Effectiveness of the strategies used in managing student indiscipline in secondary schools-a case of Maara District, Kenya

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Kagendo, Dinah Alexander
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of the strategies used in managing students' indiscipline in secondary schools of Maara District, Eastern Province of Kenya. The study was conducted in 8 out of the 42 secondary schools found in Maara District. The study sample comprised of 8 head teachers, 48 teachers and 240 form three students. Tools used for data collection included interview schedules for head teachers, and questionnaires designed for teachers and students, respectively. Quantitative data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS for windows) version 11.5 and presented in tables and charts of frequencies, percentages and means. Qualitative data was analyzed qualitatively and organized into themes relevant to the study and discussed. The study showed that many forms of students' indiscipline exist in Maara District, the most prevalent being reporting late to class, absenteeism, sneaking out of school and refusing to do assignments. It also emerged that the major causes of indiscipline included a combination of inadequately met human needs, family backgrounds of the students, peer pressure, drugs and substance abuse, societal influence, exposure to media violence, excessive and unjustified punishment, among others. Another important finding of the study is that most head teachers among those sampled had little or no formal training in matters pertaining to the management of student discipline/indiscipline. They are, therefore, ill equipped to handle the changing trends in student indiscipline. It was established that teachers and head teachers in Maara District use many strategies in the management of student indiscipline. These may be grouped into two classes namely, the preventive or behaviour modification techniques and punitive techniques or strategies. Preventive or behaviour modification strategies were considered most effective of the two groups. This class includes strategies such as involving the learners in learning activities, use of learner-centered methods, guidance and counseling, as well as involving parents in solving students' indiscipline cases, among others. In the punitive group the most effective strategies were found to be suspension from school, manual work and the outlawed corporal punishment. From this study it can be recommended that teachers and head teachers be given in service training on management of student discipline/indiscipline, and that the management of student discipline and control of learners while in class should be made integral parts of the teacher training curricular.