Unruly Pupils ‘Driving Teachers out of Profession’

Cape Times (South Africa), April 3, 2007 | Go to article overview

Unruly Pupils ‘Driving Teachers out of Profession’


BYLINE: A’EYSHA KASSIEM

DISCIPLINE problems at schools in South Africa are “getting worse” and at some are “out of hand”, delegates have been told at a three-day international conference on Learner Discipline under way in Potchefstroom.

Pupils’ misbehaviour and rudeness were a leading cause of resignations, while the lack of discipline was making people reluctant to choose teaching as a profession.

“Problems with school discipline has led to a reduction in the number of people willing to become teachers, especially in high schools or schools regarded as being difficult,” said Pierre du Plessis and Coert Loock, professors at the University of Johannesburg.

“(Pupils’) misbehaviour and rudeness are the leading cause of teacher resignations.

“In some areas and countries, this has led to a severe teacher shortage, with classes not being taught or taught by an unqualified person.”

Du Plessis said disciplining pupils, especially those who had serious behavioural problems, had long been a challenge for teachers.

“At the heart of this challenge is the use of punitive (as opposed to) supportive disciplinary practices. Although increasingly common in recent years, reliance on punitive approaches to discipline, such as zero tolerance policies, has proved largely ineffective, even counterproductive. …

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