IMPACT OF LEARNING ENVIRONMENT ON JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS’ PERFORMANCE IN CIVIC EDUCATION IN KOGI STATE, NIGERIA

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IMPACT OF LEARNING ENVIRONMENT ON JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS’ PERFORMANCE IN CIVIC EDUCATION IN KOGI STATE, NIGERIA

 

ABSTRACT

 

The study investigated the Impact of Learning Environment on junior secondary school students‘performance in Civic Education in Kogi State, Nigeria. The study was carried out to: determine the impact of learning environment on students‘ performance in civic education in urban and rural junior secondary schools in Kogi State; ascertain the impact of class size on the performance of students in civic education in junior secondary schools in Kogi State; examine the impact of learning materials on students‘ performance in civic education in junior secondary schools in Kogi State; and determine the impact of learning environment on the performance of male and female students in civic education in junior secondary schools in Kogi State. In line with the above stated objectives, four (4) corresponding research questions and four (4) hypotheses were formulated and tested for the study. The study adopted ex-post facto research design. The total population of the study comprised 10,295 students, out of which a sample size of 375 respondents was used for the study. The instrument tagged Learning Environment and Students‘ Performance Questionnaire (LESPQ) and students‘ End of term examination scores were used to obtain data for the study. The instrument was pilot-tested and a reliability coefficient of 0.85 was obtained. Data collected were analyzed statistically using descriptive statistics which include mean and standard deviation, while inferential statistics of t-test was used to test the formulated hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. Findings revealed among others that learning environment have impact on students‘ performance in civic education in urban and rural junior secondary schools in Kogi State and class size have impact on performance of students in civic education in junior secondary schools in Kogi State. In view of the findings from this study, conclusion was made that unconducive learning environment has negative impact on students‘ academic performance. In addition, a good school location with accessible road, good field of play, neat toilet and large classroom with lighting and library stocked with up-to-date textbooks have positive impact on students‘ performance. Recommendations were made among others that Kogi State government should make secondary schools in the state more conducive for learning by providing facilities such as up to date text books, teaching aid, good playing field, resource person and neat toilet. Adequate classrooms should be provided with chairs and desks to correspond with the yearly increase of students‘ enrolment.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

 

 

1.1         Background to the Study

 

Quality education at all levels, primary, secondary and tertiary, is desired of all Nigerians. At the junior secondary school level, quality education is absolutely necessary because it serves as the foundation for senior secondary school and tertiary level and for people to provide self-employment if they cannot continue with the tertiary level. If that basic foundation is weak it will lead to national catastrophe as progress in the society becomes very difficult. Hence all concerned with secondary education should make their best input in order to ensure that a very solid foundation is laid.

 

Environment has been discovered as the major source of cognitive development and also responsible for intellectual acquisition of a child. Environment includes those things which are found around man or which surround him and are capable of affecting his social development. He also commented that among the things which constitute man‘s social environment are families, peer groups, community, religion, school and health service, public utilities such as transport and communication network system and recreational centre. Environment is a place where a child functions; this could be the home, the school, the peer group, the classroom and the totality of the child‘s upbringing including his spiritual life, physical needs, social needs and psychological needs (Akem & Ortese, 2004).

 

As soon as a child is born, the effects of environment begin to affect him/her. Every child inherits certain capacities for growth. The way in which these capacities are developed is influenced by the opportunities afforded by the environment. If the environment did not provide adequately for the child‘s social and psychological needs, his development will rather become too slow. The longer he remains in an unstable environment the more retarded he becomes. The environment shapes the individual development in the sense that it promotes the growth of certain capacities and neglects the growth of others. For example, if a child‘s parents and his school allocation play great emphasis on the academic performance, the child will improve in his learning activities.

 

School environment place a vital role in effecting positive change in the behaviour of students. Absence of this could lead to various negative behaviour such as, vandalism, drug and alcohol abuse, examination malpractice, violence, secret cults, stealing, truancy, sex abuse and the likes. Today‘s youth of the moral decadence is tomorrow‘s adults‘ criminality unless the ugly school environment is enriched. The environment in which learning is to take place whether within or outside the classroom should be a stimulating environment which will encourage exploration, discovery, investigation as well as challenges students to become problem solvers and rational decision makers.

 

Civics instruction across the nation varies widely in its structure, content, and quality. Societies have long had an interest in the ways in which their young are prepared for citizenship and in how they learn to take part in civic life. Today, that interest might better be described as a concern-in fact as a growing concern, particularly in democratic societies. There is evidence aplenty that no country, including Nigeria, has achieved the level of understanding and acceptance of the rights and responsibilities among the totality of its citizens that is required for the maintenance and improvement of any constitutional democracy. Civic education is an important component of education that cultivates citizens to participate in the public life of a democracy, to use their rights and to discharge their responsibilities with the necessary knowledge and skills. Nigerian schools have advanced a distinctively civic mission since the earliest days of this Republic. It was immediately recognized that a free society must ultimately depend on its citizens, and that the way to infuse the people with the necessary qualities is through education. As one step of this education process, education has been assuming the mission to foster citizens with the spirit to lead (Babchuk, Babchuk, Boggs & Al., 2007).

 

The learning environment in this context focuses on the school physical and social environment in terms of the school building, size of the classrooms, assembly halls, laboratories, workshops, libraries facilities, staffroom, toilets, school compound, play ground and so on. They also include teaching aids, chairs, tables, devices such as modern educational hardware and software in the form of magnetic tapes, films, and transparent stripes. The physical environment should be both appropriate and attractive to teachers and students in the school (Allen, 2009). Learning facilities are all the things that are needed for effective teaching and learning process to take place. They are designed to enhance the process of teaching. The absence of learning facilities implies the non-existence of any set up that may be referred to as school.

 

For a school to be functional, its location and social environment should be appealing and attractive to learners. This will motivate students to rise up to their academic challenges. Musaazi and Okam (2009) commented that the school social environment if adequately planned and maintained enhances effective teaching and learning in such schools. Also, a good learning environment is the one in which there are different and adequate learning materials and equipment such as current textbooks, map, good furniture, charts, pictures, specimen, up to date library, laboratory equipment, audio-visual aid like computer, television and overhead projectors and conducive classroom buildings. An effective teaching and learning of any subject depends majorly on how conducive her environment is. A professional teacher is equipped with the necessary principles and techniques in education that will help him/her to deliver his/her lesson effectively. A professional teacher‘s attitudes play a significant role in student‘s academic performance.

 

Academic performance refers to the academic capabilities of learners to perform a certain task over a period of time having undergone instructions. Academic performance according to Larin cited in Okereke (2005) refers to some methods of expressing a student‘s scholastic standing. This can be regarded as a source or subject grade, an average for a group of subjects in a programme of study for example, Civic education. The theory further stresses, that there are two dimensions to academic performance namely; good and poor performances. Good academic performance leads to success while poor academic performance leads to failure. Each of these two performances are experienced by students in one form or the other. This study therefore, examined the impact of learning environment on junior secondary school students‘ performance in Civic Education in Kogi State, Nigeria.

 

1.2         Statement of the Problem

 

The successful implementation of any educational programme depends mostly on the quality of the learning environment that are provided for such programme. Today, most of the learning facilities such as instructional materials, furnitures, current textbooks, classrooms among others that are supposed to promote and enhance teaching and learning in junior secondary schools are inadequate and where available are in bad shape. This has hindered better students‘ academic performance in secondary schools in Kogi state. Meanwhile, the type of atmosphere required for effective learning is that consisting of better school buildings, more and better teaching facilities because the quality of education that children get bears direct relevance to the availability or the lack of physical facilities and overall atmosphere where the learning takes place.

 

A conducive learning environment contributes to the success of every student in any school. In a study carried out by Hale (2002), revealed that students in classrooms with large windows, natural lighting and well designed skylights were found to perform well from 19 to 25% better than their peers in classrooms without these feature. Not only environmental conditions in schools affect the students but also the inoperative heating system, inadequate ventilation and poor lighting system. The overall building condition, the age of the building, and the windows in the instructional areas were positively related to students‘ performance in learning (Bullock, 2007). It is evident that students‘ performance depended upon the physical school facility, its age, the design and the condition of the school. Today, most of the school facilities in Kogi state which are supposed to promote and enhanced teaching and learning in secondary education are obsolete in form thereby creating a serious challenges to the 21st century educational needs of the learners.

 

In spite of the various efforts put by government and stakeholders in education to achieve the objectives of education, it seems that attempts are not yielding positive results in junior secondary schools in Kogi State. One cannot help but observe the learning environment, equipment and facilities in schools, the unhealthy nature of the buildings, uncompleted, old and antiquated, sometimes unattractive buildings, overcrowded and un-conducive, unsightly and unhygienic toilets, inadequate laboratories and workshops. The students start learning in already deprived and disadvantaged school environments with population explosion, insufficient desks, overcrowded classrooms, inadequate learning materials, preponderance of unqualified teachers, poorly educated and ill-motivated teachers characterized the entire system (Ajayi, 2001). This study seriously assumes that unconducive learning atmosphere or deteriorating facilities in the places of study, forms a serious constraint to students‘ academic performance upon this background, this study was carried out to examine the impact of learning environment on junior secondary school students‘ performance in Civic Education in Kogi State, Nigeria.

 

1.3         Objectives of the Study

 

The main focus of this study was to examine the impact of learning environment on junior secondary school students‘ performance in Civic Education in Kogi State, Nigeria. Precisely, the study was conducted to:

 

  1. determine the impact of learning environment on students‘ performance in civic education in urban and rural junior secondary schools in Kogi State;

 

  1. ascertain the impact of class size on the performance of students in civic education in junior secondary schools in Kogi State;

 

  1. examine the impact of learning materials on students‘ performance in civic education in junior secondary schools in Kogi State; and

 

  1. determine the impact of learning environment on the performance of male and female students in civic education in junior secondary schools in Kogi State.

 

1.4         Research Questions

 

The following research questions were stated to guide the conduct of the study:

 

  1. What impact does learning environment have on students‘ performance in civic education in urban and rural junior secondary schools in Kogi State?

 

  1. What is the impact of class size on the performance of students in civic education in junior secondary schools in Kogi State?

 

 

H04:
H03:
H02:
  1. What is the impact of learning materials on students‘ performance in civic education in junior secondary schools in Kogi State?

 

  1. To what extent does learning environment have impact on the performance of male and female students in civic education in junior secondary schools in Kogi State?

 

1.5         Research Hypotheses

 

The following null hypotheses have been postulated for the conduct of this study:

 

H01:    There is no significant difference in the impact  of learning environment on

 

students‘ performance in civic education in urban and rural junior secondary schools in Kogi State.

 

There is no significant difference in the impact of class size on the performance of students in civic education in junior secondary schools in Kogi State.

 

There is no significant difference in the impact of learning materials on students‘ performance in civic education in junior secondary schools in Kogi State.

 

There is no significant difference in the impact of learning environment on the performance of male and female students in civic education in junior secondary schools in Kogi State.

 

1.6         Basic Assumptions

 

The study was based on the assumptions that:

 

  1. learning environment have impact on students‘ performance in civic education in urban and rural junior secondary schools in Kogi State.

 

  1. class size have impact on the performance of students in civic education in junior secondary schools in Kogi State.

 

  1. learning materials have impact on students‘ performance in civic education in junior secondary schools in Kogi State.

 

  1. learning environment have impact on the performance of male and female students in civic education in junior secondary schools in Kogi State.

 

1.7         Significance of the Study

 

The findings of this study would benefit the following stakeholders, ranging from Kogi State Ministry of Education, secondary school principals, teachers, students, parents, educational administrators and planners, and researchers. Findings of this study would be of importance to Kogi State Ministry of Education as it would reveal or exposed the need to ensure a conducive learning environment. Since education is dynamic both in content and methods, educational facilities need to be constantly evaluated and modified, not only to remove absolute and unattractive structure but also to ensure that such facilities continue to meet the modern and ever changing educational needs, changing technology and the dynamic socio-political and economic environment. The need to add aesthetic value to educational facilities not only to enhance their utilization value but also to make them more healthy, safe and convenient to use and maintain.

 

Apparently the result of this research will encourage the secondary school principals and teachers in playing a sensitive role aimed at improving the standard of education through the provision of a conducive learning environment. Teachers as a major stakeholders in the school system, who play an intermediate role seek to work harmoniously with the school in encouraging the students to use the facilities. This could be to solve assignments, observe practical knowledge and in the acquisition of essential skills. And hence, ensure that the right type of facilities are made available at the right time and place for the right type of teaching – learning activities. Since these have been known to have significant bearing on teaching – learning effectiveness, the right educational specification must be brought to bear on the provision of these facilities to meet the desired objectives. Similarly, teachers will also benefit from the findings of the study since the teachers are the major implementers of curriculum in the schools and thus qualitative learning materials and a conducive learning atmosphere will help them on their job performance.

 

Hence, students could also benefit from the study because a conducive learning atmosphere and adequate learning materials are geared towards the improvement of quality of students learning process. The findings of the study will provide useful information to the state policy makers and school administrators on the importance of a captivating learning environment in secondary schools in Kogi State. The finding of the study will be useful to the school administrators and how they can employ it to enhance effective maintenance of facilities in secondary schools in Kogi State. It will afford other researchers to look into grey areas not covered in the present study and seek ways of improving over it.

 

1.8         Scope of the Study

 

This study investigated the impact of learning environment on junior secondary school students‘ performance in Civic Education in Kogi State, Nigeria. The subject of the study are the JSII students of public junior secondary schools in Kogi state. The reason for choosing this level is because they are considered to be more stable compared to JSI who are just coming into the school and JSIII who will soon be writing their junior secondary school certificate examination. Hence, this study is delimited to students from Ijumu, Okene and Lokoja local government areas of Kogi State. The study  also    examines   variables    like   learning   environment,   class   size,    students‘ performance, and civic education.

 

IMPACT OF LEARNING ENVIRONMENT ON JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS’ PERFORMANCE IN CIVIC EDUCATION IN KOGI STATE, NIGERIA

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