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Exploring Changes in High School Rules and Student Disciplinary System from a Historical Institutionalism Perspective
student disciplinary system
Political transition in Taiwan has brought opportunities for democratization in education; however, problems that have been long-suppressed in schools and newly created problems have also emerged. Today, the power of “authoritarian education” has not disappeared in Taiwan’s school education system because of democratization. But as education laws changed and policies are revised and reformed, students have received basic education rights, and the power structure between students and teachers have changed. The setting and implementation of school rules has also been affected, which consequently affects the disciplinary strategy taken by education personnel. Endless controversies have revolved around student discipline in Taiwan schools, and related studies generally focus on one single policy or case. Thus, these studies cannot interpret the formation and change of the disciplinary system when the education structure change, especially regarding the banning of corporal punishment and determining whether disciplinary method is democratic or conforms to the spirit of modern democratic education. In this study, we used historical institutionalism as the analytical path and historical research method to explore high school rules and the student discipline system, their development process, and the guiding principle behind these developments. In addition, we used semi-structured interview method to interview high school teachers in Taiwan, as well as analyzed the teachers’ cognitive templates. This paper also clarified the interaction between system, structure and actors to seek opportunities for schools to achieve real democracy. The results of this study show the following: 1. Taiwan’s historical context has a great impact on authoritarian school rules and the development of control and discipline system. 2. The inertia of the old discipline system offsets the changes in actors through positive reinforcement. 3. The 1994 education reform, introduction of zero corporal punishment into the Educational Fundamental Act in 2006, and newly added student rights and obligations section in the Senior High School Education Act in 2013 all reshaped the original system path and can be viewed as critical junctures. 4. Teachers as actors are affected by the system and culture. However, they also have autonomy in choosing strategy. 5. The time point for changes in school rules, the source of drive for the changes, and the philosophy of the teachers can affect the result of the reform. Based on research findings, some recommendations have been proposed at the end of this paper.
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