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SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT AND STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN SOCIAL STUDIES IN JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN IBESIKPO ASUTAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA
1.1 Background of the study
Social studies is an integrated subject connected with all aspects of human beings to enable them live a fulfilled and comfortable life. It is a study of people in relation to social, economic, cultural, physical and psychological lives. It has to do with all round development of human beings to enable them become useful citizens in the society. To Kochhar (2012), Social Studies concerns portions of the Social sciences selected for instructional purposes applied to include anything pertinent to the immediate purpose of learning and adapted to the level of comprehension of the student.
Presently, the performances of social studies students in public examinations have been very poor and worrisome to the stakeholders in education (Ali, 2006). Many reasons have been advanced for this state of affairs. Some blame the poor performances on non-challant attitude of the students towards education in general and social studies in particular; others attribute the blame on the teachers, home environment and governments respectively. The researcher intends to verify the place of school environment in students’ academic performance in social studies.
School environment is one of the major factors that influence the academic performance of the students. The nature of school environment where learning takes place determines to a large extent the performance of students. A school does not exist in a vacuum; to this end academic performance and environment are inseparable. A healthy and attractive school environment makes for effective learning and promotes students pride in their schools and their interest to stay in the school (Mgbodile 2004). School environment consists of both material and non-material resources in the school. The school environment includes the classrooms, libraries, technical workshops; laboratories, school management etc are variables that affect students’ performance in secondary schools. The extent to which academic performance can be enhanced depends on the effective administration of the school compound, the structure of their classroom, availability of instructional facilities, quality teachers and many others. Ajayi (2001) opined that a well planned school will stimulate expected outcomes of education and will facilitate good social and economic emancipation, effective teaching-learning process and academic performance of the students. The school environment needs standard library for the students.
School libraries in the educational institutions such as secondary schools are important to the live-wire and foundational up-bringing of children. This is because libraries primarily stock materials that are of interest and developmental growth for young, teenagers and youths of the era Rasaq (2000) and Edeghere (2001). However such collections of materials, to an extent make provisions for teachers, whereas the services are mainly aimed at students in the schools. School libraries are known as learning laboratory for the school. They provide the total learning package required by the students and their teachers. Okpa-Iroha (2005) said that a school library is a collection of a wide variety of library materials and resources housed in each school, centrally organized by staff, professionally prepared to offer services to students and teachers that will enrich and support the educational enterprises. This means that, a school library assists and supports the educational programme of the schools by storing instructional materials for use in teaching and learning (Ifidon, 2006).
Instructional materials are the different teaching resources and apparatus which a classroom teacher employs to facilitate his or her teaching for the achievement of the stated objective. Agun (2002) defined instructional materials as those materials which are helpful to the teachers and students and which maximize the learning in various areas. The use of instructional materials in the teaching of social studies is very important because it provides a concrete basis for conceptual thinking, motivates the people to learn and capture the students’ imagination if used correctly (Ajalla, 2007). Effective teaching of any subject will not only stimulates students’ interest in the subject but also enhance their achievement in the examination. To achieve effective teaching and learning process, there is the need for use of instructional materials.
School location is where a school is situated. A school could be located in the urban or rural area. The location of the school whether urban or rural affect the teacher’s teaching ability as well as student’s ability to study and perform at the expected level. Mkpugbe (2008) noted that different aspects of school environment (rural and urban) influence the students’ academic performance. Anam (2003) on influence of school location on teachers discipline showed that urban teachers were more prone to truancy and higher absentee tendency than their counterparts in rural areas. Similarly, Frame (2000) concluded that school location had significant effect on the philosophy, tradition, perspective, discipline and performance of teachers.
Classroom management procedures assume an indispensable part in upgrading learners' learning and performance. Classroom management involves the exercises to arrange and guide classes to accomplish particular objectives. To keep up a positive learning condition in the classroom is instructor obligation. A very much oversaw classroom offers a helpful domain for compelling instructing and learning. Classroom management includes an instructor's capacities to viably execute an administration approach, a classroom setting, principles, systems and schedules, instructional practices, educational modules and teach intercessions. Broomfield (2006) considered that learning and utilizing classroom management techniques are of awesome significance for instructors. Martin and Sass (2010) considered classroom management an umbrella term for instructors' activities to oversee class, understudies' conduct and their learning. Ormrod (2003) trusted that powerful classroom management contributes altogether to understudy learning and advancement.
Despite the immense benefits of school environment in relations to effective teaching, learning and good academic success, very little attention is given to this unique area. As such, the entire educational goal seems to be forfeited. The teacher’s lesson delivery has been ineffective as it is evidenced in the student’s poor academic performance in public examinations (Ogunu, 2000). It is upon this background that the researcher intends to conduct a study on the relationship between school environment and students’ performance in Social Studies in Junior Secondary Schools in Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Academic performance of students in Nigeria, on the average has witnessed a steady decline in recent times. Reflecting on the state of education in the country, it is regrettable that the present-day secondary school students, on the average, can no longer do what primary school pupils used to do in those days academic-wise. Poor performance of students may partly be attributed to poor school environment, ineffectiveness of teachers, among other factors. Mkpugbe (2008) observed that the school environment is not up to the standard required by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
The poor school environment is the type that is prevalent in most secondary schools today. Teachers’ offices are either non-existent or very poorly equipped. Many schools lack chairs for the teachers and students. Some schools are in such dilapidated condition that students feel ashamed of being associated with them. Teachers also have low morale, no job satisfaction and are therefore, not willing to put enough efforts to achieve the goals of education. The poor condition of service has made many teachers to drift away from the service. Schools in rural area are too impoverished of infrastructure such that teachers refuse their posting to such school environments. The few teachers that remain find it difficult to put in their best.
The problem of unsatisfactory condition of the educational infrastructure within the school environment is yet another case in point altogether. The establishment of government rural and urban schools has resulted in a situation whereby some schools are favoured at the expense of the others. It is very difficult if not impossible for government to standardize the school environment. Thus the environment varies from school to school.
It is worth knowing that poor teaching experience, inadequate or poor physical infrastructure, dilapidated buildings are likely to cause some physical discomfort for the students, and are therefore bound to influence their academic performance. Therefore, this study is undertaking to assess the relationship between of school environment and students’ academic performance in Social Studies in Junior Secondary Schools in Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area