Discipline in Schools

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SCOPE OF THE ESSAY
In this essay I will attempt definitions of the following terms; Indiscipline, schools, colleges, management and machineries. I will also confirm the realization or observation that indeed indiscipline in our schools and colleges has reached high levels. For the greater part of this essay, I will then seek to address how managers in schools and colleges can use various approaches to discipline and other management machineries to minimize indiscipline in their institutions. Since I am a manager in one of the boarding high schools in South Africa, I will make reference to some guide line documents, policy and initiatives that are being implemented to minimize indiscipline in schools. This essay will not be exhaustive, but I will attempt to shed some light on some important aspects of a set of problems in our institutions of learning which I think if not engaged would or are beginning to cause great controversy.

DEFINITION OF TERMS
The term indiscipline is described as follows in the Thesaurus: “lack of discipline or restraint,” as “bad behaviour; Unwillingness to obey orders or maintain prescribed standards of conduct,” in the Kernerman Multi-lingual English dictionary. It could also be described in the following; “a lack of control in the behaviour of a group of people, with the result that they behave badly.” Or simply, “uncontrolled behaviour,” or “lack of control or obedience.” According to Threkshona (2001), “Indiscipline is the distortion of controlled moral and mental behaviour. It may also refer to the intentional refusal to follow rules and set regulations of a given society.” All these views put together, indiscipline therefore, “is the sum total of lack of respect towards a combination of tasks of learning, control of emotions and cultural, traditional and religious values.” The terms “schools and colleges,” here in this essay, would be used to refer to institutions or centres of learning where learners or students interact with their peers, support staff, teachers, administrators, parents, stakeholders, visitors and other professionals. “Management” in this context, refers to the force behind getting people together to accomplish predetermined and desired goals and objectives in a school or college. In another way, “management” can also be defined as the “human action” geared towards “facilitating the production of useful outcomes from a system.” This view in the context of an organisation or learning institute such as school or college would then imply that as managers it is important to 'manage' oneself before one can attempt to manage others. This is also applicable to student leadership in schools and colleges. The tern “machineries,” here refers to methods, ways, processes, approaches, structures and mechanisms by which indiscipline could be minimized or curbed by managers in schools and colleges.

BODY OF ESSAY
If one visits a number of countries, speaking to managers and school administrators to identify the most serious problems facing school systems today, one would soon realize that in all these countries, the maintenance of discipline is crucial, especially in high schools colleges and other tertiary institutes. The observation or declaration that indiscipline has reached high levels in schools in this regard needs no argument or defense to refute it. In the newspapers and magazines there is a continuous public outcry about high levels of indiscipline in some schools. Television talk shows have this issue as one of their regular discussions with parents, audiences and professional individuals. Indiscipline in educational centres is a mirror reflecting the most fundamental characteristics of the crisis of purpose in the face of changing cultural and social circumstances currently afflicting many of our educational institutions everywhere. These indiscipline cases more often than not in some cases have led to violent strikes, demonstrations, riots and class boycotts. While in...
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