INFLUENCE OF LEARNING ENVIRONMENT ON STUDENTS PERFORMANCE IN SCHOOLS
Background to the Study
Learning Environment is as old as modern education in Nigeria. Ever since then, learners of different categories are taught in one learning environment especially in a classroom or the other under the guidance and control of the teacher.
Education is explained as transmitter of worthwhile value, norms, morals e.t.c. of the society from one generation to another. Equally, education is regarded and seer as a social change Agent. The dream and aspiration of a society are articulated for the school to effect such changes.
It in the learning environment which is likened to a factory in an industrial concern that these changes could be actualized. If this is true, the society should accord more recognition to the teacher, students, classroom, learning environment and indeed the ethos school system.
Learning environment according to Maryeilen Weimer 6th August 2013, defines it as the divers of physical location context and cultures in which students learn. Since students may learn in a wide variety of settings such as outside of school locations and outdoors environments, the team if often used as a more accurate or preferred alternative to classroom, which has more limited and traditional connotations a room with more of desk and a chalkboard for example.
The term learning environment also encompasses the culture of a school or class- it presiding ethos and characteristics, including how individuals interacts with and treats one another as well as the ways in which teachers may organize and educational setting to facilitate learning e.g by conducting classes in relevant natural ecosystems, grouping desks in specific ways, decorations of the walls with learning materials or utilizing audio, usual and digital technologies and because the qualities and characteristics of learning environment are determined by a wide variety of factors school policies, government structures and other features may also be considered elements of a “learning environment” .
Educators may also argue that learning have both a direct and indirect influence on student learning including their engagement in what is being taught, their maturation to learn their sense of well being, belonging and personal safety for example learning environments filled with sun light and stimulating educational materials would likely be considered more conducive to learning that drabs spaces without windows or decoration as mould schools with fewer incidences of misbehaviour, disorder, bullying and illegal activities. How adults interacts with students and how these students interact with one another may also be considered aspects of a learning environment and phrases such as “positive learning environment” or “negative learning environment” are commonly used in reference to the social and emotional dimensions of a school or class.
According to oxford Advance learner’s Dictionary 6th edition defines class as a group of students who are taught together” classroom by implication is explained as a space where a group of students are brought and taught together. The classroom is an important place in the operation of a school where the teaching and learning interactions takes place to achieve the purpose of education and society.
Wikipedia.org (2008) defines a classroom as a room in which teaching or learning activities can take place. Classrooms are found in educational institutions of all kinds, including public and private schools, corporations, religious and humanitarian organisations. The classroom attempts to provide a safe space where learning can take place uninterrupted by other distractions.
Learning environment must be conducive for effective teachers and pupils. The importance of learning environments cannot be over emphasized. For the learning environment to achieve its objectives, the condition of the school learning environment must be conducive. School ;earning environment is an aspects which have been over looked in our educational institutions which needs to be looked into.
This is very necessary as it has much influenced on the attainment of the overall educational objectives. A number of study have shown that many schools particularly those in the rural areas and high poverty areas are plagued by decaying buildings that threatens the health shelter and learning opportunities of the students.
School learning environment should be designed with appropriate and sufficient infrastructures with the view to aiding learning process. Facilities appears to be an important pre-conditions for students learning in schools. One could attribute the poor structural facilities to be low level of our development, general poverty educational sectors by the various level of government. Decaying environment conditions such as pecking point, crumbling plastics, non-functioning toilets, poor electrification, lack of desk and chairs, and inadequate ventilation in classrooms can affect learning as well as the health and moral of both students and staff.
Student’s learning is influenced most directly by learning environment conditions which is as a result of state, districts and school conditions as well as individual preference, capacity and motivations.
Learning environment conditions includes the following which overlap and impacts on each other in a variety of ways. In this sections will be looking at three sets of factors.
- Ethos (creating positive ethos)
- Behaviours and routines
- The physical environments
The learning environment we create in the schools and settings are only part of the teachers and practitioners may not be able to influence the wider environment of family, community and society, research shows that the learning environment has a powerful influence on children’s achievement, and that children from similar social background is progress at different rates depending on the school –level factors including ethos do make a difference.
- Creating a positive ethos:- The ethos of schools and settings underline every aspect of their life and is all pervasive. Its impacts is powerful, cultural values and expectations (which is not to say they always conform to these). Ensuring a positive, share ethos is a priority because of its importance for the life of the community and its impacts on learning.
In learning environments where the ethos supports learning;
- There is an expectation on the parts of both the teachers (adults) and children that learning is important and enjoyable, and that everyone can achieve.
- Teaching uses a range of approaches and there is a culture of collaborative learning.
- Teachers and practitioners are ambitious for children and expectations of learning are high
- Children are motivated to be “the best that they can be”
Several areas contributes to creating the ethos of the school or setting.
The emotional wellbeing of the learning community. (students) (teachers)
- The natural or nature of the relationship with the learning communities (teachers with teacher relationship, teacher with students relationship, students with students relationship).
- How the environment is organised and cared for
- Languages used by teachers (Adults) and students.
- Behaviours and class routines familiar and established routines and procedures can supports learning. They provide “roadmaps” that helps leaners know what to expect. They can support social interaction and establish a sense of security for children. However, it is essentials that the learning potential within these routines is made explicit and shared among teachers and practitioners and with the children.
Rules and routines are learn (e.g getting class to crate agreed rules at the start of them). Effective teachers and practitioners continually result and reinforce the leg reminding children of the rules they have created) familiar routines and procedures are also built into lesson planning through the way the lesson is structured and paced.
- The physical environment: This has a significant influences on learning. It gives children messages about how we value them and how we value learning. It can be supportive of independent learning.
Developing independent learning has far-reaching implications for the ways the teacher or practitioners and children interacts, the task that are set, the responsibilities that children take their own learning and the opportunities teachers plans for children to initiate and existed their own learning.
Physical environment include the following aspect which includes physical structure such as the buildings, the classroom playground, laboratories, the classroom art studio, school compound, school farm /garden e.t.c. with further explanation of these conditions.
- The school compound: A dry compound on slight high ground should be choosen because during the raining season water will drain fairly quickly from high lands while it will remain longer on low lands thus making the ground damp and swampy. The compound shouldnot be near a market, a railway station or any other noisy place. If it is possible, the school should not be on a main road, because the traffic will be disturbing and during the dry season the cars and lorries driving pass will make the school dusty. The site should be a reasonable walking distance from the home of the children.
The compound should be big enough to provide space for the school building , a large filed for physical education and playground, gardens and flower beds, a school farm, a enough space for digging and making models space for future buildings if the numbers of the school increases.
2) The building: Each class should have a separate area frequent lessons. It is very difficult for children to concentrate if they can hear what is happening in another class.
Single –story schools are best for young children, as stairs may cause accidents.
Each rooms should be enough for the children to sit at desks when necessary and yet have a good space between desks, when necessary, and yet leave a good space between desks so that the teacher can easily reach each child to give individual help. There should be sufficient room for the arrangement of groups and for dramatics the head master (teacher) should have a separate room, when he can receive parents and visiots and where he can keep his records and accounts. The teachers should have a staff room where they can sit at recess and lunch time. A store room is necessary for keeping books, apparatus and extra equipment there should be a latrine for every twenty five (25) or thirty children (30) and two for the staffs.
iii) Classroom: The following are class room conditions that are required are classroom size, teaching loads, teaching in area of form preparation. A classroom is a pace where a group of students are bought and taught together.
- Class size: According to researcher, it is suggested that reduction form a typical 22 to 30 students class is an appropriate of 15 students in a class has the potential of increasing students achievement, provide the suitable changes are made. Small class size helps the teacher to arrange an manage the class very well to achieve a better result. Another effects includes grater engagement by students in provding more opportunities for better teachings to take place, reduce grade retention, reduced drop-out rates in schools and increased aspirations among students to attend schools.
- Teaching loads: The total number of students per teacher, over the course of an academic year is significant especially in all school. Where as a consequence of a subject specialization, teacher typicallu sees many different groups of students over the course of week. This new is based on the premises that effective instrucctions depends on a deep understanding of the cognitive resources brought to classs by individual pupils along with opportunities to both assess and monitor their learning progress.
Teaching in Area of formal preparation means that assigning teachers to suggest or area of the curriculum in which they have formal preparation and certification is important. There is significant, positive relationship between formal preparation and quality of instruction and students achievement
Other classroom conditions include the followings; furniture’s, student’s faces, that is the sounds, location of teachers, teacher’s attitude , voice, class discussion, staff, this is room overflowing with good books, art supplies, animal and plants, science apparatus, task, appealing atmosphere, that is a place where people would what to spend time etc. proper ventilation of learning environment including classroom reduced annoyances, improves visual display and flexibility and work pattern are significant improved due to less fatigue. Likewise, student’s performance, attitude and behaviour improve improper air condition climate making it easier to concentrate and make them feel less Dorsey and fatigue.
The manner in which the learning environment is been organised is very important.
4) The Laboratory: This is divided into two part. The science laboratory and the food laboratory. Laboratory according to Macmillan English dictionary the international student edition defines it as a building or a large room where people (students) do scientific and medical experience or research.
A school laboratory consist of various instrument can be used in caring out experiments and practical or researches it should be spacious enough with seats in order to cover a large number of students. Large spaces enables free movement of the teachers in other to supervise and render an helping hand to the students where needs and also to prevent domestic accident. All science instruments are kept in the laboratory.
5) Playground: It is a large space in the school compound that is set aside for students to carry out play activities during free hours (break period). The playground consist of swings in which children play with for excitement and Amusement. They come in various shapes and size. The pay ground should be well grassed either naturally or with artificial grass. In other to prevent children from getting injured when they fall. Teachers shoulder are placed to monitor children on the playground to avoid accidents and correct use of the swings.
6) Art Studio: This is a large room that is been used for Art work (fine arts). Art supplies and equipment are kept in the art studio. It is also called the Art gallery. It is a place where the students carryout painting activities and scriptural marks (Art work). Students leans various artworks either in groups or individually. Each work are kept for further references and for appreciation of work done. Art instrument includes Paints, brushes, drawing boards, coals, mods, card boards, eraser, pencils, board stands, water, oil etc.
7) School Garden: This is a large or small space of land in the school compound that is usually with plants, grasses, flowers of various kinds tress growing in it. Various Horticultural flowers can be found in the garden. The school garden beautify the school and it is used in teaching children horticulture works and benefits.
8) School farm: It is an area of land either in school or at the back of the school used for carryout agricultural activities. It is used for growing crops or keeping animals are found in the school farm such includes Birds, (fowls and chicken), rabbits, goats, fishers etc.
According to Adewole, (2006) he stated that learning environment management implies the mobilization and organisation of resources to achieve the expected goals and objectives of the system.
It involves the utilization of material resources and securing the cooperation of people for performing the function of planning, organising, directing and coordinating at every level by the teachers. The main issue of management is how to manage the resources in the most efficient and effective manner to achieve learning environment managers. They are expected to perform their duties and so also make sure every hand is on desk in other to achieve the educational objective in the learning environments.
Statement of the Problem
We have certain condition that is necessary for meaningful learning to take place they include; Qualified teacher, textbooks, instructional materials, teacher effectiveness, laboratories, library e.t.c. even when all these things are there, there is a particular thing that influence learning that is the environment condition. There is a linking between learning environment conditions and meaningful learning. When the learning environment as a whole is not conducive for students there must be some kind of difficulty for an effective learning to take place.
Therefore, we are going to find out how learning environment conditions influence the students performances in pre-primary and primary schools in Ado Local Government Area of Ekiti State Nigeria.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to find out the influence of learning environment on students performance in schools in Ado Local Government Area in Ekiti State.
Specifically the study will;
- Find out more on the availability of learning environment facilities and how this facilities are properly utilized.
- Find out students attitude and interest towards learning environment.
- How learning environment affects learning.
- Ascertain the ways and means a teacher can help to improve the learning conditions of the environment
To guide this study, four questions are raised.
- How does the availability of learning environment facilities arrangement and utilization of these facilities influence students’ performance?
- Dose classroom influence students attitude to learning?
- What are the ways and means at teacher can help to improve the learning environment conditions?
- How does the physical structures of the learning environment influence students’ academic performance?
Significance of the Study
It is hoped that this study when successfully completed has a lot of roles to play. This work will greatly be of a good link to teachers who needs to know the influence of these conditions on students learning capacity. It will be a guide on how to tackle some of these problems. This work will be beneficial to school authority managements that should always make efforts to improve quality education and will be a useful source if information to the students on what is expected to be an ideal learning environment. the government will from this study source vital information on how to solve problems facing schools on issues of learning.
Delimitation of the Study
The scope if this study is limited to finding out deferring learning environment conditions and their influences in students learning among students in some selected pre-primary and primary schools in Ado Local Government Area of Ekiti State.
Definition of Terms
The term used in this study are operationally defined as follows;
Academic performance: Outcome and realization of learning measured after learning process has taken place in a person.
Learning Environment: It as the divers of physical location context and cultures in which students learn.
Student: A person formally engaged in learning, especially one enrolled in a school or college; or any person who studies, investigates, or examines thoughtfully:
Influence: The effect that somebody or something has on the way a person thinks or behaves or on the way something work.
Primary School: A school for children between the age of 6 to 11
Pre-primary: A school for children between the age of 3-5
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