Thursday, 24 July 2014

Growing Disciplinary Problem

A teacher is teaching in a secondary level classroom. Two boy students are chatting in a corner. When the teacher asks them to be quiet and to pay attention towards the lesson, they just ignore him and continue their prattle. This drives the teacher crazy. He approaches them and slaps hard on one of the students' back. Then suddenly the other stands up and raises his hand furiously to slap back the teacher. These are not the lines of some story. Such incidents usually happen in a real classroom these days.

The modern day students, especially of secondary level, seem to forget how to behave at school and in front of teachers or how to abide by disciplinary rules. 'Discipline' is the practice of making people obey rules or standards of behaviour, and punishing them when they do not - the Collins Cobuild English Dictionary defines. Although discipline is needed in every sphere of human life to be successful, its importance is much higher in student life, which most of our students fail to realize.

At the lower levels, maintaining discipline is not a problem because young children follow all the school rules and obey teachers too. They are afraid of thinking if they do something wrong they will be punished but when they reach upper level they gradually become stubborn and stop obeying teachers. They stop listening to others and do whatever they like.

However, not all students create disciplinary problems. There are a handful of students who are very obedient and well mannered. They concentrate on their studies and follow the school rules sincerely. But there is another terrible lot who are engaged in creating different problems every time when they get a slight chance.

Usually the disciplined students learn the lessons of good manners in their families. The problem creators are generally from the families where there is a perturbed relationship between parents or where the parents do not pay enough attention to care about their offspring.

It can be analyzed that the students who have good upbringing get a chance to learn to respect elders, to love youngsters and to maintain their discipline. These children's parents obviously devote a lot of time to shape them. Such parents are always available with parental guidance and support due to which the children rarely lose their track. They are pretty aware of what kind of behaviour is expected from them in school, and they show it. But those students whose parents' topmost priority is to earn money instead of taking care of their children are mainly found to indulge in the undisciplined activities. However it is seen that, sometimes, good children also get  involved in bad companies and they gradually become the problem creators at school.

The problematic students bunk classes, do not pay attention to study, make a noise in the classroom, use foul language, challenge a teacher's authority, organize gang fights, smoke, use alcohol or drugs, make scandals in love affairs - to name some. It is crystal clear that such activities disturb the whole school system heavily.

We are from that culture where teachers are highly respected and obeyed. There are many amazing stories from old times when students used to sacrifice "anything" for the sake of teachers. Of course, present day students are not expected to be as dedicated as Eklavya, Karna or Aaruni to their teachers. However, they must follow general school rules and do what teachers ask them to do in relation to study or discipline maintenance.

The school life is said to be most valuable to shape one's behaviour and learn good lessons. If students waste such a precious time engaging in mischievous and unacceptable activities, this will affect them throughout their life.

It is needless to say that home is the first school for children. After all it is parents' duty to help kids learn good manners. Usually children are influenced by parents' behaviour so the parents can set an example for their wards by showing what and how to do . Parents must devote sufficient time, guidance and support to help children move on a right track. Simply investing money in their education is not enough.

In the past students were taught moral education. At that time they would rarely create disciplinary problems. It might be an appropriate time to include moral education in secondary level school curriculum again, which could help boost up students' undignified morality. It is possible that they may lack appropriate information and knowledge regarding discipline.

As students of secondary level the students themselves should also be responsible to identify what is right for them. It is less useful on the part of parents or teachers whatever input they give to children to shape their behaviour until children themselves realize the need of such input. They must be aware of the bad impact of their misconduct upon them, their family, school, society or upon the entire nation. They must not waste the invaluable time doing foolish deeds; once this time passes, never comes back - students must internalize this truth.

(Published in an English Daily The Rising Nepal on Friday, August 13, 2004)

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I would appreciate any and all suggestions on making improvements (as long as they are viable).