The analyze how the administrations of punishments by head teachers affect students’ academic performance.
According to Nagawa (1998) in Mpiso (2004), there are various types of punishments that are administered in the secondary schools in pakistan. These include the different modes or forms, which prevail in our schools in pakistan such as reprimand, bawling out, ridiculing sarcasm, belittling, name calling, withdraw of privileges, social isolation, demotion, putting placards around the offenders neck, standing or kneeling in front of class, exercise drills such as raising arms while carrying weight, suspension and expulsion from school, corporal punishment, restitution and detention or keeping students after school.
According to traditional African teaching and learning, power relations dominated it. Children were expected to take instructions from adults and assimilated knowledge without questioning its source. Questioning its source and challenging the opinion of the instructor could be regarded as rude and Tantamount to punishment (Gyekye, 2002). However despite the existence of learning theories signaling the barriers punishments regimes pose to effective teaching and learning, the practice continues to be predicted on traditional norms and expectations of the society and this is true in our schools where adults expect that children who misbehave in school or at home will be punished (Rosen, 1997).
Baumard (1999), shared the same opinion and argued that punishment is a means of controlling disruptive behavior. He further stated that if punishment is the logical result of misconduct, the student is likely to accept it without resentment. Teachers need always to help students to realize the appropriateness of punishment before initiating it. Cotton, (2000), also contends that uniform punishment can be an effective way of controlling students‟ behavior if students, teachers and school administrators know and understand that punishment are firm, fair and consistent. They act as motivators to students in order to improve students’ learning and academic performance.
On the contrary, discipline has more to do with teaching and self-control. Learning theories indicate that punishment was ineffective for producing significant and lasting behavioral change (Canter, 2000). Ideally, punishments are an effective method of remediating individual misbehavior and therefore improving school order if they commensurate with the offence committed and must also be perceived by students as punishments (Okumbe, 1998). However in most secondary schools in Mbarara Municpality, some forms of punishments are unfair and undeserved like corporal punishment in schools involving severe canning of students.
Docking (2000), carried out a study on application of punishments in schools in the United Kingdom and observed that, some punishments are appropriate and constructive while others are not desirable, baseless and instead intended for instilling fear. This idea was also in agreement with Canter (2000), who argued that although discipline remains one of the most common problems for educators, some punishments such as corporal punishments should not be used because no evidence suggests that they have produced better results academically, morally or that it improves school discipline. Instead students provoke resistance and resentments such as cyclical child abuse and pro-violent behavior. Students turn to lying about their behavior so as to escape punishments.
Cotton (2000), shares the same idea that, punishment can be an effective means of remediating individual behavior and therefore improving school order if they commensurate with the offense committed. Harsh punishments are ineffective as Cotton (2000) further argued. But what occurs on the ground in Mbarara Municipality is that, there are many secondary schools where a student who commits an offence, can easily gets admitted in another school rendering the punishment useless. The effect of this practice on academic performance was of interest to this study.
Evertson, et al (2003), during their study on children punishment in elementary schools in the United Kingdom established that, small children tend to regard all punishment as unfair and undiscovered. However old students generally were found to regard punishment for misbehavior as fair and accepted, provided that the punishment fits the crime. But during the study on punishments in Botswana‟s secondary schools, Koereng (2004), observed that head teachers did not have control on some punishments even if cases could for example warrant suspension or expulsion. The consequence is that students can even misbehave in front of these powerless head teachers whom they know cannot take any action. Much as these acts of indiscipline attracted the attention of these researchers, they however neglected their effects on students‟ academic performance and a need for this study.