Assessment of gender understanding of classroom discipline in South Africa: The case of Thohoyandou community
Discipline plays a crucial role in education as it affords and facilitates effective teaching and learning. Since time immemorial, corporal punishment formed the greatest portion of school and classroom discipline. In 1995, the Department of Education abolished corporal punishment and motivated teachers to implement alternative forms of discipline. However, no guidelines were provided regarding these alternative ways except that they would have to be within the South African constitution and the South African Schools Act of 1996. In school, teachers (females and males) are expected to deal effectively with misbehaviour in order to accomplish instructional goals. Such expectations and the lack of guidance call upon teachers to expand their theoretical knowledge of discipline. The study aimed to establish females and males primary teachers’ understanding of classroom discipline, the strategies that they apply in dealing with misbehaviour and their knowledge and awareness of discipline models. The study applied a mixed method approach, the dominant less dominant format. Both females and males teachers were asked to complete self-administered Semi-structured questionnaires which had a Likert scale and a free-response /open question section. Data were captured and analysed using descriptive statistics. The findings illustrated that both gender do not share a common understanding of classroom discipline. As a result, they also apply different strategies in dealing with misbehaviour. They were also not familiar with different models of discipline. It is recommended that alternative ways of discipline be enhanced, periodic appraisal of discipline be done, teachers be educated on alternative methods of managing discipline and to educate the public on effects of corporal punishment.
Keywords: discipline, teaching, Foundation Phase; classroom management strategies.