Influence of head teachers' decision making styles on management of students' discipline in public secondary schools in Kisumu west district, Kenya
Opar, Florence A
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This study sought to investigate the influence of head teachers' decision-making styles on students' discipline in public secondary schools in Kisumu West District, Kenya. It was guided by a number of objectives which included: examining how unilateral decision-making style by head teachers influences frequency of students' unrest; assessing how head teachers' rational style of decision-making influences the way students' indiscipline cases are handled; establishing how head teachers' participatory style of decision-making influences formulation of school rules and determining the preferred decision-making style among students and teachers. The study utilized a descriptive survey design which used both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Self-administered questionnaires with open-ended and closed-ended questions were administered to secondary school students, teachers and head teachers. Interview schedule was for the head teacher alone. 34 public secondary schools from form one to form four in the district were randomly selected to represent schools from both urban and rural settings. The sample size comprised of 370 secondary school students 132 teachers and 32 head teachers. Quantitative data was analyzed using frequencies and percentages multiple regression analysis while qualitative data was analyzed through content analysis. Major findings established that both students and teachers have similar preference of head teachers' decision making concerning students' cases of indiscipline. While most students and teachers indicated dislike for head teachers' unilateral decision-making style. They preferred participatory and rational decision-making styles by the head teachers. In addition, the study shows that head teachers' participatory decision-making style has a statistically significant influence on formulation of rules in public secondary schools. Majority of students and teachers also reported that teachers and parents are usually involved in making school rules and that regular meetings are held between teachers and parents to discuss matters related to students' discipline. Head teachers' rational decision-making style, though reported by students and teachers as being practiced in the schools does not come out as a statistically significant predictor of handling indiscipline cases in the schools. It is also evident from the study that head teachers' unilateral decision-making style contributes to student unrest. The conclusion of the study was that both students and teachers preferred participatory and rational decision making styles by head teachers. They are also not comfortable with head teachers' unilateral decision making in relation to management of student discipline. According to the study, unilateral decision making style, which doesn't feature significantly in Kisumu West District, has a positive or negative influence on student discipline.