A study of factors causing indisciplined behaviour and teachers reactions towards the same in secondary schools of Magumoni Division of Meru South District
Mbungu, Tabitha Maugi
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The issue of indiscipline is not a new phenomenon in the history of mankind. Man has always had rules and regulations to guide him. The biblical creation story highlights how Adam and Eve defied Gods regulation that he should avoid the forbidden fruit. It is also evident in the bible how the Israelites continued to break Gods laws one after the other. This prompted God to impose his punishment on them. It would seem therefore that since time immemorial man has continued to break the rule and regulations laid down before him. The level of deviance in our schools is alarming. This study was therefore prompted by the high level of students delinquent acts reported in our schools. These acts continue to cause a general wastage in our school going youths, hence the need to carry out this research with the aim of unearthing the possible causes of these deviant acts. The study also investigated teachers reactions to this deviance. The study was focused on five selected secondary schools in Magumoni Division of Meru South District. The researcher used a simple survey method. Purposive sampling techniques was used in order to arrive at a more representative sample. The researcher used one boys boarding school, one girls boarding, one mixed day and two mixed boarding schools. Two different questionnaires and one interview schedules were prepared to help in data collection. The questionnaires were used to collect data from students and teachers while the interview schedule was used on headteachers of the selected schools. Twenty students from each of the five schools filled the questionnaires making a total of one hundred. Five teachers from each of the selected schools also filled the questionnaires. The headteachers of each of the selected schools were subjected to an interview schedule administered by the researcher personally. The students to respond to the questionnaires were selected using stratified random sampling. This was to ensure good representation of the sample. The researcher used mainly form twos and threes as these are the classes alleged to have most indiscipline cases. Form ones were left out because the researcher felt that they are still adjusting to secondary school life and may not be fully aware of what goes on around them. Form fours were left out because many are now focused on their forth coming Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examination. The obtained data was then subjected to statistical analysis and was interpreted through tables, percentages, charts and frequency distributions. The study revealed that indiscipline problems do exist in our secondary schools at a higher magnitude than many teachers would image. The problems range from less serious ones like rudeness, yelling and shouting, disobedience and laziness to more serious ones like bullying, stealing, fighting, truancy and drug abuse. The study also revealed that, poor parenting, influence by mass media, peer pressure, harsh and excessive punishments were a major cause of students indisciplined behaviour. The researcher also found out that corporal punishment, contrary to what many teachers expect did not correct students behaviour. Instead those subjected to it hated their teachers and infact became hardcore criminals. Many students recommended guidance and counselling as the best way of curbing indiscipline problems. Consequently, the study findings imply that a different approach is necessary in the handling of students disciplinary issues. Teachers need to realize that the days for offensive modes of punishment are long gone. Many students now wish to be treated in a dignified manner as opposed to the expectations of many conservative teachers. The much cherished democratic ideas are now quite deeply entrenched in our schools as evidenced by this study. Failure by teachers and policy makers to accept this fact will only lead to many of our youths being thrown into the dustbins.