Environmental Influences And Social Studies Academic Performance Of Junior Secondary Students

Social Studies Project Topic

Environmental Influences And Social Studies Academic Performance Of Junior Secondary Students


Abstract


This study investigated the difference in students’ performance in social studies based on the variables of school location, parents’ occupation, parents’ income and social group. The research participants consisted of one hundred and fifty (150) Junior Secondary Three (JS 3) students randomly selected from eight (8) out of the ten (10) public secondary schools in Nsit Atai Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. The basic design of the research was ex-factor. Environmental Influence Questionnaire (EIQ) and Social Studies Achievement Test Scores (SSATS) were the two instruments used in obtaining data for the analysis four hypothesis were formulated to guide the study. Data that were collected were analysed using t-test statistics observed at 0.05 level of significance. The result of the findings indicated that environmental influence variable used in the study had no bearing on the students performance in social studies in Junior Secondary Schools. Based on the findings of this study, recommendations and suggestions for further research were made.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Education is the most important component of human resources development and is accorded a pride of place in many countries‟ developmental activities. There is no doubt that the importance of education cannot be underscored because there is no country that has succeeded without educating its people. Education according to Osokoya (2009) helps to improve security, health, prosperity and ecological balance in the world. It encourages social, economic and cultural progress, tolerance, national and international cooperation. Akomolafe (2009) describes education as a single most effective means of curbing population growth, reducing child mortality, eradicating poverty and ensuring democracy, peace and sustainable development.

Education is an instrument for the acquisition of appropriate skills, ability and competence both mental and physical also as equipment for individual to live and contribute to the development of his/her society (Lawal, 2003). Also, in the views of Usha (2007) it is the process of teaching and training of the child which has to do with imparting and acquisition of skills for a particular trade or profession in which applicable methods are used.
From what has been viewed as education by different authorities based on their own perceptions, we can say that education is a process by which an individual acquires physical and social capabilities demanded by the society in which he/she is born into in order to be useful to him/her and contribute to the development of the society at large.

The primary purpose of teaching and learning process is to bring about in the learner desirable change in behaviour through critical thinking. This process however, does not take place in vacuum but in an environment structured to facilitate learning. OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) (2009) described School Environment as a physical space that supports multiple and diverse teaching learning programmes including current technologies, one that demonstrates optimal, promotes effective performance and operation over time; one that respects and is in harmony with the environment; and one that encourages social participation, provide a healthy, comfortable, safe, secure and stimulating setting for its occupants.

Thus, School Environment has also been emphasized as an essential requirement for smooth teaching and learning process to take place (National Teachers‟ Institute, NTI 2008). This is because students‟ study habits are to a large extent tied to it. A good School Environment presents learning as a lifelong enterprise and enables students to discover appropriate value system that can betheir compass for self-awareness and national consciousness. The study conducted by Akhtar (2010) on public school in Islamabad Pakistan revealed that teaching through technology based School Environment enhanced the achievement level of the students.

However, it went further and stated in specific term that, secondary education shall provide all primary leavers with the opportunity for education of higher level irrespective of sex, social status, religious or ethnic background; offer diversified curriculum to cater for the differences in talents, opportunity and further roles; provide trained manpower in the applied science, technology and commerce at sub-professional grades; develop and promote Nigerian languages, arts and cultural heritage; inspire its students with a desire for self- improvement and achievement of excellence; foster national unity with an emphasis on the common ties that unite us in our diversity; rise a generation of people who can think for themselves, respect the views and feelings of others, respect the dignity of labour, appreciate those values specified under our broad national goals and live as god citizens and provide technical knowledge and vocational skills necessary for agriculture, industrial, commercial and economic development.

Finally, it is obvious that secondary education is important and necessary for the survival of individuals and the society at large. Broadly speaking, secondary education prepares individuals for useful living within the society and prepares the individuals for higher education.

Therefore, the researcher being a teacher, has been motivated to conduct this research on School Environment because of what is considered as deplorable conditions of the School Environment especially the physical aspects in spite of its unquantifiable roles in facilitating teachers‟ instructional delivery and students‟ academic performance. Thus, this study closely looked at the School Environment especially the physical facilities in Nsit Atai Local Government Area and seen its impact on the performance of students in social studies in junior secondary schools. However, for the purpose of this study, only the physical School Environment was considered.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

It has been observed in the recent past that secondary schools in Nigeria are not living up to expectation in delivering quality education expected of the system. A lot of problems seem to be bedevilling the secondary school system ranging from inadequate facilities, old and dilapidated structures, inadequate instructional materials and unqualified teachers there by making the system ineffective (Wanjobi, 2011). Schools need to be effective so as to be able to deliver the good things expected of them at every point in time. School effectiveness in this context refers to the extent to which schools are able to accomplish their pre-determined objectives. School effectiveness transcends beyond students passing examinations. It also encompasses students‟ attainmentin other domains of learning (the affective and the psychomotor domains) (Bandele, 2002). He further stated that, these other domains, apart from having influence on the cognitive achievement, also make the beneficiaries of the education system live a fulfilled life and contribute meaningfully to the development of the society.

However, it has indeed, been observed today that there is persistent poor performance of students in both internal and external examinations. Researchers such as Yusuf (2002) and Adeyemi (2008) have all shown in their various studies that the extent of poor performance of students in public examination has no doubt made parents lost confidence in the ability of the public schools to produce good products.

Experience has shown that there is a high rate of indiscipline in secondary schools. It has also been observed that lateness to school, absence from school, noise-making, quarrelling, rudeness to school authority, deliberate physical harm to others, forgery, cheating in examination and a host of others, are daily happenings in our secondary Schools. All these tend to make the schools ineffective. According to Oladele (2003) the evidence of students‟ moral paucity are more conspicuously seen as high crime in the society and that of the institutions of learning. He further posited that the root cause of these morallaxities translating in higher crime waves is traceable to the non-teaching of ethics, when the students are at the primary schools.

Adewuyi (2002) submitted that conducive School Environment can have effect on both the attitudes and achievement of students. He further added that a positive School Environment is found to be a very important factor of school effectiveness. Therefore, it is against this background information that the researcher examined the influence of School Environment on the Performance of Students in social studies in junior Secondary Schools in Nsit Atai Local Government Area.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The following are the objectives of the study:

  1. Determine the impact of classroom building on the performance of students in junior secondary schools in Nsit Atai Local Government Area.
  2. Determine the impact of adequate class furniture on the performance of students in junior secondary schools in Nsit Atai Local Government Area.
  3. Ascertain the impact of small class population on the performance of students in junior secondary schools in Akwa-ibom State.
  4. Ascertain the impact of the use of instructional materials on the performance of students in junior secondary schools in Nsit Atai Local Government Area.

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions are raised with regard to this research:

  1. What is the impact of classroom building on the performance of students in junior secondary schools in Nsit Atai Local Government Area?
  2. What is the impact of the provision of adequate class furniture on the performance of students in junior secondary schools in Nsit Atai Local Government Area?
  3. What is the impact of small class population on the performance of students in junior secondary schools in Nsit Atai Local Government Area?
  4. What is the impact of the use of instructional materials on the performance of students in junior secondary schools in Nsit Atai Local Government Area?

1.5 Significance of the Study

Over the years, environment of Nigerian secondary schools have suffered neglect in consideration of issues of renovating dilapidated classrooms, construction of new classroom buildings and provisions of other necessary facilities. This is obvious in the way that students in some secondary schools are learning in dilapidated classrooms or under the tress with little or no seats, no instructional facilities with unqualified teachers among others. Therefore, this study will be of great importance in providing relevant information that can be used by government at whatever level (federal, state and local) who is seen as the principal actor in terms of educational development in the society to provide adequate facilities and maintenance strategies in secondary schools. Secondly, findings of this study will be of relevance to students because it will provide insight into the problems whose solutions might help in taking specific actions which will efficiently and effectively address the poor performance of students as a result of poor nature of our secondary schools in Nigeria today.

Again, findings of this study are of relevant to teachers who are the principal agents of curriculum implementation because it provides recommendations that would help them to make appropriate utilization of School Environment to create conducive atmosphere that would enhance effective teaching and learning. It is a fact that people work better in places where they feel comfortable and it is believed that the results of this work offered recommendations on how to better up poor conditions of schools thereby creating enabling environment for teachers‟ job satisfaction which no doubt will have positive effect on students‟ learning outcome. The work is of great advantage to non-governmental organization such as United Nation Children and Education Fund (UNICEF), United Nation Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and other related agencies to see the poor conditions of secondary schools in Nigeria and intervene where necessary.

Also, in a situation where government has been incurring a lot of expenditure in her budget in order to enhance educational programmes for individual and national development and for the attainment of educational goals in general. But, only to discover that her efforts have not been yielding the desired results. This kind of situation is usually not a healthy one hence calls for immediate solutions of which the results of these findings might be of help to government to compare its allocation of resources to education and what is obtainable in reality and adjust where necessary.

The work made recommendations that would help school heads (principals) on how to maintain facilities of School Environment appropriately in order to create enabling and friendly environment for the purpose of enhancing learning process and realization of educational objectives. The study also added to the body of literature on School Environment and students‟ academic performance which would serve as a source of reference for people who will conduct research in related areas.


1.6 Scope of the Study

The study was conducted to examine the influence of School Environment on the performance of students in social studies in junior secondary schools in Nsit Atai Local Government Area.


Chapter Five


Conclusions and Recommendation

5.1 Conclusion

This study has shown a positive and significant relationship between the physical characteristics of the school such as classroom buildings, furniture, instructional facilities and students‟ academic performance in junior secondary schools in Nsit Atai Local Government Area. This is an indication that these facilities in secondary schools should be a prime concern of the education stakeholders in the state and the nation in general. However, the extent to which students‟ learning could be enhanced depends on the structure of their classroom, availability of the classrooms, instructional facilities and accessories. It is believed that conducive School Environment with available school facilities will gear up expected outcomes of education that will facilitate good social, political and economic emancipation, effective teaching and learning process as well as academic achievements of students.

Hence it has been established that facilities are potent to greater academic achievement of students. Therefore, it requires prompt attention on the part of the education stakeholders in Nsit Atai Local Government Area and the nation in order to improve the poor condition of School Environment and academic situation of secondary schools from its present state. Moreover, there are some facilities that can be improvised by the teachers in order to facilitate teaching and learning, hence such facilities should be improvised by the teachers.


5.2 Recommendations

Based on the conclusion drawn, the following recommendations were made:

  1. Government and other education stakeholders should make concerted efforts to provide adequate classroom building and renovate the existing dilapidated structures in public secondary schools. This would help to reduce the problem of school overcrowding and it would go a long way to create enabling teaching and School Environment.
  2. Education stakeholders should endeavour to provide adequate class furniture (chairs and lockers or desk) in public secondary schools and students should be oriented on how to maintain these facilities because most a time‟s students destroy these facilities by themselves.
  3. Small class population should be maintained in public secondary schools and the population of students admitted into public schools should depend on the available space and facilities. Because, there is need to make the number of students to be taught in the class to be moderate, so that the teacher would be able to manage the class effectively and give individual attention to students where necessary.
  4. Adequate instructional materials should be made available in public secondary schools and teachers should be encouraged to be using instructional materials in the course of presenting their lessons and they should be made to update their knowledge and skills in improvisation of instructional materials through seminars, workshops and conferences organized by government and professional bodies.

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