Applying Choice Theory in Fostering Discipline: Managing and Modifying Challenging Learners Behaviours in South African Schools

Bechuke, A. L.; Debeila, J. R.
November 2012
International Journal of Humanities & Social Science;Nov2012, Vol. 2 Issue 22, p240
Academic Journal
Discipline in school which is geared at ensuring the safety of educators and learners and to create an environment conducive to teaching and learning is hampered if the behaviour of learners in school disrupts the normal teaching and learning process. This seriously impacts on learners' access to educational opportunities. As such, it is imperative to consider strategies to foster school discipline. In order to test the possible success and suggest the application of Choice Theory in managing and modifying challenging learners' behaviours in schools, a study underpinned by a complete qualitative research paradigm was complemented with an empirical study to find out the challenges inherent in current disciplinary strategies in schools. This was compared to the demands of Choice Theory in managing discipline in order to suggest and highlight strategies on how teachers can stop the unwanted or disruptive students' behaviours (managing behaviour) and at the same time teach students how to control their own behaviour (modifying behaviour) without using punishments based on specific rules and unnecessary rewards. Through the use of document analysis, observations and field notes, and interviews as well as reflective journals, purposefully selected disciplinary committee members with at least five years teaching experience and learners that are victims of current applicable discipline strategies views and experiences on the possible use of Choice Theory in managing and modifying challenging learners' behaviours were captured. Data collected from two secondary schools which served as the cases of this study were analysed through open coding. The results revealed that the continuous rise of challenging learner behaviours and general discipline problems is as a result of lack of coherent disciplinary strategies in managing and modifying challenging learner behaviour in South African schools today. The findings further revealed that through careful planning, implementation strategies and in-service training, Choice Theory can be implemented in schools to manage and modify learner behaviours. This will contribute successfully in managing and modifying challenging learner behaviours, ensuring discipline in schools, and educating learners in the habit of accountability and responsibility for their actions without using punishment following specified rules or rewards; and by so doing, realizing one of the Critical and Developmental outcomes of education in South Africa.


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