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A case study of principals leadership roles in addressing learner indiscipline in four secondary schools in the uMgungundlovu District.

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The study explores the common and reoccurring phenomenon of learner indiscipline in secondary schools, specifically the principals’ role in addressing learner indiscipline from a leadership perspective. Principals are school leaders with versatile leadership styles that influence how they address learner indiscipline. Discipline refers to the ability of humans to act appropriately, at the right time and under the right circumstances. Learning needs to take place in a safe and conducive environment. Schools are considered to ‘produce’ well-rounded learners in society. Moreover, some laws and policies are in place to protect learners and aim to create disciplined citizens. Nonetheless, indiscipline is still an area of concern for principals. The interpretive research paradigm suits this study while being qualitative. This study’s research design is a case study and has a qualitative approach. Four participants had been a purposive sampling of secondary school principals in the uMgungundlovu District, an area where several cases of violence had been documented. Data was generated from face-to-face semi-structured interviews, which were thereafter analysed through an inductive approach. For the case of this study, the theoretical framework is the Response to Intervention and Instruction model (RTII) and Responsive classroom intertwined with the School Wide Positive Behaviour Interventions and Support (SWPBIS) model. Findings suggest that principals must aim to increase parental involvement and utilise tools like the SGB and school code of conduct. Principals are encouraged to acknowledge and implement certain leadership styles, which align with the notions of bringing about self-disciplined learners who will emerge as well-rounded citizens. Discipline remains the essential element of any learner because learner indiscipline disrupts learner academics. Numerous scholars accentuate that principals are responsible for performing inter-changeable functions; addressing learner indiscipline is two-fold as the study indicates, principals must create self-orderly learners, by using preventative measures, resulting in schools achieving the objectives of the school, one of which being academic success.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.