Peer counselling, an alternative approach to student discipline : a case study of the Kenya polytechnic, Nairobi, Kenya
Ndeda, Gaudencia Achieng'
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This study has looked at peer counselling at the Kenya Polytechnic and particularly how it is helping to control students' maladaptive behaviours in the institution. The study adopted a descriptive approach using case study design to determine factors that have resulted in maladaptive behaviours among students, their implication and how peer counselling could minimise these maladaptive behaviours at the Kenya Polytechnic, Nairobi, Kenya. The study was guided by theoretical framework developed by Skinner, Bandura, Ellis and Rogers. The theorists posit that behaviour is a result of environmental influence and can be learned through conditioning, that through insight and anticipation, the person strives to reduce discrepancies between current levels of performance and goal performance levels, that psychological difficulties are due to the irrational statements we make to ourselves and that people tend to work towards self-actualisation through continuous openness to experience. Related literature was also reviewed on the types, causes and implications of maladaptive behaviours at the Kenya Polytechnic. Data was also analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software package. Descriptive data was analysed using frequencies, percentages, tables and bar graphs while qualitative data was analysed qualitatively. The study found out that the students of the Kenya Polytechnic had problems which led them to elicit maladaptive behaviours and that peer counselling was in place to try to help them solve the problems and therefore reduce the maladaptive behaviours. It also found out that the students responded positively to peer counselling and hoped that the services would be improved to help them even better. The study therefore concludes that peer counselling could be an alternative approach to student discipline in middle-level learning institutions. The study recommends that all the students at the Kenya Polytechnic be sensitized towards the importance of peer counselling and that the lecturers also take part in it to make it succeed. It also recommends that lecturers help in this endeavour by getting to know those in their classes very well, their problems and potentials, and that the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology improves peer counselling services in the institutions by funding and harmonising the activities and training respectively. Further research has also been recommended to improve the peer counselling services in the hope that in future it can be extended to other institutions that require these services.