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A Comparative Analysis of Effects of School Disciplinary Approach on Moral and Academic Behaviour of Secondary School Students (a Case Study of Some Selected Secondary Schools in Oshodi District)



This study was on a comparative analysis of effects of school disciplinary approach on moral and academic behavior of secondary school students. A case study of selected secondary schools in Oshodi District. The following research objectives were used for the study: To examine some approaches to school discipline, to find out student attitudes towards the various disciplinary measures in Oshodi, to analyze the effects of strict disciplinary measure on student academic performance and to find out the effects of school discipline on students’ morality. The researcher used the tabular percentage analysis to analysis the data, because it is useful in analyzing description research. Tables were almost any form of quantitative analysis. It can be used for analysis of categorical variable relies on cross-classified data, in the form of frequencies (Percentages). The study concluded that strict discipline has a negative impact on students’ academic performance, thus, student should be given the benefit of the doubt. Teachers should advise erring students and not rely on using the cane on them in order to set them straight.  The study also recommended that teachers/schools should apply moderate disciplinary measures, teachers/schools should avoid very strict disciplinary measure because it scares students from learning and Schools should make use of guidance and counseling experts more.




2.0 Introduction

This chapter the literatures relevant to the effects of school disciplinary approach on moral and academic behavior of secondary school students. The chapter was divided into sections: the concept of discipline, theoretical framework, conceptual framework and review of related literature.

2.1 Concept of discipline

Discipline is a very important issue in any society. Shankar (2006) put it explicitly that all events of living beings, in fact all cosmic events, are regulated and controlled by certain rules and regulations or natural laws. He noted further that if every human being were free to follow the momentary words and impulses or self-made rules, there would be confusion and anarchy. To him, unchecked and complete freedom is not in the interest or the good of the individual himself or the society. According to Children’s Aid Society (CAS 2006) discipline covers all methods used to train and teach children self control and socially acceptable behaviour. Discipline is a personality construct which can be recognized through some overt behaviour such as honesty, self control, punctuality to school, respect for constituted authority and others. It requires an individual’s attempt to subordinate his immediate wishes, impulses, desires and interest for the sake of an ideal or for the purpose of gaining more effective dependable action that could be in line with societal or school norms. Igwe (1990) defines discipline in the context of the school system and sees it as the socially approved training which pupils and students should be made to acquire during the transitional period from childhood to adulthood through adolescence. According to him, this training is essentially to prepare them for the roles which they are expected to play as the adult members of their communities. Ezeocha (1995) viewed discipline to be synonymous with order and self-control; that is, “as a system of controls and as a process of healthy character functioning”. He therefore, defined discipline as a process by which school children are enabled to develop an acceptable personality through such democratic methods as rational, non-arbitrary and non-threatening strategies. The opinion of Shankar (2006) is that really speaking, discipline is not an imposition of self emanating rules and regulations in the following of which the true nature of the individual manifests itself and one becomes his best self. To him true discipline really means self discipline and it is for the individual to acquire knowledge, habits, interests and ideals which conduce to his well being, that of his fellow beings and that of the society as a whole. Shankar (2006) emphasized that the object of discipline in school is to train the child in those virtues, sentiments and habits which fit him to be a good citizen and a good man so that he loves and does things which society values most and without which society disintegrates. William (1984) noted that some administrators view the goal of discipline as self-discipline; some, as designing “learning situations which develop acceptable behaviour”, and others, as a means of “enforcing behaviour acceptable to school authorities. Arum (2003) pointed out that the aim of school discipline is ostensibly, to create a safe and conducive learning environment in the classroom. Disciplinary techniques ought to be well packaged otherwise the approach to discipline may produce unintended results. To this end Nkomo (2010) emphasized that discipline does not inflict physical or psychological harm to the child or student. Coloroso (2001) observed the following as basic facts of good discipline: It is not punishment; discipline teaches; it is not a power struggle; it never involves physical violence or threats of violence; it does not involve insulting or demeaning comments; it does not involve anger and over reactions; it uses clear expectations, clear consequences and consistence enforcement; it is neither permissive nor punitive; and also it solves problems. Snowman (1993) emphasized that though negative consequences for misbehavior can be applied, those that might cause psychological or physical harm have to be avoided. Also Hyman and D’Alessandro in Snowman (1993) pointed out that many feel that discipline, meaning the willingness to behave consistently in desired ways – is best developed through fear of punishment. Their alternative point of view holds that discipline is the result of internal controls and is best learned through approaches that enhance self-esteem and encourage co-operation. It is very necessary that considering the various views of what good discipline should be, the school authorities who package discipline have to be cautious of the nature of such disciplinary approach. Any approach which could result to physical or psychological harm on the students may increase the strength of undesirable behaviours and equally dampen students’ desire or urge to learn

2.2 Concept of morality

Moral situation is the sine-qua-non to moral education. In the consideration of morality, it is necessary to trace its foundation to all social science subjects. These subjects are evaluative and normative discipline, and of course philosophy through which concepts of morality are explicitly examined. Equally, next to philosophy in importance in the discussion of moral development is the psychology, what deals with the stages of moral development in the individual starting from childhood to adulthood. Equally important is the sociological perspective which concerns itself with the existence of morality as a social phenomenon, and its role in the achievement of peace and harmony in the society, as well as with the perception of morality through the process of socialization of which it is universally believed that school is a veritable agency. Although, religion as it will be discussed later in this paper has a traditional base in morality, it is observed that the two are complementary to each other. In the realm of economics, morality is evident in the process of distributing scarce resources to meet unlimited demands. How this could be implemented without social unrest is another question. In the political realm, even when politics is said to be concerned with the sharing and wielding of power, moral questions cannot but be raised. Moral issues arise from the kind of relationship that exists between the ruler and the ruled, the oppressor and the oppressed, the proletariat and the capitalists, the employers and employees. Thus politics raises a lot of moral issues that are connected with the survival and harmonious existence of persons in the society. Piaget is of the opinion that the bedrock of moral situation vis-à-vis morality is philosophy. He believes that morality and philosophy are indispensable. Philosophy actually arrogates to itself the self-appointed duty of analysing the words and concepts that are used, offering and criticising various definitions used, placing the concepts within the context of system-concepts, so as to detect the differences and similarities as well as the nuances and generally constructing broad parameters of correct usage. It cannot be over-emphasised that this is a most distinguished contribution that philosophy makes to a happy and harmonious living, because it is true that if two people in some social relationship cannot even agree on the way they are to use words, the possibility of a better alternative is the existing code. One may be tempted to question the morality of the so-called moral code. The simple reason is that morality is not an empirical ‘fact’ which is verifiable in the way that scientific data are verifiable and agreed upon. Morality whether in terms of moral conduct or in terms of moral discourse involves human judgment, a value judgment between two or more alternatives, between right and wrong and the various shades that lie between both extremes

2.3 Concept of academic behavior

Academic behaviors. Behaviors commonly associated with being a “good student,” including arriving ready to work (with necessary supplies and materials), regularly attending class, paying attention and participating in class, and devoting out-of-school time to studying and completing homework (Farrington et al., 2012).

2.4 Types of Discipline

According to this study only two types of discipline were investigated: positive and negative discipline as identified by Umba (1976), Bull 1969) and Okumbe (1998). The first type, positive discipline is sometimes known as self-discipline. Selfdiscipline is the kind of discipline that comes from the aims and desires that are within the person, where there is no element of fear (Umba, 1976:8). Okumbe (1998:116) relates positive discipline with preventive discipline, providing gratification in order to remain committed to a set of values and goals. It is encouraged self-control, individual responsibility in the management of time, respect of school property, school rules and authority, good relationship between students and teachers. The second type of discipline, negative discipline, occurs when an individual is forced to obey orders blindly or without reasoning. The individual may pretend to do 10 good things or behave properly when superiors are present but once they are absent quite the opposite is done. For example, a teacher may behave well before his/her head of school, perhaps in pursuit of something like promotion or other favors’. Likewise, students may behave well when their teachers are present, but resort to mischief as soon as they are out of sight.

2.5 Effective Discipline Skills

According to Robbins (1998: 77), the essence of effective discipline can be summarized by the following eight behaviors. Respond immediately means the more quickly the disciplinary action follows an offence, the more likely that the person responds positively. Also provide a warning this mean you have an obligation of issuing a warning before initiating the disciplinary actions. Disciplinary action is more likely to be interpreted as fair if it is preceded by a warning. Furthermore state the problem specifically by giving the date, time, place and individual involved and any mitigating circumstances surrounding the violation. Also allow the person to explain his/her position regardless of what facts you have uncovered, due process demands that you give another person an opportunity to state his position. Likewise keep the discussion impersonal and penalties should be connected with a given violation not with the personality of the individual violator. Besides be consistent by fair treatment of individuals’ demands that disciplinary actions be consistent. Inconsistency allows rules lose their impact, moral will decline and your competence will be questionable. Finally take progressive action and penalties will become stronger if the offence is repeated

2.6 Effect of Suitability of Set Rules and Regulation on Students’ Academic Performance: A literature Survey

2.6.1 Positive Discipline

In order to increase positive discipline, disruptive behavior needs to decrease in schools to create an environment that is conducive for learning. Cotton (2006:2) suggests that rules and the consequences of breaking them should be clearly specified and communicated to parents, learners, and teachers. Once rules have been communicated, the fair and consistent enforcement of the school rules, and providing a hearing process for students to present their side of the story, will also increase learners’ and parents’ perceptions of fairness.

Disciplinary policies should also set out the different categories of offences, depending on the circumstances or seriousness of the offence. Gaustad, (1992) report on research in 600 secondary schools in which they found that unclear or unfair rules which are inconsistently enforced are associated with poor discipline in schools. Gaustad, (1992) states that although “good behavior is necessary, it is not sufficient to ensure academic growth”. Gaustad (1992:1) argues further that effective school disciplinary strategies should seek to encourage responsible behavior and provide all learners with a satisfying school experience as well as discouraging misconduct. These are learners, however, who, in spite of schools trying their best to make education a satisfying experience for them, still dislike school.

Research has shown that learners, who dislike school, perform poorly academically, have limited career objectives, and are more likely to be disruptive (Cotton, 2006:2). Therefore, researchers believe that social involvement in school activities could help learners to be more positive about attending school


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