Turnaround Learner Discipline Practices through Epistemic Social Justice in Schools
Keywords:turnaround; corporal punishment; school governing bodies; classroom discipline; cultural diversity; learner discipline practices; South African Schools Act; social justice
Researchers claim that learner discipline has continued to be a problem in schools since corporal punishment was outlawed in public schools in South Africa. It is evident that teachers have a vital role to play in the improvement of learner discipline in schools. An interpretivist qualitative approach was adopted to investigate learner discipline practices as perceived by teachers in South African public schools. A sample of 10 (3 principals, 3 teachers, 3 parents and 1 learner) participants was used for the study. Social justice theory was used as a lens to consider the process of humanising learner discipline practices in terms of human rights. The article investigates how learner discipline practices can be turned around through epistemic social justice to influence the quality of teaching and learning in schools. The findings revealed that in South Africa there are no effective learner discipline practices. There is a need for education authorities to introduce compulsory training and development programmes for aspiring teachers to be equipped with new strategies to deal with learner discipline through a social justice approach. Social justice theory was used as a tool to address learner discipline practices in selected schools. It was recommended that there be more parent involvement in decision-making to consider a policy of transforming learner discipline practices to deal with the inequality and injustice in schools.
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