Classroom Discipline: Causes of Disciplinary Problems
The common causes of disciplinary problems are findings from some researches.
The teacher factor: The teacher can be a potent factor in causing disciplinary problems. The teacher's personality has bearing upon the learners which stem from two aspects - the teacher's personal characteristics and his scholastic qualifications.
The physical characteristics include the teacher's personal appearance, poise, health, mannerisms, habits of neatness and cleanliness and well-modulated voice.
The teacher who is suffering from chronic disease, for instance, asthma or ulcers might be late or absent very often.
A mentally and emotionally healthy teacher can contribute to the intellectual and emotional development of the learners. A teacher who is cheerful, friendly, helpful and warm and tries to develop a spirit of camaraderie and unity in the classroom need not worry about having behavior problems.
The teacher's scholastic qualifications can cause disciplinary problems. It is important that the teacher meets adequately the necessary scholastic qualifications (academic preparation and training, mastery of the subject matter, command and facility of the language, cultural background, training and experience). Mastery of the subject matter is an important factor in maintaining order and discipline in the classroom. The learners are keen observers and they can readily notice a teacher who does not show evidence of the mastery of the subject matter.
The teacher's command and facility of the language can also be the source of problems while the discussion of the lesson is going on. The students begin to be restless and unruly the moment the teacher stammers or mispronounced a word. Speech defects are quickly noticed, even jotted down and counted against the teacher, especially when influence by regional intonation.
A teacher with a wide cultural background and experience can truly enrich the discussion of his subject matter. A teacher enlivens discussion with relevant contemporary issues and events. A teacher who has a comprehensive and accurate grasp of the subject matter and is able to relate to other fields of knowledge and integrate with relevant and real-life situation, need not worry about disciplinary problems.
The learner as a factor in discipline: It is important that the teacher understands the nature and different characteristics of the children. He should be able to identify and recognize who demonstrates behavior problems and poor study habits and attitudes. The various factors involve physical, intellectual, social and moral dimensions.
Some learners may have poor visions, difficulty in hearing, cripple, or hunch back. These physical handicaps can cause disciplinary problems in the class. Learners who are sickly can be irritable and restless. Poor mental health, emotional immaturity, irresponsibility, poor home environment, lack of interest in school activities and unreasonably obstinate or stubborn are common causes of disciplinary problems, habitual truancy lying, cheating, stealing, vandalism, resistance to school rules and regulations, disrespect or discourtesy and other undesirable behavior may be the results of poor home environment and social training.
The school environment as a factor in discipline: A healthy school environment is conducive to learning. Clean and beautiful surroundings inevitably evoke and stimulate pleasant thoughts and beautiful ideas. Rooms that are properly lighted and ventilated can induce the learners to study. Dirty comfort rooms, poor facilities and inadequate and obsolete textbooks and learning devices can contribute to behavioral problems.
The school management may also be a factor in discipline in the sense that administrative policies, regulations and practices are not fully observed and implemented.
When school policies and regulations and other institutional practices are not properly observed and followed, the tendency is that students develop undesirable habits and attitudes. The learners become careless about observing school policies and regulations.
Some school managers do not possess the appropriate leadership style that should be used in managing the school. Some of them practice autocratic leadership. It seems that their positions give them total authority to determine policies.