The crisis of student discipline in Botswana schools: an impact of culturally conflicting disciplinary strategies

Abstract


K. G. Garegae

Although student discipline had existed since the beginning of mankind, the disciplinary methods employed have changed over the years, giving rise to culturally irrelevant disciplinary strategies. This study explored teachers’ views about approaches to discipline experienced in Botswana schools in terms of policy and practice. In particular, the study sought for information on teachers’ day-to-day experiences and their views with regard to the implementation of student discipline regulations. Twenty teachers, who have been in the field for at least eight years, were interviewed once. Interview proceedings were recorded and later transcribed verbatim. The study showed that teachers feel disempowered by schools’ discipline regulations, and that students take advantage of such regulations to undermine teachers’ authority. Based on the premise that discipline approaches are culturally conceptualized and negotiated, the paper argues that student discipline has grown into an epidemic in Botswana schools because culturally inappropriate approaches are employed. Recommendations as to how the problem could be curbed are discussed and suggestions for further studies are made.

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