Effects of disciplinary strategies on students’ behaviour in public secondary schools in Matungulu district, Machakos county in Kenya
Maintenance of acceptable student behaviour is imperative for the smooth running of school programs. Schools have objectives to achieve within a specified time hence, school activities should run efficiently without major hiccups. Student behaviour issues have engulfed schools therefore affecting their operations. The research sought to study the effects of disciplinary strategies on students‟ behaviour in public secondary schools in Matungulu District, Machakos County. The researcher wanted to establish the relationship between disciplinary strategies and students‟ behaviour representing the independent and dependent variables respectively. Therefore, the study answered the following four research questions: What was the influence of manual work on students‟ behaviour? How does withdrawal or denial of privileges influence students‟ behaviour? To what extent does suspension from school influence students‟ behaviour? What was the effect of Guidance and Counseling on students‟ behaviour? In order to collect varied and detailed information relating to the current status and perceptions on disciplinary strategies and students‟ behaviour, the researcher utilized a descriptive survey research design. The study was conducted in public secondary schools in Matungulu District, Machakos County with a sample frame of 27 public secondary schools and a total population of 8937. The sample size was 9 schools with a total population of 3433 and a proportionate total sample population of 1043 was selected representing 30% to ensure selection of a statistically significant sample. To cater for proportionate and equal chance of selection, the researcher used systematic sampling to select schools and simple random sampling to select teachers and students. Key informant respondents like the Deputy Head Teachers and Heads of Guidance and Counseling were included in the study due to the key role they play in maintaining appropriate student behaviour as well as being custodians of student behaviour records. Data was collected using questionnaires, interview of key informant respondents and document review. A pilot study was conducted to test the data collection instruments for reliability and validity. The researcher used the split half method whereby results from the pilot study were divided into two sets of scores and correlated producing a reliability coefficient of 0.85 which was appropriate. The researcher ascertained that the instruments attained both construct validity by removing ambiguous statements and content validity through ensuring that all the objectives of the study were covered. The researcher used triangulation whereby the same question was asked differently to the respondents to check for consistency of the responses given. Data collected was analyzed using descriptive statistics through the determination of measures of central tendency to determine the distribution of data as well as calculation of measures of dispersion to determine variability in data. Data was also analyzed through content analysis. Quantitative data was presented using percentages and frequency tables with explanations while qualitative data was presented in thematic narratives. The study established that a small number of students were punished using the disciplinary strategies discussed. The research found that 60.4% agreed that manual activities helped achieve improved student behaviour, 51.4% said that denial of privileges does not help improve student behaviour, 58.6% were of the view that suspension from school was effective in improving student behaviour and a majority of 81.4% supported the view that guidance and counseling helps improve student behaviour. The study recommended that schools should develop guides to manual punishments, teachers and students should provide suggestions regarding the application of denial of privileges though open forums and suggestions, schools should incorporate parents and guardians in tackling student behaviour problems and lastly, all teachers should receive training in guidance and counseling.