Learner discipline at school: A comparative educational perspective


Comparative Education
Causes And Handling Of Learner Discipline


Learner discipline constitutes an acute problem in South African schools, especially if it is approached within a Reformational frame of reference. The aim of the research underlying this article was to survey the available subject-related literature on school discipline abroad. The available published research results are largely limited to the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Australia. In these three countries learner discipline in schools constitutes a problem, although it seems to be only relatively minor forms of misbehaviour that dominate. Serious forms of misbehaviour, such as criminal offences are rare. The causes/determinants/correlates of learner-discipline problems can be grouped into five categories: learner-related factors, teacher-related factors, school-related factors, parent-related factors and society-related factors. This discussion draws suggestions from available subject-related literature as to how the discipline issue in schools should be approached. The conclusion is, however, reached that, while worthwhile guidelines can indeed be drawn from available subject-related literature for the correction of deviant behaviour, reference is unfortunately never made to the need of learners to be guided and to be enabled to become followers (disciples) of Jesus Christ in the profound sense of the word, especially in a world that does not adhere to Biblical values. True disciples tend to lead disciplined, well-behaved and intentional lives in His service and to His glory. In conclusion, the role of (Christian) religion and of values based on religious conviction in the creation of healthy school discipline is explicated.

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