Influence of Teachers’ ethical practices on students discipline in selected secondary schools

Influence of Teachers’ ethical practices on students discipline in selected secondary schools




1.0       Introduction

There has been both a public and private outcry
that discipline has broken down in Secondary schools. The teachers’ have far
reaching influence on their learners. The influence can either be positive or
negative. Learners are more prone to learn from the teachers’ out of class
interactions since as Ssekamwa (2006) reveals, teachers are supposed to be the
learners’ mirror and model. According to (Seburimage, 2008), discipline plays a
key role in the process of education and that to have an orderly and ideal
learning situation, discipline is necessary for teachers and students.

1.1       Background to the Study

Teaching as a profession in Uganda was
attributed to formal education introduced by missionaries in the 19th
century, that over ran the traditional informal pre-colonial education that was
conducted in most society’s homesteads which acted as classrooms. Thus, there
was no code of conduct as we know it today, but instead good morals were
socially imparted (Nsigarira, 2006). However, such an informal education was
undermined by the formal education. Formal education transformed the teaching
service into a real profession. That meant for one to qualify as a teacher, he
had to go for training in teachers’ colleges after 1870’s and since then, it
remained a profession with even a code of conduct.  It should however be noted that like it was
during the colonial days, the missionary period had no written code of conduct
for teachers. That was due to the fact that the administrators of the time gave
morals the first priority unlike today where some are too reluctant. In other
words, colonial education lacked a well written code of ethics for teachers. It
was assumed that a good teacher conducts himself or herself in the best way
either according to Christian or Islamic principles.
On the other hand however, with the attainment
of independence in Uganda (2002) there arose a need for the code of ethics for
the teachers. Indeed one of the serious educational problems encountered in
Uganda during the post independent period, was how to control the professional
standards of teachers. That was due to the fact that in the pre independence
days, nothing binding was put into place to regulate teachers’ conduct. In
1963, the Education Act was passed which empowered the government to control
public education. That brought to an end the religious ethical frame work that
had been guiding teachers’ conduct. That led to the professional crisis among
teachers in the 1970s and 1980s. Teachers’ associations were formed to monitor
their conduct but efforts to come up with a code of conduct were futile.
to Nsigarira (2006), The Public Service Act of 1969 and the Education Act of
1970 still emphasized state controlled education, to ensure the proper conduct
of teachers. The Public Service Commission issued one (amendment) regulations
1996 under the section of the Public Service (teacher) Act of 1969 of Uganda.
It was that which served as the code of ethics at the time. In IkereEkiti, Ekiti
State like elsewhere, it was this code which was being abused by some teachers.
According to the survey conducted among secondary school teachers in IkereEkiti,
Ekiti State, some teachers did not know that teachers’ ethical conduct hard a
direct influence on students’ discipline and those teachers did not know that
they have a duty to educate the students. Like Deon; a Greek word meaning obligation or duty, teachers’ code of
conduct is obligatory. Every teacher, by that very fact is bound to follow the
injunctions of this code.
theory of Kant (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2008); when one fulfills an
obligation, he or she has done right. Failure to fulfill an obligation is
itself wrong. From the deontological point of view, therefore, when teachers
follow their moral or ethical code, they become more professional and this has
far reaching influence on their Students’ behavior. For instance, when a
teacher treasures and acknowledges the uniqueness and individuality and specific
needs of each student and provide guidance, counseling and encouragement to
each to realize his full potential, he has done right as a teacher because he
has fulfilled one of the duties of a teacher (UNATU, 2005).
Adams (1986) holds that discipline plays a big
role in teaching and learning process. However, he remarks that school rules
are often verbose, enumerating petty wrong doings that will not be tolerated by
school authorities and the accompanying sanctions in detail. They are a top
down trickle affair, imposed on students without students being given a chance
to evaluate them. They stress the negative without attempting to describe the
kind of positive behaviour which the school would like to be emulated. Since
rules and regulations are externally set, students tend to resist them and at
worst to break them.
For the purpose of this research study, the
following terms take this meaning: Ethics generally refers to the study of
human morality. Ethical means principles of right or wrong, morally well or
correct, Longman (2005). Code of ethics is a set of rules regulating the
morality of a person or a class of persons. Code of conduct is a set of rules
regulating the behavior of a person or a class of persons. The word discipline
means the development of self worth, self-control, respect for self and others
plus the adherence to school routine set up in terms of its schedules and
school regulations. Student discipline is defiant behavior, misbehavior and
disruptive behavior, while to others student discipline means the general
conduct of the student self-denial, self control, ordered behavior and
obedience to authority. Longman (2005) defines an influence as power to have an
effect on the way someone or something develops, behaves, or thinks without
using direct force or commands. A teacher is a person who regularly instructs a
person in a school to which there is Teachers Professional Code of Conduct
(UNATO). With the young children, it is expected that the teacher and school
administration play the role of external authority to impose discipline so that
children can settle down and learn.
            However, discipline should be
goal-oriented such that even as a teacher plays the role of external control,
he or she should be inculcating the habits for order and self discipline. This
creates self discipline and enhances performance. The dependent variable is
students’ discipline and in this study, students’ discipline will include;
attention, punctual and attendance. The independent variable in this study will
be influence of teachers’ ethical practices which  included; teachers’ punctuality, code of
dress, just and trustworthy of which leads the student to observe a strict
discipline so as to allow his or her concentration on studies hence better
performance in IkereEkiti, Ekiti State.
According to Bandura (2007), students can learn
a lot from their teachers. The teachers work under ethical theory which asserts
that the rightness or wrongness of an act is dependent upon the nature of the
consequences or outcomes of that action. That is to say an act is right because
the outcomes are good and teachers ought to work with focus. Is the problem
arising from lack of strict rules and regulations, lack of teachers’ counseling
and guidance to students’
harsh punishments or poor managers who are the teachers? There has been however
no attempt to assess how teachers’ ethical practices influence students’
discipline. This study is therefore conceived to investigate the contribution
of influence of teachers’ ethical practices on students’ discipline. Hence, the
agency for the study appraising the influence of teachers’ ethical practices on
students’ discipline in IkereEkiti, Ekiti State.
Despite formal education being over one hundred
years old in Uganda, with so many teacher training colleges all emphasizing
ethics, formation of teachers’ associations and penalization of teachers who
happen to abuse the code of conduct, some continued not to live up to their
professional standards. That was supported by endless reports on cases of
teachers’ involvement in examination- malpractice, corruption, teachers’
learners’ sexual relationship, thefts.
According to the Onion, Friday, 29-June, 2009 pg
22, there was a bye-bye holiday party in Nansana where young students were
treated to an optical nutrition of erotic dancing by karaoke dancers, while
several couples of students were nabbed at Munyonyo Lake shore romancing with
the breeze as they enjoyed explorations of their bodies and sweetly servicing
each other. Worst of all, a couple of students were nabbed swapping saliva; the
boy was sacking the tender lips of a young girl whose mother thought was at
school in Kajansi. Such acts are depictions of the rotten manners of our future
citizens. He called for police and all concerned authorities to act with
ultimate haste to curb down the heinous acts before the situation runs out of
hand. The teachers have a duty to see to it that they act as managers and
control students by working closely with parents to set better study time
tables that will guide students in holidays.
In 2004 about 20 schools were burnt in strikes
and mysterious fires. Schools that suffered fires include; (1) Eleyo High
School, (2) Ajeolagun Grammar School, (3) St.Stephen High School, (4) Amooye
Grammar School (5) Staff School College of Education. According to Daily
Monitor (Tuesday March 24 2009), X-Budo Headmaster sued over another Uganda
shillings 192 million loan from bank of Baroda and 1.7 billion from Barclays
bank, Unfortunately, to some teachers, the moral fiber is either lacking or
scanty, and familiarity with code of conduct is very poor. Consequently, the
observance of the code of conduct is very problematic and is causing a big out
cry from the community of Ikere Ekiti.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

There arose a private and public outcry that
instead of positively impacting learners, teachers are constraining students’
discipline as a result of their dysfunctional ethical practices through late
coming mistrust, poor dress code, lack of implementation of rules and
regulations, lack of counseling and guidance to students’ and harsh
punishments. Onion, Friday, 29-June, 2009 pg 22, there was a bye-bye holiday
party in Nansana where young students were treated to an optical nutrition of
erotic dancing by karaoke dancers. This is because the students are exposed to
many dangers like drug taking as some students were arrested taking opium and
others having it in their suit cases, and where a student confesses having
infected school mates with HIV/ AIDS which was one of the damning confessions
of how HIV positive teenagers put colleagues at risk. The Red Pepper, July, 9
-2010 and The Sunrise, June, 4- 2010 pg1, which reported alarming drug abuse in
Unfortunately, there was however no attempt to
assess how teachers’ ethical practices influence students’ discipline.
Consequently, the study sought to investigate the relationship between
teachers’ ethical practices and students’ discipline in secondary schools.

1.3       Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study was to establish the
extent to which teachers’ ethical practices bare influence on students’
discipline in selected secondary schools Ikere Ekiti, Ekiti State..

1.4       Specific Objectives

The study had the
following objectives:
establish the influence of teachers’ code of conduct on students behavior in IkereEkiti,
Ekiti State.
find out the influence of teachers’ skills counseling and guidance to students’
in IkereEkiti, Ekiti State.

1.5       Research Questions

The study had the
following research questions:
does teachers’ code of conduct influence students’ behavior in IkereEkiti, Ekiti
does counseling and guidance influence students’ discipline in IkereEkiti,
Ekiti State.? 
does teachers’ punctuality influence students’ time management in IkereEkiti,
Ekiti State.?

1.6       Scope of the study

The study focused on establishing influence of
teachers’ ethical practices on students’ discipline that is: teachers’ code of
conduct on students’ behavior, teachers’ counseling and guidance to students
and teachers’ punctuality on students’ time management in four selected
secondary schools in IkereEkiti, Ekiti State.

1.7       Significance of the Study

The study focused on influence of teachers’
ethical practices and students’ behavior. The study will benefit the following;
School administration and staff will benefit from improved discipline of both
students and teachers.   Board of
governors will find it easy to solve issues pertaining discipline since it will
have improved and everybody involved administratively.  Ministry of Education and Sports will benefit
as policy makers for their implementation , Parents’ Teachers’ Association (PTA), and students, through creation of principles
governing the institutions as they will all be involved in formulation of the
rules and regulations governing the school. Further, the findings of the study
are likely to prompt more research in IkereEkiti, Ekiti State..

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