Learning does not occur a vacuum. Teachers play a major interactive role w/ both the learners and the learning environment. There are many educational relevant variables contribute to make this possible. The motivations of the learners to learn and the teachers to teach, orientation toward learning and the capacity of the learners are just some variables to consider. Moreover, the use of the state-of-the-art technologies and conventional instructional practices which includes methods, strategies, and techniques has a great impact on the learning process, as to achieve high academic achievement to both teachers and learners. The classroom environment as well takes a significant part on this endeavor wherein discipline is mostly widely used.
Discipline is widely regarded by most educators and the public alike as the number one problem in schools (Yambao & Esmane, 2008). Even though administrators and teachers alike view discipline as their number one problem, newly graduated teachers still feel woefully unprepared for the task awaiting them when they start first teaching job. There is a plethora of opinions on classroom discipline and systems available from which to choose.
Glasser(1984) states that the control is necessary for the psychological balance in once life. It is a common trait of human beings to want control in their lives. In schools, this is carried to such an extent that discipline itself is often seen as synonymous with control.”In schools, the most widely and practiced interpretation of the word discipline in control”
The main stimulus for pursuing this reading comes from the researcher’s observation on how this discipline influences the academic achievement of the learners as to seek the perceptions of both teachers and students. Moreover, to find out the best practices on discipline that could alleviate academic performance of the learners and strategies of the teachers has added to the motivation of the researcher in this present condition of education.
Upon reading and studying it, the teachers and instructors will help to understand the weaknesses of the students in the mode of the disciplinary action being implemented in class and therefore, choose the right technique that suits to students needs and to achieve instructional goals related to their weaknesses. The students will become more aware of their behaviors in class, in the school community and even in their homes; thereby enabling them to exert effort in following the standard behavior requires them to be in such. The school administrator will formulate activities and programs in improving and enriching the school Discipline Program to alleviate the academic achievement of the students
Discipline is essential variable in achieving positive and effective teaching-learning outcome among the learners on their academic performance. A teacher needs to consider how to guide the learners in learning through the standard discipline present in the learning environment.
Classroom management is a necessary condition for effective student learning. The school climate established by the educators can have a major impact on learners’ motivation and attitude towards learning. As Khuluse (2009) states that the skills involved in establishing a positive classroom climate are immense of importance. Clearly, learners need order in the classroom if the activities, which take place, are to facilitate effective learning. The most important to bear in mind in considering discipline, is that creating the necessary order is more to do with the skills involved in effective teaching in general than it is to with how one deals with learner behavior itself. In essence, skillful teaching lies at the heart of establishing discipline.
Cawood and Gibbon (1981:293) regard discipline as the willingness to learn from someone and to be influenced by him. So discipline plays a vital role in the academic achievement of the learner especially in secondary school. As the learner is in a very influential stage when in secondary school, various stakeholders are essential in the achievement of the learner. Many factors contribute towards the discipline of a learner such as the peer pressure, family background, financial status at home, as well as the school situation (Sonn, 1999:21).
The main aim of education is to develop the learner towards adulthood. This is possible with the help of effective discipline. According to Khoza (2001:1) schools should be supported to be safe havens where education and learning can flourish. A good image of the learner and the school occurs through good discipline. Being exemplary and being a role model needs a good discipline which is why Sonn (1999:21) sees discipline as being about self respect, and respect to others.
Being prepared for the outside world can be achieved by effective discipline. Stankosky (2005:3) states that knowledge management has significance and it must be elevated to its own academic discipline with the accompanying theoretical construents, guiding principles and professional society to serve as an evolutionary thrust.
Joubert and Prinsloo (2001:124) state that a code of conduct in school plays a leading role in the creation and the implementation of good discipline. That is why, responsibility on this matter becomes more effective if there is good discipline. A learner can be delegated if he is disciplined. According to Lorenz (1986:2) orderliness, guidance and effective discipline plays a significant role in giving learners direction so as to reach or achieve the expected goals and objectives in their formal schooling. The targeted academic achievement is easily achieved if there is good discipline at school.
If the learner is well disciplined he has a direction in life. A learner knows what to do at what time. A leaner should also know his destination and which steps he needs to take in order to reach his destination. The continual conduct (Walters, 1992:28) being enriched on mental, emotional and moral level. Ehlers (1981:25) states the major problem in any school is to balance orderliness and direction in the instructional program against realities of human diversity and curriculum variety. He also stated that human diversity is a fact of life even in the most isolated cultures.
The following characteristics of effective discipline are cited by Joubert and Prinsloo (2001:122-123):
1. Discipline is used to create order. Effective discipline ensures that human activities in daily process of education takes place orderly. The willful and the wayward behavior of each individual are consequently checked by discipline.
2. Discipline ensures fairness. Fair protection of the respective interests of the various participants and interested parties within the education system is essential. The disciplined learner is able to differentiate what is appropriate and what is not appropriate.
3. Discipline protects the leaner. In an orderly environment discipline protects the leaner against unruly and undisciplined behavior of his fellow learners. It also protects a learner against his own waywardness.
4. Discipline contributes to the spiritual development of the learner.
5. Discipline is prospective.
6. Discipline should be directed primarily at correction.
On one hand, Emmer, Sanford and Warsham (1984:102) highlight obedience, full participation, harmony, politeness and loyalty as the characteristics of effective discipline.
On the other hand, rudeness, chronic violence, fighting, other aggressive behavior and defiance and hostility towards the teacher are characteristics of poor discipline as highlighted by Emmer, Sanford and Warsham (1984:103).
Lewis and Doorlay (1995:95) emphasize that if the educators themselves are well disciplined and understand their work as well as their learners and possible challenges, there could be only good results in academic achievement. Educators are exemplary and know their work and understand the learners are working with them. So learners will be in a good position to achieve academically as there are educators who have self respect and understanding. Moreover, if self respect prevails in the school situation, learners will learn self discipline. If there is self discipline, there are more chances of having direction in the fulfillment of the learners’ goal so positive academic achievement is possible (Sonn, 1999:21).
In addition, if discipline is present at school and the parent at home is also aware of good discipline at school and it is also applied at home, this is a good recipe for good academic achievement because what is applied at school is also applied at home. There is no difference between the school environment and the home environment (Visser, 1999:435). Indeed, there should be partnership between parents and educators in effective discipline.
If the school is well facilitated and the needs of the learners are catered for, there will be good academic achievement. This can also be improved by the availability of resources, relevant educators, enough learning space when is conducive, relevant teaching style and clear code of conduct. Willis and Williams (1984:4) state that discipline involves all stakeholders and programmes as well as personality and school climate. So the availability of the aforementioned creates good discipline and the school’s self image is good. The academic results again are achieved with little challenges.
Thus, the significant role of discipline must be clear to the learners and educators so as to achieve high academic performance. Characteristics of effective discipline should always be acknowledged so that the need of effective discipline should be understood by each and every learner at school. Teachers should be aware of the causes of misbehaviors so that in their counter measures should know exactly which are applicable. Learners should be aware about the relationship between discipline and academic achievements and also be aware that effective discipline results in good academic achievements.