The 2011 academic year hurtles to the end in an ecstatic mood sweeping across schools. Both students and staff are eagerly waiting for the holidays. End of year holidays are the longest, carrying a two months break.
Prior to the school break, is the endurance of a tight schedule for students and teachers alike as they prepare for the end of year examinations.
Examinations motivate students to read. Educators have always wondered about what would happen if examinations and tests were non-existent in the school system. Maybe, everybody would have a degree or it wouldn’t be necessary to go to school. Teaching can be horrific and reading a lesser joy.
At this juncture, relative calm prevails in schools because students have very little time to look aside or get involved in any act of indiscipline. This fairly spells peace in schools since cases of rowdiness are on the low.
End year examinations are vital because they form a basis for final decisions such as the promotion to a next class and placement at the university.
Students who do not show continuous improvement in academic performance by the end of the year may be asked to repeat a class or choose easier subject combinations at A’ Level.
A good percentage of students who do not perform well are mostly undisciplined. Indiscipline does not only mean being mischievous and breaking school rules. It also encompasses mental discipline—the ability to tune the mind to do the right thing at the right time. Mental discipline is key to academic success.
The other portion of low achievers is naturally weak but they are easier to help. Weak students who are willing to work hard always improve with proper mentorship.
Undisciplined students will mostly perform poorly. They cannot be directed because they do not follow instructions. They always think they know what they don’t know.
There is a very important skill that employers always look for; ability to learn and be guided. This starts at earlier levels in schools where students are trained to listen and accept correction.
The Ministry of Education is very supportive of strict enforcement of discipline in schools. There should be zero tolerance to indiscipline. However, the underlying causes of such behavior should be addressed as opposed to literally cracking down on students like they are criminals.
On the other hand, schools should have a module for correction that should impart both attitude and behavioral change. This in turn would be reflected on the school’s academic standard and reputation for yielding responsible and orderly students.
Discipline aids learning but it is not an end in itself. There are certain ingredients of a good school and these can easily be identified.
Good schools have strong professional administrators and teachers; a broad curriculum available to all students; a philosophy that says all children can learn, coupled with high expectations for all students; a climate that’s safe, clean, caring and well-organized; an ongoing assessment system that supports good instruction and a high level of parent and community involvement and support.