Establishing discipline in the contemporary classroom is a challenge to most educators. The real challenge lies in the implementation of discipline measures and procedures that uphold order in the classroom with understanding and compassion and more importantly, in the development of self-discipline in learners. The researcher adopted a qualitative approach to understand the phenomenon classroom discipline and to answer the research questions that sought to explore the meaning that is attached to the word “discipline” by individual educators, the challenges that educators are faced with in their classrooms, as well as the discipline strategies that they employ to establish discipline. A case study involving three high schools was conducted. Data was collected through interviews and observations. It has emerged in the findings that educators face a daily struggle in terms of establishing discipline in their classrooms; educators attach different meanings to the word “discipline” and the meaning that individual educators attach to “discipline” impacts on their choice of discipline strategies. Most of the discipline strategies employed by educators are control-oriented and thus hinge on rewards and punishment. The study also revealed that when these control-oriented strategies are employed to establish discipline, learners engage in various coping mechanisms, which ultimately render these strategies ineffective, and thus minimise any chance the child has to develop self-discipline. Essentially, learners who have been coerced usually show very little self-control when they are outside the influence of the controller. Recommendations based on findings and conclusions of this study are discussed and revolve mainly around the use of proactive discipline strategies that are geared to promote self-discipline and thus inner control. The recommendations outline proactive discipline strategies that could be employed by educators to establish discipline in their classrooms and suggest the creation of a good educator-learners relationship, the empowerment of learners to be in charge of their behaviour, responsibility training, inculcation of values, character development, modelling good behaviour, and strengthening of partnership with parents and other support structures in behaviour management. Benchmarking for best practices with other schools and conducting internal workshops for educators to share classroom discipline issues and solutions, as well as skills development programmes for training and development of educators are recommended. The study hopes to contribute to the existing body of knowledge and will be useful to educators by enabling them to find more constructive ways of building a culture of discipline among learners. It will also help educators develop personal systems of discipline tailored to their individual philosophies as well as to the needs and social realities of their schools and communities.
Dissertation (MEd (Education Management, Law and Policy Studies))--University of Pretoria, 2008.