Influence of principals’ management practices on students’ discipline in public secondary schools in kiambu county, kenya
Discipline is critical to the smooth operation of any organization and particularly in schools. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to investigate the influence of principals’ management practices on students’ discipline in secondary schools in Kiambu County, Kenya. The study sought to determine the extent to which principals’ involvement of students’ in decision making, creation of awareness of the school vision, application of knowledge of students’ temperament, application of disciplinary measures and facilitation of teaching and learning influenced students’ discipline in secondary schools in Kiambu County. The study was guided by Situational Theory of Leadership by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard- a Contingency Theory which characterizes leadership in terms of task behaviour and relationship behaviour. The study used descriptive survey design focusing on a target population of 37 principals, 37 deputy principals, 280 class teachers and 31,000 students. Stratified sampling was used to obtain secondary school categories classified as National, Extra County and County schools in addition to classifying respondents by gender. Then, simple random sampling was used to obtain required number of principals, deputy principals, class teachers and students. The respondents finally consisted of 15 principals, 21 deputy principals, 55 class teachers and 375 students. The instruments used included: an interview guide for the principals, questionnaires for deputy principals, class teachers and students. The findings were as follows: firstly, it was established that principals had put in place some avenues that allowed students to participate in decision making in matters that involved discipline. Some schools had more regular avenues than others. Secondly, principals reminded students of the vision termly and also yearly to influence their discipline positively. Thirdly, principals incorporated practices that showed knowledge of students’ temperaments to influence their discipline. Fourthly, positive as well as negative disciplinary measure were applied in students’ discipline. Notably, some positive measures influence students’ discipline negatively. Finally, the findings revealed that principals facilitated teaching and learning to influence discipline of the students. Conclusion, where the principals applied the different management practices, students’ discipline was higher. The principals, deputy principals and class teachers generally rated the application of the practices higher than students; a situation which was likely to affect discipline negatively. Moreover, of the three categories, National schools were most disciplined. The study makes the following recommendations: that the Ministry of Education Science and Technology through their Quality Assurance departments ensure that effective practices such as class supervision and implementations of strategic plans are upheld in the schools. On suggestions for further studies, that a study be carried out to establish how students’ gender influences the nature of practices that principals put in place to maintain discipline in the various schools.