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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

On-line version ISSN 2224-7912
Print version ISSN 0041-4751

Tydskr. geesteswet. vol.48 n.3 Pretoria  2008


'n Moontlike alternatiewe benadering tot leerderdissipline


A possible alternative approach to learner discipline



J L van der Walt; I J Oosthuizen

Skool vir Opvoedkunde, Fakulteit Opvoedingswetenskappe, Potchefstroomkampus, Noordwes-Universiteit /




Die konvensionele benadering tot dissipline in skole het klaarblyklik verouderd geraak in verskeie wêrelddele, insluitend Suid-Afrika, onder meer vanweë die postmoderne tydgees wat in die afgelope drie tot vier dekades homself meester gemaak het van mense se mentaliteit. Die nagevolge van die anti-apartheidstryd en die aanbreek van 'n menseregtekultuur in 1994 het ook bygedra tot die oproep om 'n nuwe benadering tot die handhawing van dissipline in skole. Hoewel die kerneienskappe van dissipline en opvoeding in wese dieselfde gebly het, het dit raadsaam geraak om die daadwerklike handhawing van dissipline ietwat anders te benader. Die hedendaagse leerder in die skool is 'n meer volwasse konsument in die karnavalagtige postmoderne omgewing as kinders in vorige bedelings. Hierdie insig bring mee dat opvoeders, insluitend onderwysers, meer gerig moet wees op die konstruktiewe besig-hou van die leerders deur middel van sinvolle aktiwiteite wat by die tydgees pas. Dit beteken onder meer dat hulle op kreatiewe maniere "vermaak" moet word, onder meer met behulp van nuwe tegnologiese middele wat tot almal se beskikking is. In die proses moet opvoeders eerder fasiliteerders van leergeleenthede word as dispenseerders van

Trefwoorde: Opvoeding, onderwys, dissipline, tydgees, postmodernisme


Learner discipline in South African schools as well as in schools in other parts of the world is clearly not of the required standard. Educators, in the form of parents and teachers, find themselves constantly confronted with the problem of how to eradicate the problem and restore order to schools and classrooms. The problem also evokes other questions, such as: What is "discipline " and what does it entail? What is the nature of the spirit of the times in which young people have to be educated nowadays? To what extent has the new constitutional dispensation in South Africa dovetailed with the spirit of the times? In what respect does the conventional approach to discipline in educational contexts differ from the "new" approach?
The following thesis was formulated, based on several empirical investigations, a study of the literature and on philosophical reflection: Learner discipline can be restored and improved in schools if educators connect, in a "manner that isjustifiable, in principle", with the spirit of the times, and if they interpret the applicable legal framework in terms of this approach.
The main focus in this article is on the postmodern spirit of our times, in other words the prevalent views and conceptions about the world and life, as well as on the legal framework within which discipline has to be maintained in schools. Postmodernism provides the backdrop against which the proposed "new" approach to the maintenance of discipline has to be brought to bear. Postmodernism as such cannot be uncritically accepted as a suitable context for the maintenance of learner discipline in schools, however. The postmodern approach tends to over-emphasize, for instance, certain anthropological aspects. By the same token, the human rights culture, which forms the legal framework for education and schooling in many modern societies, cannot be accepted uncritically.
Although the focus in this article is not on the didactical or educational-psychological aspects of teaching and learning but rather on the principles of effective academic instruction, it is contended that these principles should be adhered to in schools and in instruction as a prerequisite for the attainment of good discipline. It is furthermore implicitly accepted that good relationships between educators and learners, dealing with delinquent behaviour in a pupil-specific manner and timely intervention should be recognised as measures for coping with poor school discipline. The same applies to the whole-school behaviour support approach.
Apart from these measures that might be appropriate for purposes of procuring effective education and of restoring learner discipline in schools, educators also need to follow a "postmodern strategy". By following this strategy, that is one that embraces not only all the interventions and strategies mentioned above but also tunes in to the postmodern spirit of our times, interventions such as formal violence prevention or reduction programmes, the banning of "difficult learners" and the "refer and remove philosophy" can be pre-empted. Educators' focus should not be on delinquent behaviour as such but rather on understanding the postmodern attitude of learners and, in view of that insight, on guiding their learners towards more disciplined conduct. This "discipline" should take the form of "discipleship".
The legal framework, especially the human rights culture, as well as insight into the postmodern spirit allows educators to apply the following strategy as a means of restoring learner discipline in the sense of "discipleship":
1. Educators should relinquish the conventional approach to the maintenance of order and discipline in schools. The situation analyses of postmodern philosophers such as Michel Foucault and others have shown that these approaches are no longer adequate. Because of the inertia factor in education, educators only now (after three to four decades of postmodernism) seem to begin to understand the shortcomings of the conventional approach.
2. Educators should keep abreast of the postmodern spirit which forms the context of education in our times. They have to understand the "carnivalesque" entertainment-seeking attitude of young people, and approach the process of "disciplining" their learners accordingly: learners have to be kept constructively busy with "entertaining" and "amusing" learning activities. They should devise new methods for achieving this. (Also see 5 below.)
3. Educators should furthermore avail themselves of the possibilities inherent in Social Constructivism. People nowadays tend to construct meaning or sense for themselves. Learning content has to be offered in forms that will enable learners to understand the givens in reality which they can process for the purpose of creating sense and meaning for themselves. Learning opportunities should, therefore, be cast in forms that would promote creative and constructive social interactions in the classroom.
4. Educators should also be mindful of the fact that the postmodern spirit has not affected the essential features of education. It is the learners who have developed a mindset that differs markedly from the rationalistic-deterministic approach associated with modernism; education as such has remained essentially unaffected. The learners have become rather more mature "consumers" in the "carnival of life". As a result educators have to change their own roles from those of dispensers of knowledge and of educational norms and values to those of facilitators of learning opportunities. This role change does not, however, affect the validity of the essential features of education: education will always involve guiding, unlocking, enabling and the making of disciples or followers of the learners as educands. Especially this last feature of education is of great importance: educators should themselves provide examples that can be emulated by their learners; they should demonstrate to their learners how one makes sense and gives meaning to experiences in a postmodern environmental and social context. Teaching and learning should become more of a co-operative enterprise than ever before.
5. Educators should make full use of new technological inventions and possibilities. They should realize that their options for maintaining discipline have increased rather than diminished since the introduction of a human rights culture and the banning of (physical) punishment. Educators (also in relatively poor communities) should avail themselves of the possibilities provided by cell phones, cd's, dvd's, ipods, MP3 players and the Internet as well as other recently developed teaching aids. They should place more of the pedagogical responsibility on the shoulders of their learners. The legal status accorded to children in South Africa and indeed worldwide makes this eminently possible.

Key concepts: Education, discipline, spirit of the times, postmodernism


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1 Die "tradisionele of konvensionele" vorm van dissipline. Dit sal gaandeweg duidelik gemaak word dat daar in die heersende omstandighede na 'n ander benadering tot dissipline in die onderwys/skole gestreef kan en behoort te word.
2 Opvoeders sal uiteraard elkeen 'n eie opvatting hê van wat "prinsipieel-regverdigbaar" in terme van hulle eie godsdiens, lewensbeskouing of spirituele oriëntering beteken.
3 Die aanhangers of gebruikers van 'n postmoderne benadering word dikwels daarvan verdink dat hulle 'n soort "anything goes"-benadering volg, dat hulle geen eie denkraamwerk en derhalwe geen waardes of beginsels het of aanhang nie. Die postmoderne het egter nie net sulke negatiewe eienskappe nie, daarom kan 'n mens op kritiese wyse deelneem aan die postmoderne kultuur en gesprek (vgl. Fowler, 2004: 57). Die bedoeling in hierdie artikel is juis om die positiewe eienskappe van die postmoderne tydgees te benut. Die postmoderne tydgees erken naamlik die vryheid van die mens om buite-om geykte rasionalistiese (d.i. modernistiese) raamwerke te dink (vgl. Lassahn 2000: 111), om kreatief die pluspunte van verskillende denkraamwerke te herbedink, om nuwe oplossings vir "ou" probleme te soek en om ruimte te laat vir die nuwe geestesvryheid van mense (insluitende opvoeders en leerders) om die grense van die moontlike te verskuif en aan die lewe nuwe rigting, sin en doel te probeer gee. Die postmoderne geesteshouding bied die ruimte om eie godsdienstige oortuigings, lewensbeskoulike waardes en spirituele oriëntasie 'n rol te laat speel. Hierdie eienskap van die postmoderne denkwyse laat die outeurs byvoorbeeld toe om telkens in die besinning ewewigsoekende korreksies aan te bring. Die metode wat hier toegepas word, is verwant aan die transendentale pragmatisme soos voorgestaan deur Hanan Alexander (2006: 206): "...genuine standards of assessment must ... be dynamic not dogmatic, at least as we are given to understand it for now, but assuming that there could always be a better way or a more compelling perspective" (Alexander, 2006: 214).
4 Omdat die besinning in hierdie artikel op die postmoderne geesteshouding georiënteer is, beweeg dit meer op die metavlak van die opvoedingswetenskap. Die klem word meer gelê op 'n "filosofiese" benadering tot leerdergedrag, wat gevolglik al die vermelde dissiplines oorkoepel.
5 Vergelyk 'n verklaring deur die Minister van Onderwys op 23 Oktober 2006 (soos opgeneem in Rapport, 5 November 2006, p. XI) en uitsprake tydens die sitting van die Onderwys-portefeuljekomitee in die Parlement op 10 September 2007. Volgens hierdie verklaring en uitsprake moet besondere maatreëls getref word om skole veiliger plekke te maak en om dissipline te herstel.
6 As 'n mens in ag neem dat die Franse rewolusie in werklikheid vanaf 1789 tot 1848 geduur het voordat dit behoorlik verwerk was en die samelewing weer rustig geword het, is dit duidelik dat rewolusies - selfs die vreedsame een wat in 1994 in Suid-Afrika begin het - tot 'n halfeeu lank kan duur. Die feit dat leiers van lande in Afrika wat reeds in 1960 onafhanklik geword het nog telkens na die koloniale verlede verwys (en in Suid-Afrika telkens na apartheid, soos pres. Thabo Mbeki op 22 Maart 2006 tydens sy staatsbesoek aan Italie), bevestig hierdie waarneming.
7 Bentham het 'n soort tronk ontwikkel waarin die bewaarder in die middel sit met die selle in 'n halfmaan rondom hom. Op dié manier kon een bewaarder 'n hele aantal gevangenes en/in hulle selle dophou. Hy kon hulle ook dag en nag dophou.
8 Vir meer agtergrond kan die volgende met vrug geraadpleeg word: Hargreaves (1994); Usher en Edwards (1994); Ozmon en Carver (1995); Cahoone (1996); Ward (1997); Blake, Smeyers, Smith en Standish (1998), en Apignanesi en Garrat (2004).
9 Die "moderne" of "modernistiese" rasionalisties-behavioristiese benadering werk met 'n soort hokkie en vakkie-siening van gedrag en straf en beloning. Leerdergedrag word duidelik gekategoriseer en afgebaken, en oortredings hiervan word met ewe duidelik afgebakende vorme van straf teengewerk. Goeie gedrag word met pryse beloon.
10 Ruimte laat nie 'n bespreking van die sosiale konstruktivisme toe nie. Die volgende kan egter hieroor geraadpleeg word: Shuell (1988); Prawat (1992); Cobb (1994); Boersma (1995); Kukla (2000); Valcke (2000/2001) en Nelissen en Van Grootheest (2004).
11 Vanuit 'n tradisionele benadering tot dissipline sou 'n mens hierdie "sogenaamd" kon weglaat. Dit geld ook vir die ander plekke waar die uitdrukking "sogenaamd ongedissiplineerd" verder aan gebruik word.
12 Beskrywings van ontwikkelinge in hierdie tydsgewrig vind 'n mens in die bekende werke van Rand (1971) en Brezinka (1976).
13 Dit behoort die moeite werd te wees om vas te stel tot welke mate daar in onderwysersopleiding reeds aandag gegee word aan hoe onderwysers in die nuwe, postmoderne tyd dissipline by leerders behoort te kweek.
14 Elke opvoeder sal moet besluit wat prinsipieel-regverdigbaar is vanuit die eie lewens- en wêreldbeskouing, godsdiens of spiritualiteit. Vir hoe hierdie proses moontlik kan verloop, kyk Lassahn (2000: 109-111).
15 Hierdie bespreking van die vier ankerpale van die opvoedende onderwys is in wese 'n samevatting van die wese van opvoeding, soos onder meer bespreek in bekende opvoedingsfilosofiese werke soos dié van Langeveld (1959:26-39), Henz (1975:22-25), Van der Molen (1979:9-41), Imelman (1982:75-116), om enkeles te noem. Hierdie bekende opvoedingsfilosofiese insigte is egter "opgedateer" met die oog op opvoeding in postmoderne toestande.
16 Verskillende (tegniese) universiteite stel relatief goedkoop pakkette beskikbaar met behulp waarvan onderwysers in die mees afgeleë en agtergeblewe dele van die land die basiese beginsels van die natuurwetenskap en die tegnologie vir die leerders kan demonstreer. In hierdie pakkette word doelbewus aangesluit by apparaat wat die leerders in hulle ouerhuise se kombuise sal kan aantref.
17 Hoewel hierdie siening aansluit by die redenasie in hierdie artikel, kan 'n mens nie saamstem met die gedagte dat die kind outonoom - die eie wetgewer - is nie. Kinders bly steeds onvolwasse persone wat leiding en begeleiding nodig het ten einde hulle weg deur die lewe te kan baan. Kinders kan nie self-wetgewers (outonoom) wees nie omdat dit hulle sal verhinder om deur middel van enkulturasie en sosialisering in te pas by die beginsels, norme en waardes van die samelewing waarin hulle leef. Iemand wat 'n self-wetgewer is, sal neig om die eie kop te volg, en dus moeilik aan- en inpas in die sosiale en kulturele omgewing en by die reëls daarvan (vgl. Helsper 2006:19-20).
18 Die uitdrukking "outonome regte" skep 'n probleem. Enersyds beteken dit dat die kind vir hom/haarself regte bepaal. In voetnota 17 is al 'n beswaar hierteen gelug. Andersyds is hierdie uitdrukking kontradiktories in 'n menseregtebedeling. In 'n regstaat soos Suid-Afrika bestaan daar 'n statutêre Handves van Menseregte waaraan alle burgers onderworpe is. Niemand kan dus outonoom (=selfwetgewend) regte vir hom of haarself in so 'n menseregte-omgewing bepaal nie.
19 "selfstandige burger" is waarskynlik meer toepaslik.



Prof J L (Hannes) van der Walt, voorheen dekaan van die Fakulteit Opvoedkunde van die destydse Potchefstroomse Universiteit (tans die Potchef-stroomse Kampus van die Noordwes-Universiteit), is tans 'n spesialisnavorser in die Fakulteit Opvoedingswetenskappe van dieselfde Universiteit. In hierdie hoedanigheid werk hy saam met 'n hele aantal kollegas aan die NWU sowel as aan ander universiteite en instellings in Suid-Afrika en in die buiteland. In die afgelope tyd was sy navorsings-fokus veral op die herstel van dissipline in skole en die vraagstuk van spiritualiteit in die onderwys en opvoeding.

Prof J L (Hannes) van der Walt, former Dean of the Faculty of Education at the Potchefstoom University (now the North-West University), is currently a specialist researcher in the Faculty of Education Sciences at the same University. In this capacity, he co-operates with researchers from the NWU as well as with colleagues at universities and other institutions in South Africa and abroad. His research currently focuses on the restoration of discipline in schools as well as on the problem of spirituality in education.

Prof. Izak Oosthuizen was 'n onderwyser, departementshoof, onderhoof en waarnemende prinsipaal. Vir die afgelope twee dekades is hy dosent in Onderwysreg aan die Potchefstroomse Kampus van die Noordwes-Universiteit. Hy is die outeur van meer as 20 boeke in Onderwysreg en verwante onderwerpe, en van meer as 50 artikels in geakkredi-teerde tydskrifte. Hy is in 2004 deur die Opvoed-kundevereniging van Suid-Afrika vereer vir sy navorsing, en in 2005 is hy deur die National Research Foundation as gevestigde navorser geakkrediteer.

Prof. Izak Oosthuizen was a teacher, departmental head, deputy headmaster and an acting principal. He has been a lecturer in Education Law at the Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University for the past two decades. He is the author of more than 20 books on Education Law and related issues, as well 50 articles in refereed journals. In 2004 he was awarded the Senior Research Award by the Education Association of South Africa as an acknowledgement of his research in Education Law. In 2005 he was accredited by the National Research Foundation as an established researcher.

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