The effects of pupil-teacher conflict on pupils' academic performance in selected secondary schools in Chisamba District
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The aim of this study was to find out the effects of pupil-teacher conflict on pupils' academic performance in four secondary schools in Chisamba District. The research used a qualitative research approach and a descriptive survey design. Semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions (FGD) were conducted on selected Grade 12 pupils, guidance and counselling teachers, disciplinary committee teachers. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted on head teachers and data was thematically analyzed under the following research questions; what were the causes of pupil-teacher conflict, what were the effects of pupil-teacher conflict on pupils' academic performance and how could the pupil-teacher conflict in selected Chisamba District secondary schools be reduced? From the results of the study, it was evident that pupil-teacher conflict had a negative effect on pupils' academic performance. Three main themes emerged in this study namely: causes of pupil-teacher conflict, effects of pupil-teacher conflict on pupils' academic performance and strategies that may be employed to reduce pupil-teacher conflict. Sub-themes emerged from these themes. Under causes of pupil-teacher conflict, the sub-themes were pupils' indiscipline, lack of respect between the teachers and pupils, lack of commitment to work by both the teachers and pupils. Other sub-themes were teachers' pursuit in implementing discipline, unfairness towards learners by some teachers, poor professional skills by some teachers and inability of s|me schools to meet pupils' needs. Under the effects of pupil-teacher conflict on pupils' academic performance, the following were the sub-themes; to start with conflict to some extent enhanced pupils' academic performance, teachers' service delivery and improved the behaviour of both the teachers and pupils in a quest to impress each other. By and large, conflict led to poor academic performance as pupils lost interest in the subject of the teacher they had a conflict with thereby losing the much needed concentration in that subject. Furthermore, the teachers, also lost interest and felt uncomfortable to be in a class where there were pupils they were not in good terms with thereby leading to ineffective service delivery. Pupil-teacher conflict also increased the rate of absenteeism in schools as pupils felt uncomfortable to be in classes where there were teachers they had conflict with. This therefore affected effective learning and teaching. On the theme of strategies to be employed to reduce pupil-teacher conflict, the following were the strategies that were came up with, the Ministry of General Education (MoGE) should enhance refresher courses or Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programmes to help teachers improve their professional skills. Furthermore, guidance and counselling should be taken seriously so that it may help improve pupils' altitudes and values towards school. Additionally, it was suggested that guidance and counselling should be made a subject like other subjects so that more time was allocated to it for pupils to benefit from it. The findings also suggested that government should improve funding to the MoGE so that schools are well funded to meet the needs of pupils which was also a source of pupil-teacher conflict. Teachers as well as pupils needed to improve their communication skills so as to reduce on the misunderstandings that usually arose as they interacted with each other. Colleges of education to be implored to train teachers in conflict resolution strategies to help reduce conflict in schools. All in all, these findings showed that, to understand the effects of pupil-teacher conflict on pupils' academic performance there was need to understand the causes of these conflict. It was also observed that it was important for all educational stakeholders to understand the theory of attachment which argued that children who had a good attachment with their caregivers when they were young were more likely to be less aggressive and achieved more academically than those who had a rough upbringing. The recommendations made were that the MoGE should employ teachers who were professional and also introduce refresher courses and enhance Continuous Profession Development (CPD) programmes. In addition, the MoGE should make guidance and counselling a subject in secondary schools to give guidance to pupils on acceptable behaviour that would promote good pupil-teacher relationship. The government should improve funding to the MoGE to help alleviate some of the challenges that schools face to reduce pupil-teacher conflict to ensure effective learning and teaching. Colleges of education should help to educate teachers on the importance of having a positive pupil-teacher relationship if pupils' performance was to be enhanced.
University of Zambia
Master of Science in Peace, Leadership and Conflict Resolution