STRATEGIES FOR CURBING MALADJUSTMENT BEHAVIOUR IN PUBLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL PUPILS IN OGOJA EDUCATION AUTHORITY OF CROSS RIVER STATE

STRATEGIES FOR CURBING MALADJUSTMENT BEHAVIOUR IN PUBLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL PUPILS IN OGOJA EDUCATION AUTHORITY OF CROSS RIVER STATE

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

Primary schools are established with the aim of producing pupils who are worthy in character and learning. Pupils are expected to acquire knowledge, skills, experience and discipline that will help them sharpen their destiny and rebuild them from what they used to be to what they intend to become. Pupils at this level of education fall between the ages of 6 to 11 plus (NPE, 2004). This period is described as the childhood age period which has been christened by some psychologists as a period below the legal age of responsibility or accountability (Okobia & Ohen, 2006). Children like human beings are social in nature. They hardly live in isolation but prefer to live and interact with one another (Idowu & Yahaya, 2013).

The urge for a child to interact in school usually creates some challenges which need to be addressed especially in primary schools. A child is a person who is below the age of adulthood (Oke, 2009). In the context of this study therefore, a child is a person who is below the age of adulthood and is in the primary school.

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Primary school is education given to children from aged 6-12 years in schools. It is a transition into secondary schools. Primary school is education given in an educational institution for children aged 6 to 11 years plus (NPE, 2004). The author also noted that primary education is the pivot upon which the whole system of education revolves. The Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004:14) highlighted the objectives of primary education as follows: Inculcating permanent literacy and numeracy, and ability to communicate effectively, laying of a sound basis for scientific and reflective thinking; giving citizenship education as a basis for effective participation in and contribution to the life of the society; moulding the character and developing sound attitude and morals in the child; developing in the child the ability to adapt to his changing environment among others.

These objectives if vigorously pursued is expected to transform the child at the end of primary education to demonstrate decent and decorous conduct, respect for authority, high sense of responsibility, love for orderliness, eagerness to discharge duties among others (Peter & Felicia, 2013). However, when a child fails to discharge these characteristics, maladjustment behaviour is said to have occurred.


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Behaviour is considered unaccepted if it is uncommon, different from the norm and does not conform to what the society expects. The idea is also closely related to the statistical approach to definite abnormality which rest on the idea that differences in human behaviour tends to fall into a normal distribution curve (Nwankwo, 2006). A particular behaviour is not acceptable if any of these three criteria are seen, if the behaviour does not allow a person to function effectively, if the behaviour does not permit the person to meet his or her own needs and if the behaviour has negative effect in the wellbeing of others (Robert, 2008). A behaviour according to Onwuasoanya, (2006) is a particular way an individual react to situation. This particular way could be good or bad. Behaviour in schools are as a result of lack of home training, which may result to dishonesty, drug abuse, truancy, bullying, noise making, abusive language among others (Okorie, 2005). When a child exhibits the above behaviour, it is usually as a result of maladjustment.

Children when exhibiting maladjusted behaviour in schools can cause pain to others with cruel and misconduct behaviour (Okorie, 2005). This has negative impact on pupils causing disruption in their academic activities, like failure to do home


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work, class work, poor performance in test and lack of concentration when lesson is going on. Behaviour in the context of this work therefore, is a particular way primary school pupils react to situation. When the reaction is positive it is said be a good behaviour and it is termed desirable or well adjusted but in the contrary it is termed maladjustment.

Maladjustment appears more frequently demonstrated among primary school pupils probably because teachers no longer care for them. Blair, (2010) noted that one out of every three primary school pupil is maladjusted in one way or the other. It has also been estimated that 12 percent of the world’s primary school going children are so emotionally upset as to require the services of educational psychologists, sociologists or guidance and counselling (Mutekwe & Mutekwe, 2013). The authors also noted that not all maladjusted pupils create disciplinary problems for the teacher. Some of the pupils who are maladjusted do not necessarily attract much attention in the school and classroom.

Though maladjustment behaviour may be difficult to define due to the differences in cultural standards as every culture has its accepted behavioural patterns and norms. However,


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maladjustment behaviour can be explained to mean a shift away from age long appropriate behaviour which significantly affects individual growth and societal development (Ughamadu & Enueme, 2002). That is, any behaviour tagged maladaptive runs contrary to generally accepted pattern of behaviour for the age and environment of the individual and this behaviour negatively affects him and other persons around. Maladjustment according to Asogwara (2009) is one who is poorly adapted to his environment that include his home, friends, family, society, and the people he mixes around with because of physical (sometimes of physical handicap) or psychological reasons. This mentioned reasons hindered the children to adjust properly in any given situation and to have or establish normal relationship. Maladjustment according to Wright (2008) is defined as an inability to adjust to the demands of interpersonal relationships and the stresses of daily living. This implies that maladjustment is the inability to react successfully and satisfactorily to the demands of one’s environment. Maladjustment in the context of this study therefore is the inability of primary school pupils to react successfully and satisfactorily to the demands of their


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environment. This ugly situation require managing strategies to mitigate pupils’ maladjustment problems.

Managing strategies are necessary and essential to curb the maladjustment behaviour of public primary school pupils. Suggestion from participants in a study on managing strategies in terms of intervention revealed that, because more often than not, some of the pupils who are extremely maladjusted in several ways often find themselves bewildered, frustrated, and discouraged in regular classes which are designed for levels too high for them, the use of strategies might be worthwhile option to mitigate the effects of pupils maladjustment problems (Mutekwe & Mutekwe, 2013).

Maladjustment behaviours to be addressed in primary schools, strategies are therefore important. Strategy is define as a carefully devised, plan of action to achieve a goal (Sinclair, 2006). It is a plan of action intended to accomplish a specific goal (Leo, 2012). The author went further to define strategy as the art of using similar techniques in achieving a particular goal. As an operational definition in this study, strategy refers to a carefully devised plan of actions to curb maladjustment behaviour in public primary schools.


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Experts in various field of study have formulated strategies to prevent or rather reduce the instances of maladjustment behaviours. According to Mutekwe & Mutekwe (2013), the strategies that can be used in curbing maladjustment behaviours include; the use of remedial classes, creating an enabling learning environment, and the use of psychodrama counselling. However, some strategies that can be used to manage adolescents’ maladaptive behaviour in schools according to Ajayi

(2008) among others include the following: counselling/counselling curriculum in schools, reinforcement, counselling adolescents in moral values. Other strategies that can be adopted in curbing maladaptive behaviour include indirect manipulation of environment to altar specific aspects of students’ behaviour and use of influence, personnel involved in the management of adolescent maladaptive behaviour in school (Peter & Felicia, 2013). Curbing pupils’ maladaptive behaviour in primary schools requires a cooperative attitude of all stakeholders in the education industry if tangible results are to be achieved.

In public primary schools in Ogoja Education Authority, it appears maladjustment behaviour among pupils are on the


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increase. This is because, according to Eze (2009), pupils in public primary schools more frequently disobey the teachers, violate the school rules and regulations, bully their fellow pupils steals, make noise, render abusive words on other, late coming and failure to do home work. These children have deviated from the norms and are looked upon as exhibiting maladjusted behaviour which needs to be handled appropriately in order to maintain the standard of education for the children and the society at large. In support of the above statement, Eze (2009) noted that, violence has become increasingly the greatest occupational hazard of the teaching profession in recent times and hardly a week passes without news of pupils’ unrest resulting in an unwanted destruction of school properties. The author further noted that as a result of maladaptive behaviour, pupils eat their class mates’ lunch and injure their class mates at will. Agreeing to this, Bronner (2010) posit that the existence of undesirable behaviour has contributed to the allegation and belief that the standard of education is falling.

Previous efforts and programmes for correcting these behavioural problems may be defective in inculcating expected desirable behaviour probably because the needed strategies to


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curb the menace are lacking. It is based on this background that the researcher sought to determine the strategies for curbing maladjustment behaviour in public primary schools in Ogoja Education Authority of Cross River State.

Statement of the Problems

Available literature and observation point to the fact that maladjustment behaviour among primary school pupils are on the increase. This is because pupils in public primary schools more frequently disobey their teachers, violate the school rules and regulations, and bully their fellow pupils steal, its their mates launch, render abusive words on others, come late to school, they look dirty, failure to do home work, coming to school in an unrecommended school uniform to mention but few. These children have deviated from the norms and are looked upon as exhibiting maladjusted behaviour. If this is true of Cross River State, could this maladjusted behaviour have arisen due to lack of strategies for curbing the undesirable behaviours?

The researcher seems worried that if appropriate measure is not taken, it will affect the national development and the development of Cross River State in particular. Thus, if the strategies for curbing maladjustment behaviours are not


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employed, the future of the nation will be jeopardize. It is against this back-drop that the present study sought to investigate the strategies for curbing maladjustment behaviour in public primary schools pupils in Ogoja Education Authority of Cross River State.

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to determine the strategies for curbing maladjustment behaviour in public primary schools pupils in Ogoja Education Authority of Cross River State. Specifically, the study sought to investigate:-

1.   The extent reinforcement can curb maladjustment behaviour in public primary schools pupils.

2.   The extent the use of remedial classes can curb maladjustment behaviour in public primary schools pupils.

3.   The extent creating enabling learning environment can curb maladjustment behaviour in public primary schools pupils.

4.     The  extent  psychodrama  can  curb  maladjustment

behaviour in public primary schools pupils.

Significance of the Study

The result of this study will have both theoretical and practical significance. Theoretically, the findings of the study will


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provide data that may be useful for clear understanding of Rational Emotive theory, Social learning theory and behavioural counselling theory. It is expected that the findings will help to explicate the functions of the theoretical postulations of rational emotive theory. The rational emotive theory is relevance in this study because, it is based on central ideas that emotional reactions are basically caused by the way individuals interpret life events. The social learning theory is of great relevance to this study in the sense that this theory posits that human behaviour is, in general, a function of the person plus the environment. Behavioural counselling theory is also of great relevance because, the theory is of the view that human behaviour can be changed through counselling.

Practically, the findings of this will be beneficial to primary school teachers, the pupils, parents and the entire society. A study of this nature can serve as a guide, a source of insight and understanding to primary school teachers and pupils who will certainly face the crucial future task of life performance but also the challenges of adjustment to real life situation. By unraveling the strategies for curbing maladjustment behaviour, the study will help to prepare their minds on the intricacy and reality of life


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so that by taking precautional measures, they will not fall victims of the ugly incidence of maladjustment behaviour. The study is therefore significant as these teachers and primary school pupils will be better positioned to strike a balance between their expectations and desired behaviours. The study will also be gainful to parents. Revelations on the strategies for curbing maladjustment behaviour made in this study will help parents to adopt the strategies for the progress of their children for future growth.

The findings of this study when documented and published will be of immense benefit to the society at large. The children are the future leaders’, when they learn the appropriate strategies for curbing maladjustment behaviours, the society will become sanitized and free from most antisocial behaviours and thereby improving the economics, social and moral tones of the society which will result in an increase in the number of happier and more productive citizens.

Finally, the findings of this study when documented and published will add to the stock of existing knowledge in the area of strategies for curbing maladjustment behaviours which will be


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disseminated through workshops, journals, conferences and internet postings.

Scope of the Study

The study focused on the strategies for curbing maladjustment behaviours in public primary schools pupils in Ogoja Education Authority of Cross River State. The study also focused on the concepts of primary education, a child, behaviour, maladjustment and the strategies for curbing maladjustment behaviour. The area covered in this study was Ogoja Education Authority of Cross Rivers State.

Research Questions

The following four research questions will guide the study.

1.   To what extent does reinforcement curb maladj


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