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QUALITATIVE PHASE

4.7 PRESENTATION OF FINDINGS OF QUALITATIVE DATA

This presentation includes information of data gotten from interviews. The interviews were through one-on-one and focus group using semi-structured a-priori questions. It included a principal or any educator in charge of discipline. It included n=1 principal or any educator in charge of discipline for one-on-one and 5 focus groups with n=3 educators each. This selection was done in 5 schools making a total of 5 one-on-one and 5 focus group interviews in all 5 schools selected. The total participants selected were N=20 for this phase (see par. 3.7.3.2). The researcher aims at coding into themes and related categories with the raw data transcription form the interview process. Data transcription according to Maree (2010:104) is data collected by digital means which must be interpreted by the interviewer and should also include non-verbal cues.  Summaries of the interview transcriptions are usually inadequate and not allowed because acceptable biasness may come in (Maree, 2010:104).

4.8 CODING OF DATA INTO THEMES AND CATEGORIES

According to Maree (2010:105) coding is referred to as a process whereby a researcher reads through a transcribed data very carefully and tries to analyse into meaningful units. Based on this, the researcher read through the transcribed interview for educators in order to be able to generate the data(s) data into themes and categories.  The table below shows the themes and sub categories:

Table 4.16: Coding of themes and categories

THEMES CATEGORIES

Disciplinary methods/strategies for learner discipline. ' Reprimand

' Menial task

' Call the parents

' Demerits and merit style

' Detention

' Suspension and expulsion

' Referral to the School Governing Body (SGB)

Management strategies for learner discipline. ' Parental involvement

' Disciplinary hearing

' Referral to the SGB discipline committee

Roles of school managers in establishing and maintaining learner discipline. ' Ensuring consistency in implementing policies

' Monitoring and evaluation

' Encouraging proper recording of learner misconduct

' Organise meeting with parents

' Linking with external help on learner related discipline problems

Perception of educators and school management on learner discipline. ' Level of learner discipline is poor and discouraging

Suggestion to serve as guidelines for improving management strategies. ' Parental issues

' Proper subject preparation

' Community involvement

' Dedicated discipline manager

' Policy review

' Reactivate corporal punishment

' Intervention programmes

' Method of isolation

4.9 DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS

The process of this discussion includes the actual views of participants and analysis by the researcher by correlating with past literatures. During this discussion, reference would also be made to the quantitative results where applicable in order to use the qualitative data to explain clearer the research questions in chapter 1 thereby complying with the research design (explanatory sequential) as postulated in par. 1.4.1 and 3.6 of this study.

4.9.1 Disciplinary methods/strategies for learner discipline (research question 1)

Owing to the focus groups and one-on-one interviews conducted, the disciplinary methods/strategies for handling misconducted learners are reprimand, menial task, call the parents, demerits and merit style, detention, suspension and expulsion, referral to the School Governing Body (SGB). All these sub-categories of disciplinary methods are now be discussed below:

Reprimand

According to most educators in different schools, reprimand is one of the most used method by just using verbal methods in correcting learners. Educators also emphasised that this is also applicable for use by parent at homes. An educator said 'we start by reprimanding the learners after which we give them written warning for future occurrence of misconduct'. Results in the quantitative phase shows that this method is not very effective and Rosen (2005:29) in his book on best practices for administrators outlines four guidelines on verbal reprimand as: focus on clear goals of the main problem; focus on issues and not personalities; forget the past and focus on the present; and focus on consequences.

Menial task

During the interview session, educators pointed out that the menial task is used a lot in school and usually attached with other forms of correcting or punishing learners that have misbehaved which they emphasised as ineffective. Examples of such common task given to learners are picking of the surrounding (inside and outside of the classrooms) and washing of the toilets. According to the qualitative results in the first phase of the study, menial task is found very ineffective so some degree with 67%. Therefore, the findings of both quantitative and qualitative corresponds. Serame (2011:23) points out that educators may assign a menial task to learners to keep them busy such as cleaning or note taking

Call the parents

According to one of the educators in a focus group, 'calling of learners parents is very effective and it is only done when a learner continues to have the same fault for about three times'. When parents are called, they give the learners the opportunity to be heard and the principal and the parents tries to address the problem together. Prior to this time, a written warning has been served to the learner which is recorded. The quantitative phase found this discipline strategy very effective. Parents are to take responsibility in the discipline of their children both at school and at home (DoE, 2000:22). However, parents are to be involved in every bit on the education of their children in order to take responsibility of whatever outcome of their children's conduct Serame (2011:25).

Merits and demerits style

Participants mentioned that this is used occasionally which sometimes could come with a reward of earning certain pre-defined point. The result in the quantitative session finds it ineffective. No major report has covered this method in much details in literature.

Detention

Detention was quite common in most of the schools covered for the interview process. Detention happens after schools hours for a minimum of one hour by giving learners extra or additional work to do. One of the educators emphasised that 'detention is effective because learners try as much as possible to avoid it thereby behaving themselves but so many educators try as much as possible not to use it because it makes they themselves to spend extra time at school'. In literature, Oosthuizen (2007:38) defined it as a situation where learner will have to sacrifice certain stipulated time by the educator or principal after school hours in carrying out any form of punishment stipulated in the school premises. Serame (2011:23) noted that even though it is still commonly and popularly used in schools today, it has become boring in the way it is applied. This can be a reason why it amounted to an ineffective degree with 65%.

Suspension and expulsion

According to one the SMT, 'suspension and expulsion are usually last resort used by the school SGB when other methods have been explored'. It is a method that was used by all schools the researcher interviewed. During this stage, a misconducted learner has already passed through disciplinary hearing where they are allowed to share their own side of the story. This is also known as Audi alteram partem, a Latin phrase meaning 'let the other side be heard as well'. It is the principle that no person should be judged without a fair hearing in which each party is given the opportunity to respond to the evidence against them (Oosthuizen, 2015:46) to support this, suspension is the refusal to allow a child to attend of a child from school by the SGB not more than one week. Section 9(1) of the Schools Act states that the governing body may, on reasonable grounds and as a precautionary measure, suspend a learner who is suspected of serious misconduct from attending school, but may only enforce such suspension after the learner has been granted a reasonable opportunity to make representations to it in relation to such suspension. On the other way round, expulsion is the permanent exclusion of a learner from school. Serious offences that may give rise to expulsion are mentioned by Maphosa (2011:79) as criminal offenses, physical assault, and violence. During the interview, educators stressed that the essence of suspension is no longer realised because learners always comes back worse and that sometimes suspended learner come to classes without notice and permission.

Referral to the School Governing Body (SGB)

The results of the quantitative phase on referrals to the SGB came with it as very effective. The interview transcriptions revealed that referrals to the SGB are usually when the disciplinary committee or the educator in-charge of discipline cannot handle the issue of the learner misconduct/discipline. It is deemed as very effective because it usually involve the parents of learners and sometimes may lead to suspension and expulsion. Maphosa (2011:79) supports that referrals mostly happen with serious misconduct of learners which often leads to suspension and expulsion. Referral creates positive behaviours in learners and it should be applied by following the right procedures (Oosthuizen, 2007:18).

4.9.2 Management strategies for learner discipline (research question 2)

Owing to the focus groups and one-on-one interviews conducted, the management strategies as currently applied for learner discipline are parental involvement, discipline hearing, and referral to the School Governing Body (SGB). All these categories are now be discussed below:

Parental involvement

It was very evident that this was the most used and effective method adopted for use by school managers in the district (Ngaka Modiri-Molema) of the North-West form the interviews conducted. This also show a reflection in the quantitative phase, where 76% of educators grouped it in the category of 'effective to some degree/very effective'. According to the Parent Institute (2006), parents be involved in their child's life; be informed about the development of teenagers to ensure that you understand the behaviour better; create quality time for your child. Adolescence is a time during which the teenager disengages him/herself from family. Listen rather than just talk because adolescents wants their feelings to be acknowledged and respected; reinforce positive behaviour, as it is more effective than disapproval. Disapproving remarks harm an adolescent's feelings and confidence. The best instruments available to you for building meaningful relationships are love, care, sensitivity, encouragement, attention, and appreciation.

Discipline hearing and referral to the SGB

The thought shared here is no different from that discussed earlier. It is always commonly used and found to be very effective.

4.9.3 Roles of school managers in establishing and maintaining learner discipline (research question 3)

Owing to the focus groups and one-on-one interviews conducted, the roles of school managers in establishing and maintaining learner discipline are ensuring consistency in implementing policies, monitoring and evaluation, encouraging proper recording of learner misconduct, organise meeting with parents, and linking with external help on learner related discipline problems. All these sub-categories of disciplinary methods are now be discussed below:

Ensuring consistency in implementing policies

During the interview, one of the SMT emphasised that 'the school principal is the head of the disciplinary committee because I think he's the one who understands the policies more. In-terms of serious discipline problems'.he organises meetings with the SGB and they together come up with the right measure or punishment for the learner who misconduct'. From this quote, it is clear that the principal ensures that the code of conduct for learners and all other documents related to the discipline of learners are consistently and fairly implemented. Mahlangu (2014:317) and (RSA, 1996a) agrees by stating that the principal must ensure that all stakeholders (educators, learners and parents) are aware of the policy regarding learner discipline in the school that the policies are consistently implemented.

Monitoring and evaluation

An educator in charge of discipline in one of the schools emphasised that 'I have realised our management do more of monitoring and evaluation by always checking our discipline record book called the black book. They also check if educators are always in class to reduce cases of misconduct'. Documents published by the Department of Education and Education Management & Development Centre stipulates that the school management should support in the performance of duties to create a positive school culture. Also, they are responsible for the application, supervision and evaluation of discipline related matters in the school (DoE, 2000a; WCED, 2007:7).

Encouraging proper recording of learner misconduct

The principal particularly performs monitoring and evaluation of teachers in-terms of the records of the occurrences of misconduct which reflects as the various forms of misconduct. Several educators indicated that they record these forms of misconduct to help keep track of misbehaving learners which often leads to written warning when they names appears at a particular number of times. Some educators refers to them as incident books while others referred to it as black book. Mahlangu (2014:317) agrees with the above that one of the duties of the principal id to ensure that records of learner behaviour are kept.

Organise meeting with parents

Regarding to meeting with the parents, it became of the main themes of the roles of the school management in establishing and maintaining discipline. An SMT said 'of course we do assist in always we can. When there is a disturbing situation, we call the SGB and parents and makes sure that whatever we do, we do according to the code of conduct for learners'. Organising meeting with parents seemed to have been an important area of controlling learner discipline in schools. Mahlangu (2014:317) agrees that it is in the best interest of principals to organise meetings with learners' parents about the progress and behaviour of their children.

Linking with external help on learner related discipline problems

Based on the above, a majority of the participants informed the study that school management sometimes on rare occasions organises interventions by outsourcing with external help whenever they have situations that the educators are not knowledgeable about. According to them, they sometimes call social workers, police, nurses and even traffic officers. Sometimes, they also have those professional or designations in the SGB so it is easy to intervene. According to Department of Education (2000a) and (WCED: 2007:7), one of the responsibilities of the HOD in school with regards to disciplinary matters is to create a link with multifunctional teams from the district, community organisations and NGOs for external help on handling learner behavioural problems.

4.9.4 Perception of educators and school managers on learner discipline (research question 4)

Participants were not so quick to respond to their perception of learner discipline in their respective schools. They lamented that it's of no use because nothing seems to be done by the government regardless of whatever responses or efforts that are made. Their perception is discussed means of important direct quotation.

Level of learner discipline is poor and discouraging

Owing to how they perceive discipline in their schools, some of their comments are written below:

An educator in charge of discipline reports that 'discipline has gone down in schools because it seems the management of the school has left everything in the hands of the guardian educators. If we take some serious cases to the principal and the SGB, they tend not to make follow up anymore because the same learners keeps offending and coming back to school after suspension'. Another educators indicated that 'honestly speaking, discipline level is very low and no matter what the educators and school management does, nothing really changes'. One of the educators also directly said 'I am frustrated by the level of indiscipline of learners in my school. It becomes more difficult when I know that there is nothing I can do as an educator to change the situation because all mechanism are not effective and the government is to be blamed. I want to resign and leave this job'.

Based on some of these comments extracted from the raw transcription of data, it is evidently clear that the level of learner discipline can be described as discouraging. This is evident in the background and problem statement of this study in chapter one which explored the occurrences of learner discipline and its managerial issues. The next session addresses the ways issues of management strategies can be improved.

4.9.5 Suggestion to serve as guidelines for improving management strategies (research question 6)

Owing to the interview process, the following were generated as the strategies that may serve as guidelines for improving management strategies for learner discipline. They are parental issues, proper subject preparation, community involvement, dedicated discipline manager, policy review, reactivate corporal punishment, and intervention programmes. These suggestions are now discussed below:

Parental issues

The point of parental involvement cannot be over-emphasised. A principal speaks on his frustrations that most parents are now not helpful because when the school management reports their children, they automatically respond by denying that their kid can never do such and it becomes a case of disagreement instead of finding a suitable solution. Many scholarly papers and government legislations have stressed the importance of parents in the discipline of their children (DoE, 2000:22, RSA, 1996; RSA, 1996a; Parent Institute, 2006; WCED, 2007:7; Serame, 2011:25).

Proper subject preparation

One of the SMT members explained in length that educator sometimes are to be blamed. Her direct comment states 'from my experience in teaching, so many educators go to classes without proper subject preparation. When you are not good with your content and subject pedagogy, you will mess up in front of the learner and from the day you loose respect, confidence and they you tend to loose the classroom to them'. In the quantitative results generated from the questionnaires, the proper lesson preparation shows to be a very effective means of controlling classroom management with a 74% effective rate. The report by the Education Management and Development Centre agrees by stating that an educator must create positive learning experiences for learners by presenting well prepared and interesting lessons. As an educator, you should get to class without learners waiting for you. Make sure you use your teaching time to the full and start the teaching process with a positive attitude (WCED, 2007:30).

Community involvement

Educators pointed out that the community involvement in the discipline of learners would really help in controlling simply because these learners are not only limited to the school surrounding since they all live in a particular house in the community. Some other educators were of the opinion that the community in a way helps in promoting indiscipline because learners buys drugs such as dagga in the community. They claim that the community is aware of this but instead of doing something about it, they rather ignore its occurrences. Factors such as encouraging good traditions and emphasising values in the quantitative result explains this because it showed to be effective with 69% and & 73% respectively. This area has not been fully explored in literatures.

Dedicated discipline manager

Based on the interview process, the dedication of discipline manager as a means of having better controlled management is important. An educator emphasised that the Department of Education should open a position for a personnel that would be solely in charge learner discipline related issue in school. She claimed that it give the department an idea of what happens in schools and that this person employed for the position should be an educator that previously taught in classroom. This is a new innovation and has not existed in past literatures.

Policy review

During the interview process, the issues related to the review of current discipline policy got so much attention. Educators seemed to be tired of the current policies that guides the management of learner discipline and that also leads to their belief in corporal punishment which will be discussed in the next paragraph. They ascribe the current policy as weak with shortcomings claiming that it protect learners.  This points out clearly the over-emphasis of learners' right. One of the educators said 'the policies are protecting learners than the educators. We educators also needs protection from the Department of Education'. The interview revealed also that many educators leave the jobs because of the level of learners' poor discipline. An SMT member in her way said 'too much latitude is been given to learners. As educators, we don't have much to do'.the system is very limiting and looking at it, the Department of Education's legislation are also written in line with the Constitution of the country. This problem is a complex one but I think the policies should be revisited'.  Educators are of the opinion that if policies would ever be reviewed, a large number of educators that spend time in class must be invited to have their input before lawmakers make their input.

Reactivate corporal punishment

During the interview process, reactivating corporal punishment remained on of the greatest highlights. Both subject teacher and educators in the school management all perceived that the prohibition of corporal punishment in the Republic has brought detrimental effect to the school. They claimed that all the effort to finding an effective alternative measure has not still been successful. They are of the opinion that corporal punishment that once worked should be brought back to use. Wolhuter and Oosthuizen, in (Emekako, 2014:17) agrees that the abolishment of the corporal punishment left a big vacuum in handling learners with serious misconduct. However, since the country got its independence, the use of capital punishment or any other severe form of physical punishment is now prohibited in South Africa (RSA, 1996; RSA, 1996a; and RSA, 1996b). The use of corporal punishment is considered as a criminal activity and offenders are liable for prosecution (Maphosa, 2011:78).

Intervention programmes

During the interview process, educators are of the opinion that intervention programmes as a means of support structures should be organised regularly by the school management. In literature, the HOD through the principal should link with multifunctional teams from the district, community organisations and NGOs for external help on handling learner behavioural problems (WCED: 2007:7). The quantitative results support that organising interventions regularly can help learners learn what they are ignorant of. The result showed that 78% of educators responded to support structures on intervention as effective to some degree/very effective. Support structures on learner discipline helps improve positive behaviour. The SMT should create systems to help as means of interventions rather than punishment through consultation and participation of stakeholders which is done through participatory, contingent and transformational leadership. It helps by focusing on learners with behaviour problems and regular offenders by providing a holistic approach for learners in order to establish and achieve the goals of a well-disciplined environment (WCED, 2007:24).

Method of isolation

Based on information gathered, learners have serious peer influence. It is thought according to data collected that certain learners that have had too much occurrence of serious discipline issues can be identified and admitted in a separate school which should have special provisioning to cater for these kinds of learners. An educator pointed out that this school should have in it social workers, police officers, health workers, a religious place of worship, certified and well trained counsellors fully stationed in the school. They also emphasised that children attending such schools should have additional curriculum that teaches human behaviour as a subject. It concludes that mixing dangerous learners with the good ones is not healthy for the school, educators and learners.

4.10 CONCLUSION

This chapter presented and discussed the findings that emerged from both the quantitative and qualitative investigation. The quantitative phase presented the data management, variable creation, response rates, descriptive and inferential statistics using SARS and SPSS statistical software whereas, the qualitative phase employed the use of interview with semi-structured questions in the aim of helping explain some of the results presented in the qualitative phase. These two methods focused on the answering the research questions postulated in chapter one of the study (see par 1.2).

The next chapter will present the conclusions and recommendations for this study. Limitation, future recommendation and a framework for managing learner discipline are also pointed out.

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