INFLUENCE OF CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENT ON STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN SOCIAL STUDIES IN OSHODI LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF LAGOS STATE
1.1 Background to the Study
A large amount of a child’s time is spent sitting in a school classroom. This place is where they will learn the various skills deemed necessary and proper for them to achieve success in the global society. The classroom is where they will gain an understanding of their place in the world and the gifts that they have to offer it. It is where the student develops what they want their future to look like, as well as knowledge of the skills needed to reach that goal. With the classroom being such an important place in the growth of a child it is important to understand the ways in which to affect this environment in order to receive maximum effectiveness in instruction. If schools really do play a large role in teaching the next generation how to be successful members of society then every precaution should be taken to make sure that the learning environment is one that helps students thrive.
If not approached correctly, a classroom can be set up in a way that stifles creativity or does not promote a positive learning environment. There are many things that can affect this environment. There are physical elements such as wall art, arrangement of desks, or resources. Also, there are intangible elements such as the energy of the classroom, the rules, or the sounds within the room. Each of these can impact a student’s focus and achievement in the class. They can also affect a teacher’s attitude in the class. Included in each of these elements of the classroom is the emotional environment. The way in which a teacher organizes their class, or how they control it, will yield positive or negative consequences for their students. If a teacher is unmotivated or negative there will be a direct impact on the students within the classroom. Similarly, if a teacher is motivated and positive they will likely have a beneficial impact on their students as well. It is important for a teacher to understand this cause and effect in order to understand how to organize their classroom to create a better learning environment. In this paper, I will investigate several classroom adaptations and argue that their strengths outweigh their weaknesses. Osokoya (2009)
The standard for many classrooms today is to have desks aligned in rows within the classroom. This system of arrangement seems to make students lose focus and creates a higher
number of disruptions in the classroom Steve (2013). This structure does not encourage interaction between students and focuses more on the student as an individual completing their own work. Humans are social creatures that want attention, and if they aren’t going to be able to get it from their classmates then they will commonly act out to get attention from their teacher.
One of the first areas that make a noticeable impact on student success is the physical environment of the classroom. This can pertain to a variety of details. It can be structure, resources, color. All of these can play a role in determining whether the classroom will be conducive for learning. Each may not have a large effect individually, however together they can work to strengthen a student’s ability to learn.
When a student first steps into a room they will make a judgment about the type of class they are going to be taking. They will look to see how desks are arranged. They will notice what is hanging on the walls. The way in which a teacher sets up their class allows them to communicate with their students non-verbally. By adding various learning centers or activity centers the students will know that this is a classroom that likes to do hands-on experiments. It also conveys that they will not just sit and take notes, but they will act out what ever subject they are learning. The wall art will demonstrate to the student that the teacher cares about their work enough to show it off. Students will also gain an understanding of the social expectations of the teacher in the classroom based on how the desks are organized. Each of these tools can be used in any classroom regardless of the content
Thus, learning 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 learning environment presents learning as a lifelong enterprise and enables students to discover appropriate value system that can be their 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 learning environment enhanced the achievement level of the students.
However, the societal expectation of quality outputs from the training institution makes students the primary focus of attention in any instructional programme, and the better the learning environment (school), the better it can meet the goals of education and the society in general. Such goals include equipping students with desirable skills, knowledge and attitudes that will enable them to work and live in the society of knowledge (National Policy on Education, 2004). Teachers are expected to make teaching the learners‟ cantered and create enabling environment for students to interact with learning materials in order to concretize their knowledge and skills so that they can become self-confident and self-reliant, and contribute meaningfully to the socio-economic development of the society.
There is a general believe that the condition of school‟s learning environment including infrastructure has an important impact on teachers‟ effectiveness and students‟ academic performance in social studies. The facilities that are needed to facilitate effective teaching and learning in an educational institution include the classrooms, offices, laboratories, conveniences and other buildings as well as furniture items and sporting equipment. Comfortable classroom temperature and smaller classes enhance teachers‟ effectiveness and provide opportunities for students to receive more individual attention, ask more questions, participate more fully in discussions, reduce discipline problems and perform better than students in schools with substandard buildings by several percentage points (Earthen, 2002). According to Mitchell (2008) the environment in which you study can have a big effect on how efficient your study time is. He identified noise, interruptions, lighting, temperature, neatness, comfort, instructional materials, facilities such buildings and equipment to have potential effect on study habits.
However, to determine performance of students in any of the subjects offered in junior secondary schools, a performance test is to be conducted. Singer (2001) described performance test as the type of mental test in which the subject is asked to do something rather than to say something. Again, Drever (2002) mentioned that performance test is the type of test which throws light on the ability to deal with things rather than symbols. Then, for academic performance of students in social studies , it can be regarded as the observable and measurable behaviour of a student in a particular situation. For example, the academic performance of a student in social studies includes observable and measurable behaviour of student at any point in time during a course. In social studies academic performance consists of individual scores at any particular time obtained from either a teacher-made test or a standardized test. This statement is synonymous to the views of Simpson and Weiner (2009) who described academic performance as the observable and measureable behaviour of a person and animal in a particular situation usually experimental situation. According to Bruce and Neville (2005) academic performance measures the aspect of behaviour that can be observed at a specific period. This can be obtained with the use of either teacher-made test or standardized achievement test developed for school subjects.
Statement of the Problem
The influence of classroom environment on academic performance of students in social studies within Oshodi local government were noted by the researcher. Due to lack of necessary facilities in school environment, classes were conducted under very difficult circumstances for both the children and the teachers. It is a reality that there are many other schools carrying out learning under such difficult situations which affect negatively the performance of their students.
The lack of conducive classroom learning environment in the majority of school institutions continues to hinder proper achievement of quality education for all students. There is no better illustration of the problem than what the Standard Newspaper (February 10, 2012) reported, showing lots of children learning basically in torn tents and in the open with a teacher teaching with a child strapped on her back. Teaching of young children lays a strong foundation of the concepts and skills on which future learning and operations are built. Teaching children help them to make sense of their world outside school as well as helping them construct a solid foundation for later success in school work (Mwangi, 2009).
Hence, the need to look deeper into the effect of classroom environment through research work with the aim of coming up with recommendations for the way forward in improving learning in secondary schools .
Objectives of the Study
The major objective of this studies is to determine the influence of classroom environment on students academic performance social studies in Oshodi Local government area of lagos state
The specific objective are;
- To examine the relationship between classroom environment and the student academic performance
- To examine the impact of school facilities on the academic performance of students in the secondary school
- To explore factors such as class size that have been perceived to promote or inhibit students learning in the academic process of students in secondary school
- To investigate the extent to which school location affects the academic achievement of secondary school students.
- Is there any relationship between classroom environment and the student academic performance?
- To what extent do school facilities affect student performance in secondary school?
- What effect does class size has on the academic performance of students in social studies in secondary school?
- To what extent does school location has on the achievement of secondary school students?
Ho1 There is no significant difference between classroom environment and the student academic performance
Ho2 There is no significant difference between school facilities and academic performance of students
Ho3 There is no significant difference between class size and academic performance of students
Ho4 There is no significant difference between school location and academic performance of students
Significance of the Study
It is hoped that this study will provide information for parents, educators and school administrators to reflect upon various factors that help students in achieving their academic goals. In so doing, they can investigate the possibility of introducing those factors to their school, which may consequently lead to enhancing students’ educational outcomes in school. In addition, the fact that this study is conducted in public schools, it shares quite a lot of similarities with many other counterparts. In this connection, this study provides a valuable reference for other schools to reflect upon the school environment as it affect the academic performance of student in secondary school.
Scope of the Study
This research work focuses on influence of classroom environment on academic performance of secondary school students in some selected secondary schools in Oshodi local government area of lagos state. This research work covers all public secondary schools students in the local government. However, four public secondary schools will be used as case study.
Definition of Terms
School: A school is an institution designed for the teaching of students (or “pupils”) under the direction of teachers
School Environment: A school’s physical environment includes the school building and the surrounding.
Academic Achievement – Knowledge attained or skills developed in school subjects by test scores.
Secondary school (also”high school”)is a term used to describe an educational institution where the final stage of schooling, known as secondary education and usually compulsory up to a specified age, takes place. It follows elementary or primary education, and may be followed by university (tertiary) education