This qualitative research study explores the promotion and practice of discipline in the Foundation Phase to create a culturally responsive learning environment. For this study, Grade 3 Foundation Phase teachers were identified as the participants and formed part of each case study. The researcher constructed understanding through using an interpretivist approach and was further guided by a conceptual framework.
The literature on discipline in the Foundation Phase classroom informed me about the practices and strategies used to discipline learners. The literature highlighted the use of assertive discipline and positive discipline practices in Foundation Phase classrooms. The data collection methods and data collection instruments were tested using a pilot study before the research commenced, to ensure that these worked efficiently. This helped form the foundation on which my research was based. Grade 3 teachers who participated in the study helped answer the primary and secondary research questions. The constructivist theory was used to analyse and understand the findings.
The data collection instruments include observations, semi-structured interview questions, field notes and photographs. These instruments were used to collect data from every research participant. This data was then coded and transcribed to formulate an in-depth understanding of the teacher's perspective on discipline. The teachers who participated in the study helped me understand and determine what the effective discipline practices in Foundation Phase classrooms, were to enable teachers to create a culturally responsive learning environment. The research participants also explained and discussed their definition of discipline in a Foundation Phase classroom.
From the study it is evident that the teacher's definition of discipline is based largely on their own moral value systems, together with positive discipline strategies. The teachers also explained the diversities they were faced with, within a Foundation Phase classroom. Teachers in the study did not identify cultural differences as a factor, but focused more on parental involvement. Lastly, the research participants highlighted the factors that challenged teachers when applying discipline in a diverse Foundation Phase classroom. These factors were summarised and divided into external and internal factors which impact on a teacher's classroom.