25 September 2010


In teaching and learning situations disciplinary action is taken when children displaying undesired or wrong behaviours at school which may disrupt normal running of the Education system and there is a need to control this ,for instance making noise where they are suppose to be quiet.
Teachers therefore use reasonable measures to enforce this discipline for example isolating the noise makers out from the rest of the group in the classroom ,but not depriving their right to learn. Discipline enforces social accepted behaviour at a particular place and time.
The term discipline comes from Latin word 'disco' which means 'I learn' this then means discipline isn't inborn or natural social law,but structured by community members,thus the people decide and distinguish on what discipline and indiscipline behaviours.
To be more precise the brief definition by Hamm(1989:108)says,''Discipline is submission to rules''. The rules must be known to the children and cannot punished one for a rule which he/she doesn't know. There children must allowed to learn these rules before they applied in their disciplinary process.
Since discipline is practiced on different places under variety of strategic systems ,for example discipline at home children are supposed to follow orders without much questioning ,whilst at school children are given opportunities to be ratinale as they can speak out their minds.
Discipline can be self imposed(instrinsic) where a child accepts and complies with the rules on his /her own without external pressure. A self disciplined person conforms with the rules because he likes the rules and see the benefits of the rules. The self imposed discipline is more desirable in Education system the externally imposed discipline in that it develops efficiency in learning new concepts ,encourages the child to be autonomous ,promotes intrinsic motivation and more so is permanent.
Externally imposed discipline (extrinsic) is achieved by the teachers or parents who manipulate children so that they submit to their authority by injecting fears ,emotions or desires to them. Rewards are used as a relish to motivate pupils to learn for example giving presents at prize giving days ,comments after marked their good work and many others
Discipline can be also a mixture of instrinsic and extrinsic (hybrid discipline) imposed carrot and stick method.
Some challenges to discipline can be from home background,teacher's lack of experience or other related problems,pupils' attitudes ,peer pressure ,school and community culture and the influence of the media.
Disciplinary problems commonly found at school:late coming,theft,noise making ,cheating dodging ,bullying ,truancy and other form of deviance.
However Hamm(1989) observes discipline as oftenly confused with punishment ,but the two are not similar, although they appear to be two sides of the same coin because there is an obvious connection between discipline and punishment. In other words lack of discipline results in punishment and a disciplined child avoids punishment.
Vermuelen(1995) views that,"punishment is a procedure that decreases the likelihood of wrong behaviour.'' Whilst Hamm (1989)puts punishment as,''Intentional infliction of pain or unpleasantness by an authority on an offender for a breach of a social rule.''
Therefore punishment is not an accidental happening but imposed by an authority with specific intention to do so. To be effective punishment should be painful and unpleasant experience if not so it ceases to be a punishment. Be careful also not to punish yourself instead of children!
According to Kasambira (1993)''Punishment is a penalt which may be psychological or physical in nature imposed on an individual for wrong doing''. Punishment can be directed in the minds using harsh or rude remarks and withdrawal of priviledges. It can also be exercised physically as corporal or manual labour. Some teachers combine both psychological and physical punishments.
Punishment must be inflicted by someone who has the authority ,for example if child bullied and hit back that is not a punishment, because these two doesn't have the authority to do so. Infact they all must be punished by the authority.
Since punishment is used to shape the conducive of Education system it must be a device used to the offenders who are guilty and disrupts normal learning process.But not to someone who has not committed the offence.'Never punish the innocent' and remember punishment should be fair and justice.
Hence teachers should avoid the system of 'blanket punishment 'thus punishing the whole class for making noise on the expense of only three noise makers.
Therefore punishment must be given for breaking known rules. Usually rules must be intentional or deliberate ,for example a child cannot be punished for making errors in mathematics unless the error is deliberate. Hamm(1989)worns that a child cannot be guilty of inability to understand.
Inconclusion proper use of discipline and punishment help to bring normalcy in the Education system and shapes it to be the tool for behaviour change in children.

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