The effect of indiscipline on learner performance in selected secondary schools in Petauke District, Zambia
Kasaro, Dick Newton
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The purpose of this study was to establish whether indiscipline of pupils in selected secondary schools of Petauke district has an effect on their academic performance. Four secondary schools were selected out of the ten day secondary schools in Petauke district so as to find out how indiscipline affected the pupil's academic performance. Head teachers of four secondary schools and teachers were interviewed to find out whether they hold the view that the poor performance of their schools has anything to do with pupils' bad behaviour. 288 pupils responded to questionnaires. The questions required them to rate themselves how the administration of school rules affected their academic performance. Furthermore, question established how the observance of time, administration of punishment and whether a relationship existed between learner academic performance and indiscipline. Qualitative data was analysed using frequency tables and pie charts to identify respondents' attitude towards the significance of observance of school rules and regulations. Additionally, quantitative data was analyzed by using Pearson's correlation coefficient to establish whether a relationship existed between misbehavior and academic performances. The results showed that pupils who indulged themselves in mischief performed badly in all types of assessments. While schools aimed at producing a pupil who could pass examination, using the prescribed methods of teaching, pupils saw this as a way of depriving them of their rights and freedom hence the resistance which translated into misbehavior. As such what the pupils did in schools did not conform to school rules which in turn derailed the system of teaching and learning. Non observance of time and failure to follow school rules led to poor coverage of topics and poor understanding of concepts by teachers and pupil respectively. Consequently, pupils who were well behaved perform better than those who were badly behaved. The poor results attained by pupils who were badly behaved further confirmed that it was mainly the pupils' fault and not the teachers' for their poor performance. In view of these findings, it was evident that pupils' poor performance was as a result of non-adherence to schools rules and regulations. These findings have critical implications on pupils' performance and administration in secondary schools in general. The results also showed that pupils did not have an understanding of the importance of school rules such that any departure from them meant negative implications on pupils than on the teachers. Pupils showed ignorance of the fact that rules were meant to help them learn in a conducive and enabling environment. This made most of them not to respect and follow school rules. In this regard, school rules needs to be emphasized and read to pupils regularly. During assemblies there is need to go through those rules which are frequently broken by pupils. The importance of time should be explained to learners. School rule and time-tables are supposed to be displayed clearly so that learners find it easy to read and follow them. The school authorities should make sure that disciplinary committees are in operation in schools and that disciplinary cases are handled amicably so that would be offenders refrain from committing similar offenses. Parents are also supposed to be availed to school rules so that they also help in the re-enforcing of some of them.