline in schools. Until recently, researchers have concentrated on students’ indiscipline in secondary schools with little or nothing being done in the area of teachers’ discipline. The teachers teach these students and thus are acknowledged as the most important agent of curriculum implementation.
Teachers are the most important feature of any educational system. The system is as good as the teacher who operates it. What it means is that the level of discipline in any school most times is simply a reflection of the extent of discipline among teachers. According to National Policy on Education (FRN, 2004), the objective of secondary education is to train individual for useful and meaningful living in the society. Such aims and aspirations cannot be realised if teachers are not disciplined.
The increase in teachers’ indiscipline can be attributed to many factors. The most prominent among these are social factors, poor management and implementation of government policies (Anuna, 2004). Common indiscipline behaviour exhibited by teachers include: absenteeism and lateness to school, non preparation of lesson notes, failure to mark students exercise books, involvement in examination malpractices, drunkenness, drug addiction and sexual immorality (Okeke, 2004). Indisciplinary problems are serious acts at all levels of our educational system because teachers are the expected professionals entrusted with the responsibility to preserve the culture and destiny of the nation (Okeke, 2004). These disciplinary problems have been identified in the school rules and regulations and teachers code of conduct as explained by Teachers’ Registration Council of Nigeria. These disciplinary problems could include: lateness to work by teachers, examination malpractices, none completion of school records, promotion of cultism, sexual relationship with students, non-enforcement of school rules and teachers absenteeism from work.
Lateness to work by teachers has been a recurring issue in secondary schools and this have often resulted in poor management especially in organizing morning assembly and commencement of teaching. It has equally influenced students’ lateness to school. Coupled with this is the issue of absenteeism where teachers are outright absent from work with or without permission while the principals are at a loss on the appropriate measures to be taken.
Examination malpractice has been on the front burner in Nigeria because of the spread and the dangerous trend it has taken in recent times. The teachers’ involvement in examination malpractice is believed to be the most devastating. It has been a battle which all stakeholders in the education industry have attempted to fight and win. But the alleged teachers continued involvements tend to truncate these efforts of other stakeholders. Though students and parents also play major roles in examination malpractices, commitment of teachers can help to checkmate the practice and possibly bring it to barest level.
The non completion of school records seem to be on the increase. These include statutory records and non-statutory records. Record keeping in school is very vital but the lukewarm attitude and outright failure or refusal to properly keep records has been of great concern to government. Instances of failure in effective marking of registers, writing of lesson notes, recording of continuous assessments abound in schools.
Teachers over the years are been alleged to promote cultism in schools and this is becoming a worrisome issue to stakeholders of education sector and the act calls for urgent attention. Many teachers are alleged to aid and abet cult activities in schools either through financial assistance or by giving special recognition to such students during school events. Some teachers have been alleged to using these cult members for their own personal missions and to carryout illicit activities within and outside the school environment. This unwholesome act on the part of the teachers constitutes disciplinary problem which is capable of hampering the academic process in schools.
The issue of sexual relationship with students in schools has formed major research study over time. Teachers’ sexual relationship with students has become a major disciplinary problem in secondary schools. Students often complain of sexual harassment from their male teachers and vice-versa. This is creating worry for the education system because the secondary education is the bedrock of the education system and teachers have the duty of care as in-loco-parentis and it is very appalling that teachers should defile children placed under their care. Teachers’ non-enforcement of school rules is another major challenge in secondary school. Many teachers shy away from some responsibilities especially in the area of students’ discipline. This has been observed to create serious problems for the management team in most of the secondary schools in Edo Central Senatorial District.
The issue of principals’ perception is central to this study. The principals are heads of schools and heads of school management. Therefore, his perception of these disciplinary problems should be of great concern to all stakeholders in the education industry. The existence, prevalence and control of these disciplinary problems basically depend on the perceptions of principals. Principal’s perception relates to the use of the five senses of touch, sight, taste, smell and hearing to detect the behaviour of teachers. It is the sensory experience of the principals and their ability that will enable them to recognize disciplinary problems exhibited by teachers. It also involves principals cognitive processes required to process information on behaviour of the teachers. It is against this background that this study intends to investigate principals’ perception of teachers’ disciplinary problems in secondary schools in Edo Central Senatorial District, Nigeria.
Statement of the Problem
Achievement of education goals to a large extent depends on teachers’ discipline. Principals play a key role in maintenance of discipline in secondary schools. Principals in secondary schools in Nigeria are expected to maintain and ensure that disciplinary measures are adhered to by both teachers and students. But it has been alleged that many teachers in secondary schools today constitute major aspect of disciplinary problems in schools (Anuna, 2004). Teachers’ indiscipline behaviour is also alleged to have reduced the expected students’ high academic performance. Teachers are role models as they have direct contact with students through classroom teaching and learning process and their influences are acknowledged as very important in the realization of education goals.
In a research carried out on teachers’ perception of disciplinary problems among students in schools, it was found that pupils’ indiscipline can be one of the most important factors driving teachers out of the profession. As further observed by Okhikhu and Onolemhenmhen (2004), students perceived the effect of indiscipline by teachers as low. They also imitate what they see in their teachers.
In order to achieve the corporate objectives of any organization or establishment discipline and proper conduct of staff must be adequately enthroned. More worrisome is the allegation of the expressions of desire by both parents and public administrators for the enthronement of discipline in schools in order to facilitate proper learning environment. This situation has subsequently resulted in staff discipline ranging from issuance of queries to staff on a matter of alleged wrong doing, withholding or denial of salaries, suspension and outright dismissal by the management. To be sure, administrators of these institutions may have been aware of these problems and adequate steps have sometimes been taken to reduce or eliminate disciplinary problems in schools. Despite the efforts and their several years of administrative experience, some school managers are still finding it difficult if not impossible to utilise appropriate approaches to staff discipline. Aside from the above, sometimes they are confused on the type of discipline (corrective action to be taken against a staff for infraction of school rules or code of ethics) (Ohiku, 2010). Many school principals may lack the knowledge, skills, and ability to entrench discipline in schools especially among teaching staff. It has equally been observed that male and female principals tend to differ in their approach to disciplinary problems among staff in secondary schools.
The worries created by these findings stimulated the need to verify these claims and determine how principals as immediate bosses of the teachers perceive the issue of teachers’ disciplinary problems in secondary schools in Edo Central Senatorial District, Nigeria.
To resolve the foregoing problems, the following research questions were raised to guide the researcher through the investigation.
The following hypotheses were formulated and tested at 0.05 of significance.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study was to examine principals’ perception of teachers’ disciplinary problems in secondary schools in Edo Central Senatorial District, Nigeria.
Specifically, the study investigated the following:
Significance of the Study
This study would be of benefit to government, ministry of education, principals, teachers, parents and students. To the government, the research would help them to identify incidences constituting disciplinary problems that exist in public secondary schools with a view to helping them proffer necessary solutions towards eradicating the menace. The study would help the ministry of education with necessary measure to curb teachers’ disciplinary problems in public secondary schools in Edo Central Senatorial District. The principals of schools would be better informed of the disciplinary problems among teachers of secondary schools and the disciplinary challenges they could pose in their effective administration. This awareness would enable them find necessary measures in combating with the problems for the attainment of the goals of the education system.
The teachers would be able to address the disciplinary problems in schools by being aware of their implications and possibly improve on their teaching-learning process in the school. This would enable them refrain from such acts. This is because some of the teachers are ignorant of the fact that some activities they engage in constitute disciplinary problems. Hence, the findings of this study would help enlighten them.
To the parents and guardians, students and the general public, the research would enlighten them on disciplinary problems among teachers as well as their involvement in this act, the knowledge could help them disassociate themselves from this ignoble act. When this is done, the issue of indiscipline among secondary school teachers would be reduced to its barest minimum or possibly be eradicated from the system. Further more, the research would serve as a reservoir of information for those who are interested in carrying out research in the area of teachers’ discipline.
Scope of the Study
This study focused on public secondary schools in Edo Central Senatorial District. The Senatorial District comprised Esan West, Esan Central, Esan North East, Esan South East and Igueben Local Government Areas of Edo State. Only principals were used for this study and its focus was on perception of principals on teachers’ disciplinary problems in secondary schools. The major disciplinary problems covered in this work included lateness, examination malpractices, absenteeism, non completion of school records, sexual relationships with students, promoting cultism in schools and non-enforcement of school rules.
Operational Definition of Terms
The following terms were defined operationally as used in this study.
Disciplinary problem: This is an unacceptable behaviour put up by secondary school teachers that is capable of truncating the realization of educational goals of the secondary schools. It is the violation of school rules and regulations and teachers’ code of conduct. These disciplinary problems include: lateness to school, absenteeism from school, involvement in examination malpractices, non completion of school records, sexual relationship with students, promotion of cultism and non-enforcement of school rules and regulations.
Principals’ perception: This is concerned with the way principals view the disciplinary problems among teachers in public secondary schools in Edo Central Senatorial District of Nigeria.
Lateness to school: Lateness to school as used in this study is related to teachers’ arrival at school after official opening time i.e., after 8.00am.
Non completion of school records: This pertains to teachers who do not complete records such as lesson notes, examination record sheets, school diary, log book, movement book, School time-table, Corporal Punishment book among others.
Absenteeism from school: As used in this study, it refers to secondary school teachers who absent themselves from school without due permission from the school authorities.
Teacher sexual relationship with students: This is concerned with teachers sexually abusing their students in public secondary schools in the study area; especially female students.
Teacher promotion of cultism: This is concerned with aiding and abetting of cultism by teachers either through financial support or encouragement of bad relationships for selfish aims.
Non-enforcement of school rules: This has to do with the non-compliance of teachers in enforcing school rules and regulations in schools especially enforcing discipline among students and partaking in school daily activities.
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