Discipline in Schools



Whereas discipline is the practice of training people to obey rules and regulations of a given set up, punishment on the other hand should be measures taken to instill physical pain or discomfort.

Proper discipline training should therefore entail correcting or moulding mental faculties not leaving the moral ways, in given manner.


Discipline when being administered should be done so with aim of enabling the subjects or children realize who they are.  A yardstick is placed on learners’ behavioural habits and correction is done to develop a sound behaviour acceptable within the societal system.  It is a change that should be permanently inculcated in the learners to realize responsibility and community wants independently.

Discipline calls for behavioural change.  Behaviour of an individual is goal-centred.  A learner will exhibit a given behaviour to satisfy the following needs:


A learner’s behaviour can be directed towards hitting back because he or she feels offended in a given manner.  When the revenge is achieved the subject feels good and settles internally.

Attention seeking

A subject who feels to be placed low in esteem in a societal adherence may seek attention from the society.  The subject’s distorted self concept drives him or her to spring into actions that best suits his or her ego.  The attention can be sort from the teacher or other learners from the same institution.

Seek power

In certain occasions a subject may want to look mighty and in that state may even refuse to bulge down to do things he or she feels that may degrade like a form four student refusing to take a punishment in front of a form one.


This is common trend in a subject who has skipped some stages in child growth or lack of proper place in the society due to surroundings.


Negative trends in behaviour can be minimized or even eliminated by observing the following corrective measures:

•          As a discipline master you should filter the childishness from the behaviour by spelling out ethics

•          The learners should be indulged in discipline promotional trends

•          The learner should part of makers of the regulatory rules be cause this will set up responsibility in him or her

•          Learners should be educated on the significance of school rules and regulations

•          A good mechanism should be well spelt out of how solve issues should there be a dispute.  Student mediators should not be imposed on the learners.

•          Forums for discussions should be put in place where learners are probed to come up with strategies for overall institutional progress

•          Proper orientation should be established when learners are admitted

•          Discipline master should be innovative in using available human resource in the learning institution including parents and non-teaching staff to promote discipline

•          A team force should be established in the institution comprising parents, teachers, students and non-teaching staff

•          Proper values should be instilled in learners

•          Learners should be endowed with the responsibility of electing the school prefects or student governors.


  1. Respect the learner’s dignity.
  2. Develop pro-social behaviour, self discipline and temperament.
  3. Maximize the learner’s active participation.
  4. Respect the learner’s development needs.
  5. Respect the learner’s inspiration.
  6. Ensure fairness and transformative justice.
  7. Promote solidarity or cooperation

Discipline and punishment


•          Discipline is not punishment.

•          Punishment is given to cause physical pain or discomfort

•          Punishment is humiliating  and degrading

•          Punishment brings hostility  and hardens behaviour


It will surprise one to find from the subjects that once corporal punishment is administered on him or her, the following is derived:

  1. Conflicts are solved by aggression
  2. It is acceptable for the influential to be aggressive towards the feeble
  3. A learner will not to behave in a particular manner because he or she is scared that punishment awaits him or her

You can see now that punishment works against the process of ethical development that involves reasoning and is thwarted as ineffective and it is not necessary.


Behaviour modification.

•          Set clear and consistent rules.

•          Help the learners to set the rules.

•          Let the rules sound positive, for instance you can express “Don’t make noise” with a positive one like “Please study quietly”

•          Discuss the rules the first day of the school. (classroom rules)

•          Motivate the learners positively when they follow the rules


•          Children learn through observation and copying what adults do.  This is sometimes called hidden curriculum.  Parents, politicians, teachers and community members should be called upon to dispense good modeling behaviour.

•          As a discipline master you should be the first principal of a good model

Educator support group

•          Establish a support group consisting of teachers, learners and administration.

•          Discuss issues of behaviour, discipline and resolutions in the support groups

•          Provide forums for learners to share ideas and fears for institutional growth

School code of conduct

•          Have learner representatives to help develop school code of conduct

•           Place it in a visible place for everyone to see and if possible other copies should be displayed in classrooms and common gathering areas within the institution. Meet annually to review it and incorporate the changes based on trends

•           Orient new students on the code of conduct.

•          Learners should know the rules in advance.

•          School vision, mission, motto and strategic plan should be clearly understood and known to all learners

•          Device means of testing or measuring the practice in normal academic work to school code of conduct is important

Forums for resolutions

•          Should done on individual basis

•          These should conducted by trained resource persons who are impartial and not discriminating.  These persons should have the following traits:

o    Trust

o    Keep matters confidential

Have teen solutions

•          It involves Peer Counseling and Peer Mediations.  Peer mediators are trained learners to help solve conflicts.

•          Peer mediation is successful because it does not punish the people involve.

•           It helps to identify solutions that are agreeable to both parties.

•          It builds self-esteem

Violence prevention programs

•          Change the child’s ideas about aggression

•          Use cognitive restructuring.

•          Reframe children’s attitudes, values and expectations concerning violence

•          Fill your library with resourceful materials

All the above ideas call for discipline with care.  We want to be cared for and we should also care for others to grow into fine citizens who are self-disciplined and will not react offensively once aggressed.  Let us discipline and not punish.


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3 responses to “Discipline in Schools

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    November 11, 2012 at 5:03 pm

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