American Journal of Educational Research
ISSN (Print): 2327-6126 ISSN (Online): 2327-6150 Website: Editor-in-chief: Ratko Pavlović
Open Access
Journal Browser
American Journal of Educational Research. 2018, 6(12), 1636-1645
DOI: 10.12691/education-6-12-8
Open AccessArticle

Teaching Social Skills as a Proactive Discipline Management Strategy: Experiences of Selected Secondary Schools in Bulawayo Metropolitan Province, Zimbabwe

Lwazi Sibanda1,

1Department of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, National University of Science and Technology, P. O. Box AC 939-Ascot-Bulawayo, Cnr. Gwanda Road/Cecil Avenue, Zimbabwe

Pub. Date: December 18, 2018

Cite this paper:
Lwazi Sibanda. Teaching Social Skills as a Proactive Discipline Management Strategy: Experiences of Selected Secondary Schools in Bulawayo Metropolitan Province, Zimbabwe. American Journal of Educational Research. 2018; 6(12):1636-1645. doi: 10.12691/education-6-12-8


The study examined how secondary schools use proactive teaching social skills strategy to maintain discipline among learners in Bulawayo Metropolitan Province. The study was ingrained in interpretive paradigm, adopted qualitative approach and employed a case study design. Purposive sampling technique was used to select four secondary schools and participants who comprised two education officers, four school heads; four school counsellors, twenty members of the disciplinary committee, forty prefects and four school development committee chairpersons. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews and focus group interviews, and were analysed thematically. The study established that learners were taught social skills during guidance and counselling lessons and club sessions which were part of the co-curricular programmes offered in schools. It was found that the topics taught during the teaching of social skills included conduct, relationships, community involvement; decision-making skills, communication skills, drug and substance abuse, career guidance, stress management, honesty and integrity, conflict resolution, assertiveness, self-awareness and health issues, among others. The study also revealed that some learners were engaged in community activities to reach out to underprivileged members of the society. The results further indicated that the teaching social skills strategy was effective because it taught learners to be responsible for their behaviour and contributed to the reduction of unbecoming behaviour cases in schools. Nevertheless, the teaching social skills strategy faced constraints mainly from some teachers¡¯ and parents¡¯ negative attitudes towards social skills activities. The study concluded that the use of proactive teaching social skills strategy yielded positive results as schools exposed learners to multiple activities that contributed to the modification of learner behaviour which created a safe teaching and learning environment. The study recommended that schools should intensify the training programmes for teachers and parents to positively influence their attitudes towards the teaching of social skills in order to reinforce positive behaviour among learners.

discipline management proactive secondary schools strategy teaching social skills

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


[1]  Anderson, E. A. The effectiveness of a proactive school-wide discipline plan on office discipline referrals at the elementary school level. Unpublished doctoral thesis, Liberty University, Virginia, United States of America, 2009.
[2]  Sibanda, L. and Mpofu, M. Positive Discipline Practices in Schools: A Case of Mzilikazi District Secondary Schools in Zimbabwe. Journal of Educational and Social Research, 7(3). 117-125. September 2017.
[3]  Rahimi, M. and Karkami, F. H. The role of teachers' classroom discipline in their teaching effectiveness and students' language learning motivation and achievement: A path method. Iranian Journal of Language Teaching Research, 3(1). 57-82. January 2015.
[4]  Mlalazi, L., Rembe, S. & Shumba, J. Implementation of Guidance and Counselling as a Positive Discipline Management Strategy in Bulawayo Metropolitan Province Secondary Schools. Journal of Social Sciences, 47(3). 191-205. July 2016a.
[5]  Brunette, A. W. Proactive Approaches for Reducing School Suspensions. Unpublished master's dissertation, Northern Michigan University, Michigan, United States of America, 2010.
[6]  Putnam, R. F., Luiselli, J. K., Handler, M. W. and Jefferson, G. L. Evaluating Student Discipline Practices in a Public School through Behavioural Assessment of Office Referrals. Behaviour Modification, 27(4). 505-523. September 2003.
[7]  Maag, J. W. Rewarded by Punishment: Reflections on the Disuse of Positive Reinforcement in Schools. Exceptional Children, 67(2). 173-186. January 2001.
[8]  Ashworth, M. K. Teacher Training in a Proactive Classroom Management Approach for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 2014.
[9]  Lewis, K., Kaufman, J. and Christakis, N. The Taste for Privacy: An Analysis of College Student Privacy Settings in an Online Social Network. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 14(1). 79-100. November 2008.
[10]  Manitoba Education, Training and Youth. Discipline Strategies and Interventions. Towards Inclusion: From Challenges to Possibilities: Planning for Behaviour. Manitoba: Ministry of Education, 2001.
[11]  National Association of School Psychologists. Corporal Punishment, (Position Statement). Bethesda, MD: Author, 2006.
[12]  Ward, R. D. A study of Two Urban Middle Schools: Discipline Practices used to Control Disruptive Behaviour of Students. Unpublished doctoral thesis, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia, United States of America, (2007).
[13]  Skiba, R. J. and Peterson, R. L. (2000). School Discipline at Crossroads: From Zero Tolerance to Early Response. Exceptional Children, 66(3). 335-347. April 2000.
[14]  Welsh Government. Pupil Participation-Good Practice Guide, Llwodraeth Cymru, 2011.
[15]  Ontario Ministry of Education. Caring and Safe Schools in Ontario: Supporting Students with Special Education Needs through Progressive Discipline, Kindergarten to Grade 12, Ontario, Queen's Printer for Ontario, 2010.
[16]  Henley, M. Introduction to Proactive Classroom Management, 2nd Ed, Pearson, Westfield, 2010.
[17]  Bear, G. Discipline: Effective School Practices, Bethesda, MD, National Association of Psychologists, 2010.
[18]  National Association of School Psychologists. Fair and Effective Discipline for All Students: Best Practice Strategies for Educators, 2002.
[19]  Gagnon, J. C., and Leone, P. E. Alternative strategies for school violence prevention. New Directions for Youth Development, 92. 101-125. 2001.
[20]  Mathe, K. S. J. Discipline, Safety and Security in Schools: A challenge for School Management. Unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2008.
[21]  UNESCO. Mapping Cultural Diversity: Good Practices from Around the Globe. A contribution to the Debate of the Implementation of the UNESCO Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, 2010.
[22]  Ministry of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture. Secretary's Policy Circular Number P 35 of 1999, 1999.
[23]  Nhambura, F. C. Spanking: How far can it go? The Chronicle, 4. July 2011.
[24]  Mlalazi, L., Rembe, S. and Shumba, J. Implementation of Code of Conduct as a Positive Discipline Management Strategy in Bulawayo Metropolitan Province Secondary Schools. International Journal of Education Sciences, 15(3). 444-460. December 2016b.
[25]  Edirisingha, P. Research Paradigms and Approaches: Interpretivism and Positivism (Ontological and Epistemological Perspectives), 2012. Available:
[26]  Denzin, N. K., and Lincoln, Y. S. The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research, New Delhi, Sage, 2011.
[27]  Yin, R. K. Case Study Research. Design and Methods Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, 4th Ed, 2009.
[28]  Kumar, R. Research Methodology: a step-by-step guide for beginners, 3rd Ed, London, SAGE Publications Ltd, 2011.
[29]  Tracy, S. J. Qualitative quality eight "big-tent" criteria for excellent qualitative research. Qualitative inquiry, 16(10). 837-851. October 2010.
[30]  National Association of School Psychologists. School violence prevention, (Position Statement), Bethesda, MD, Author 2014b.
[31]  Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. School Connectedness: Strategies for Increasing Protective Factors Among Youth, Atlanta, GA, US Department of Health and Human Services, 2009.
[32]  McKevitt, B. C., Dempsey, J. N., Ternus, J., and Shriver, M. D. Dealing with behaviour problems: The use of positive behaviour support strategies in summer programmes, Afterschool Matters, (15). 16-25. 2012.