Why are students becoming more undisciplined in modern times?Modern day students are more digitally informed and tech savvy. Therfore they have developed the art of asking why? They feel that they...

Why are students becoming more undisciplined in modern times?

Modern day students are more digitally informed and tech savvy. Therfore they have developed the art of asking why? They feel that they are very gifted and know too much. Besides, they feel irritated to be checked time and again.

Another factor promoting indiscipline is the lack of motivation in schools and colleges where their interest is not retained for the simple reason that new things are not happening. Thus, they resort to acts of indiscipline and at times are also part of vandalism.


Expert Answers
vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My own sense is that students -- and young people in general -- are indeed less disciplined than they once were.  This is the sense I get from talking to teachers, who often seem very unhappy because of the lack of discipline in public schools.  I thought I'd briefly look around on the web and see what sort of information I could find.  Here are a few relevant sites:



The chart on page 8 here is especially interesting:




This is a bit out of date, but the statistics are still alarming:


These are scholarly studies:


ophelious eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Your question assumes that kids are more undisciplined than they used.  This may ore may not be true.  To say, I'd have to know what you mean by "undisciplined" in the first place and what evidence there is to show things degenerating.  I know that there is a perception, but we would need to see data.

Whether or not it's true, one big difference seems to be in student retention. During the 50's-80's, it seems like there were more options for kids who wanted out of school.  Badly behaved kids were shoved out of the nest and into the world work of manufacturing.  Now, no such opportunities exist.  Many of the students who otherwise would have left for the local auto-plant are now fighting their way through 11th grade English.

Of course, I see the irony of asking for evidence proving lack of discipline while making my own, unsubstantiated observation : )

Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with this, and I think that the ease of acquiring information is part of the problem.  This is a form of instant gratification, which is not very good for any of us.  There is something better for our brains and our characters about having to work for results.

I also think that there has been, for the past several years, a movement to promote the self-esteem of our children, and the way this has manifested has been a dreadful mistake.  Certainly, we should love and praise our children.  But self-esteem can only be based upon accomplishment.  It cannot be based upon one's mere being.  I don't think it works to think, "I exist. Therefore I am a wonderful person."  Parents and teachers should use praise when a child has accomplished something.  This helps lead to self-discipline and self-esteem.

pacorz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't think students are any more undisciplined that they were in the past; some of what you are pointing out is just normal adolescent behavior. Virtually all teenagers think they are smarter than everybody else, and dislike being checked on - who does like that? As for motivation, I don't think that's changed much either...teenagers think they are immortal, so they feel like they will have plenty of time to get to the not-exciting parts of life later.

The big difference I see is in how the adults around these kids react; in the modern world, many parents are either indulgent or indifferent, to the point where parents who do react to "typical" teen behavior are criticized as being overly harsh.


lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would point to weak parenting by "undisciplined" adults and weak teaching by "undisciplined" teachers.  I may sound like a complete old fogey here, but I never cease to be amazed by the laziness of some of my younger (and older) colleagues.  If the teacher takes a month to grade the essays, how is that modeling hard work and time-management to the students?  We have a strict no phones policy in our school, but teachers are forever just checking-in with their phones during passing periods -- in full view of students.  Parents spend more time on their phones than actually watching and cheering their child on at most sports practices I attend.  How is that teaching children to stay focused and live in the moment?

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A good place to start is to consider if students are actually more undisciplined or if this is just another example of the same old "kids didn't do this when I was young" syndrome that assumes that civilisation has been one long downward slide since history began. I am torn both ways. On the one hand, I do sense that there is much more disrespect for authority nowadays than there ever was, but at the same time I remind myself that teenagers often identify themselves against the authority that they are under, so that makes me think whether this is a new trend or just a continuation of an age-old situation.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Every generation has been said to be out of control, less respectful, etc.  This was true when I was in high school in the early to mid 1980s and it's true now.  So I take this all with a big grain of salt.

If there is less discipline, it is because people are less deferntial to authority in general in the US.  People no longer assume that the teacher is right simply because they are the teacher.  Instead, they are more likely to side with their child against the teacher, making it harder for teachers to discipline.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with all of the posts in stating that students are simply less disciplined than they have been in the past. I cannot tell anyone how many times I have set a deadline only to hear excuse after excuse as to why it has not been completed.

I don't feel as if they are too busy (the main excuse I hear). Instead, I simply think that they have not made discipline an important aspect in their lives.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I think you are on to something, in that everything is easy these days. You have easy access to information, and a gadget to perform every task for you. This can lead young people to become complacent, and not see why they should memorize information or learn how to do things by hand. Of course, what they really need to learn is how to USE information, and how to be productive with gadgets.