The study set out to investigate the influence of social classroom environment on upper basic school academic achievement in basic science in Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State. The population of the study consisted of all the junior students in government secondary schools in Awka North. A sample size of One hundred and twenty (120) junior students was used as respondents and they were returned duly completed. Simple Survey research was used for the research design and simple random sampling techniques were used to select the respondents for the study. Three (3) research questions guided the study. A questionnaire made up of (4) point rating scale was used to collect data. A mean of 2.50 and above was adopted as a cut of mark for the acceptance of items. The result findings showed that Basic science student’s interaction with each other their interaction with their teachers and other school facilities influence their academic achievement. Based on this, some implications of the study and recommendations were made as well as suggestions for further studies.
Background to the Study
Education has long been recognized as the bedrock for national development. Nwuba and Egwu (2021) defined it as a complex process that encompasses different skills, strategies, methods, and assessment techniques usually geared towards facilitating and impacting knowledge on the participants involved. As a process, it constitutes both psychological and environmental variables that influences a change in the behaviour of an individual.
Educational environment refers to the diverse physical locations, contexts, and cultures in which students learn as they learn in a wide variety of settings, such as outside-of-school locations and outdoor environments. Itencompasses the culture of a school or class, its presiding ethos and characteristics, including how individuals interact with and treat one another as well as the ways in which teachers may organize an educational setting to facilitate learning. Rothman (2013) recognizes that students learn in many different ways in very different contexts and hence necessary to create a total environment for learning that optimizes the ability of students to learn.
Basic science is a field of knowledge that deals with theoretical and experimental scientific research of the fundamental nature phenomena. Its goal is the search for patterns that determining the form, structure, composition, structure and properties of natural phenomena, the flow and development of the processes conditioned by them (Krushanov & Mamchur, 2011). Basic science influences the formation of the philosophical world outlook and worldview principles, which serves to expand the theoretical, conceptual notions of the surrounding world, the universe in all their manifestations, including those encompassing the intellectual, spiritual and social spheres (Cherkesova, 2016). Traditionally, basic research is more closely related to natural science. At the same time, the humanities have or seek to have an apparatus capable to embrace and articulate universal principles and methods of interpretation within their subject areas. The manifestation of this aspiration is an observable surge of interest in quantitative research using mathematical and statistical methods and models in the humanities.
Positive educational environments are necessary to facilitate optimally adaptive student outcomes, including learning, motivation, school adjustment, and achievement (Eccles, Wigfield, &Schiefele, 2008). Many researchers (Goodenow, 2002; Juvonen & Weiner, 2013) have stressed out that school does not only involve academics but are rather inherently social placestudents go about their work in the presence of many peers. To understand students’ success at school, therefore, we must attend to their relationships with others at school and ways that the environment promotes different types of social interactions and relationships.
The classroom social environment is comprised of students’ perceptions about how they are encouraged to interact with and relate to others (e.g, classmates, the teacher), and encompasses dimensions of: teacher support, promoting mutual respect, promoting student task-related interaction, and promoting performance goals. Recent research has indicated that these various dimensions of the classroom social environment are separate, can be measured quickly and reliably, and relate significantly to students’ motivation, self-regulated learning, classroom behavior (both positive and negative), social relationships, and achievement (Ryan & Patrick, 2011). The emphasis on the importance of the classroom social environment, including support, mutual respect, task-related interaction among students, and a lesser focus on competition among students, is apparent in reform recommendations. For example, the National Science Education Standards include explicit reference to teachers creating a social and intellectual environment with support, respect, and collaboration for an individual’s development(National Research Council, 1996).
Children need a safe, healthy and stimulating environment in which to grow and learn. During children years in school,they can spend 6 to 8 hours at the home where the environment plays a significant/critical role psychologically in the children development (while in school, the students spend more time in the classroom). This condition requires careful planning and designing to optimize experiences that support education, health and stewardship. The classroom environment is of paramount importance in shaping and reshaping intellectual ability. Supportive and favorable school and classroom environment enriched with enough learning facilities, and favorable climate makes students more comfortable, more concentrated on their academic activities which in turn will result in high academic performance (Lizzio, Wilson and Simons, 2015). The forces of the classroom social environment begin to influence growth and development of the individual right from his or her entrance into a school. The educational process of development occurs in physical, social, cultural and psychological environment. A proper and adequate classroom environment is very much necessary for a fruitful learning of the child. The favorable classroom environment provides the necessary stimulus for learning experiences. The children spend most of their time in school, more in the classroom and this social classroom environment is exerting influence on performance through curricular, teaching technique and relationship with other members of the class (Marshall, 2012).
Fisher and Fisher (2012) emphasized that the classroom social environment which includes the classmates(peers), classrooms, libraries, laboratories, teachers’ quality, teaching methods, are variables that affect students’ academic achievement and hence, remains an important area that should be studied and well managed to enhance students’ academic performance. Ajao (2011) purported that the quality of education does not only depend on the teachers as reflected in the performance of their duties, but also in the effective coordination of the classroom environment as the extent to which a student learns depends on their location within the school, the structure of their classroom, availability of instructional facilities and accessories and the social structure of the members of the class.
Primarily, research of positive school environment is focused on physical conditions: density, privacy, activity areas, opens spaces, and, even, green areas. Some of the most researched effects from physical elements have been the ones resulting from noise, lighting and colors, temperature and humidity, decoration, and furniture, since they contain properties that have effects on people’s behavior; nevertheless, despite having found evidence of these effects, the results are not considered entirely conclusive (Olivos and Amérigo, 2018). The quality of these conditions in school infrastructure can have direct effects on the behavior and cognitive, social, and emotional development of children. In other words, the school space is considered a didactic agent that helps to offer optimal physical conditions for the development of the teaching-learning process. Likewise, it allows for the creation of an adequate environment for the development of students’ abilities, fostering their autonomy as well as teacher motivation. That safe and orderly classroom environment, school facilities (accessories), social structure were significantly related to students’ academic performance in schools and that a comfortable and caring environment among other treatments helped to contribute to students’ academic performance.
The social characteristics of the school have a variety of effects on students and the learning process. Poor lighting, noise, high levels of carbon dioxide in classrooms and inconsistent temperatures make teaching and learning difficult. Poor maintenance and ineffective ventilation systems lead to poor health among students as well as teachers, which leads to poor performance and higher absentee rates (Anyamebo 2005). These factors can adversely affect student behavior and lead to higher levels of frustration among teachers, and poor learning attitude among students.Beyond the direct effects that poor facilities have on student’s ability to learn, the combination of poor facilities, which create an uncomfortable and uninviting workplace for teachers, combined with frustrating behavior by students including poor concentration and hyperactivity, lethargy, or apathy, creates a stressful set of working conditions for teachers. Also, stress and job dissatisfaction are also common pre-cursors that lower a teacher’s enthusiasm.Taking cognizance of the above stated factors, it may be possible to say that the characteristics of school environment could have an influence on the academic performance of students in basic science. In this light, the study sought out to investigate the influence of social classroom environment on upper basic school academic achievement in basic science.
Statement of the Problem
The role of basic science in national development and wealth creation cannot be emphasized. Its importance in laying the foundation for the learning of science at the upper basic school level has made the subject widely recognized. In light of this importance accrued to the subject, educational stakeholders have stated that unless schools are well suited with buildings adequately constructed and equipment adequately utilized and maintained, much teaching and learning may not take place.
Several research reports have shown that efforts have been made by government and professional to provide schools with amenities such as classrooms, libraries, technical workshops, and laboratories are needed in schools to enhance students’ achievement in the subject, but still performance of students in the subject in external examinationsstill remained unsatisfactory.
In this light, the research report sought out to determine the influence of classroom social environment on upper basic school students’ academic achievement in basic science in Awka South Local Government area.
Purpose of the Study
The major purpose of this study is to investigate the influence of classroom social environment on upper basic school students’academic achievement in basic science in Awka north Local Government Area, Anambra State. Specifically, the study sought to find out if:
- Student’s interaction with each other influences their academic achievement in Basic science.
- Basic science Teacher’s relationship with their students influences their academic achievement in Basic science.
- Availability of school facilities and amenities influence student’s academic achievement in Basic science
Significance of the study
The findings of this study if published will be beneficial to basic science students, teachers, parents/guardians, principals, the government, curriculum planners, other researchers and the society at large.
To the students,the findings of this research will help students to understand the importance of maintaining cordial relationship with classmates and teachers which will help to promote the achievement of academic excellence in basic science.
To the parents,it will help the parents in determining the choice of school for their children/wards. With the knowledge of the importance of educational environment in learning, they would be able to determine if a school is conducive for academic achievement
To the teachers, it will inform teachers about the readiness to improve in their classroom delivery and interaction with their students as it plays a very important role in determining student’s performance
To the principal, the findings of this research will help them to improve in their classroom supervision and management as well as provide good classroom facilities and equipment to ensure quality teaching and learning and to help stimulate student’s academic performance.
To the curriculum planners, the findings of the study will intimate them on the importance of classroom social environment in the learning process. With this knowledge, they will design curriculum that can incorporate teaching strategies that can promote students and teacher interaction during the learning process.
To the government, the findings of this research will help the government to identify and solve the needs of schools and to formulate effective learning policies and programs to enhance effective achievement of learning objectives.
To the society at large: the findings of this research will make the society a better place. When there is effective achievement of academic goals, the society will be filled with individuals of high intellect and in turn be a better place
Scope of the Study
This research work focuses on determining the influence of classroom social environment on the academic achievement of upper basic school students’ in basic science in Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State. The researcherlimited the study to only five upper basic two students in selected secondary schools in the area under study. The study covered areas such as students related factors, teachers related factors and school related factors that influencestudents’ academic achievement in junior secondary schools.
The following research questions were formulated to guide the research
- Does student’s interaction with each other influence their academic achievement in secondary schools?
Does teacher’s relationship with their students influence their academic achievement in secondary schools?
- Does the availability of school facilities and amenities influence student’s academic achievement in secondary schools?