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THE IMPACT OF LEARNING ENVIRONMENT ON STUDENTS’ ACHIEVEMENT IN CHEMISTRY
The study was poised to examine the impact of learning environment on students’ academic achievement in chemistry in secondary schools in Lagos Mainland Local Government Area. In an attempt to achieve the purpose of this study, three research questions and hypotheses were formulated for the study respectively. The study adopted Survey research design with the population which covered all students who offer chemistry in the secondary schools which are located within Lagos Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos state from which two hundred were sampled for the study. Structured questionnaire which was validated by the project supervisor was used to elicit information from the respondents during school hours. All the data collected were analyzed using simple percentage to analyse the demographic data in section A while mean and standard deviation were used to analyse the entire variables in section B. t-test analysis was used to test the hypotheses formulated at 0.05 level of significance so as to accept or reject the null hypothesis formulated for the study. The study found out that out there is significant gender difference in the impact of learning environment on senior secondary school students’ chemistry achievement. The finding revealed that most male students agreed more than the female students that learning environment have impact on the academic performance in chemistry. Student’s attitude toward the learning of chemistry is a factor that has long attracted attention of researchers and that effects of class size on student learning vary by grade level, pupil characteristics, subject areas, teaching methods and other learning interventions. Therefore the study recommended that In-service training should be provided for Chemistry Teachers on strategies for enhancing the learning environment of the students through improvisation for hard-to-get and expensive materials and equipment which are highly needed for learning chemistry in the school environment. Further, the chemistry teachers should be encouraged to utilize instructional materials by displaying them in the laboratory, chemistry classroom and within the school environment so that students can learn on their own effectively.
1.1Background to the study
The learning environment, which includes the classrooms, libraries, technical workshops, laboratories, teachers’ quality, school management, teaching methods, peers, etc are variables that affects students’ academic achievement (Ajayi,2001and Oluchukwu, 2000). Hence the learning environment remains an important area that should be studied and well managed to enhance students’ achievement in chemistry. The student is often seen at home or within the school premises which constitute to learning environment where they acquire some basic knowledge of chemistry around them, living with people in the society and also contributing their own quota to the development of the location which they (the students) find themselves.
The learning environments that a student often belongs to, have some levels of relationship with the academic performance. The home learning environment cannot be overlooked. There are lots of home related factors that have negative as well as positive consequences on students’ academic performance and ability in chemistry. Educators and psychologists believe that the home provides the basic ingredients that propel the student for wholesome development. Hamilton – Ekeke, (2013) stated that when students’ grow up to school age, the home environment still play significant role in the students’ academic achievement. This is because materials, kitchen wares, home equipment, home accessories etc. which most of them used as improvisation at school in the laboratory for practicals can easily be used to enhance learning at home by the students.
Students see home as a means of a challenge mostly because of parents’ attitude like restriction, over protection, harassment, physical abuse, not providing enough money for the students’ practical work at school, irrelevance of things at home to chemistry contents taught at school, and all attributes to emotional distress among students and adolescent which consequently result to individual behavioral attitudes towards school work or activities and also study habit at home.
The level of academic performance of a student is often affected by the school learning environment. School learning environment has also been viewed as one factor that affects students’ academic achievement, Akpan (2001), stated that especially when a school is wrongly situated. The Ministry of Education, Lagos State attest that a school must not be located close to the following areas; bus stops, market, motor park, highway noisy environment etc. when these factors are not observed, it can result in poor performance. Further, it is expected that the chemistry learning environment has the adequate learning resources most especially the laboratory where practical class often takes place.
For instance, stern (1994), comparing urban school children with rural school children revealed that rural school children tend to have lower educational aspirations, place less value on academics, and have lower academic motivation (Hu, 2003; Kannapel&DeYoung, 1999). These differences further suggest that rural and urban school children may approach their homework differently (i.e., homework completion behaviors and homework management strategies), as students’ perception of the instrumentality of the present academic tasks to obtain future goals influence their use of self-regulation strategies, deep-processing study strategies, effort, and persistence (Miller & Brickman, 2004; Schutz, 1997), and as such enhance their academic performance in chemistry.
1.2Statement of the Problem
Poor level of performance of students academically in chemistry is of greater concern to teachers and school administrators. Researcher observed that most times, chemistry teachers would have effectively taught the students with different techniques and methods, yet, the academic performance is still poor and discouraging. It may appear that the reasons for the above are as follows; the different disturbances and distractions coming from the surrounding environment of the geographical location of the school which they belong. Some of these disturbances and distractions often come from markets, car parks, cinema houses, stadia, industrial estate, shopping malls, restaurant and game centers couple with lack of instructional materials which are meant to be displayed in both classroom and laboratory. All these have significant effect on nature of learning environment made available for the chemistry and academic performance of the students. Some students even find it difficult to cope with assimilation and concentrate on what is being taught by the teacher in chemistry and personal study habit becomes difficult to develop and poor performance is often the result. It is therefore against the forgone that the study seeks to examine the impact of learning environment on students’ academic achievement in chemistry in secondary schools in Lagos Mainland Local Government Area.
1.3Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to look into the impact of learning environment on students’ academic achievement in chemistry in secondary schools in LagosMainland Local Government Area.
1.4 Objectives of the study
Specifically, the study examined the following objectives:
1. The current level of academic performance of students in chemistry in secondary.
2. The impact of learning environment on students’ academic achievement in chemistry in secondary schools.
3. Strategies for enhancing students’ academic achievement in chemistry through the learning environment.
1.5 Research Questions
The following research questions are raised in this study:
1. What is the nature of learning environment in secondary schools?
2. What is the current level of academic performance of students in chemistry in secondary schools?
3. Is there any impact of learning environment on students’ academic achievement in chemistry in secondary schools?
4. What are the strategies for enhancing students’ academic achievement in chemistry through the learning environment?
1.6 Research Hypothesis
The following research hypotheses were formulated to guide this study:
H01: there is no significant difference in the mean responses of male and female students on the nature of learning environment in secondary schools
H02: There is no significant difference between male and female students academic achievement in chemistry
H03: there is no significant impact of learning environment on students’ academic achievement in chemistry in secondary schools
H04: there is no significant difference in the mean responses of male and female students in the strategies for enhancing students’ academic achievement in chemistry through the learning environment.
1.7 Significance of the study
This study will be of immense importance to the following people: Teachers, Students, School administrators, and lastly the Researcher. In the following ways:
Chemistry teachers: The findings of this study will enable them to know the various environmental factors which affect learning and as such affect students’ academic achievement in chemistry. Further, this study will enable the teachers to know the various strategies which can be adopted to enhance learning in chemistry through the use to instructional materials, learning resources and practical materials so that student can learn at their best.
School administrators: The findings of this study will enlighten them on how to practically examine the school environment and negative influencing environmental factors, which can be strategically solved so as to enhance learning in the subject.
Students: This study will enable the students to know how the environment is harnessed to enhance learning of chemistry with the adequate provision of instructional materials and laboratory resources which are displayed in the classroom, laboratory, school environment and improvisation of similar resources at home so as to enhance learning and as such enhance their performance in the subject.
Researchers: This study will serve as source of information and data when working on related issues. Further, the study will add to the existing information on the related body of knowledge.
1.8 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study covers all the students who offer chemistry in secondary schools, which are located within Lagos Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos state.Only the aspect of impact of learning environment on students’ academic achievement in chemistry will be covered in this study.
1.9 Operational Definitions of Terms
Learning: the acquisition knowledge or skills through experience, study, or by being taught.
Environment: relating to an area or place, or to its geography. Relating to the surroundings of the where learning takes place such as the classroom, laboratory, library etc.
Learning Environment: A learning environment is a combination of social and physical qualities that create the classroom experience. It includes classroom management procedures, as well as the way the space is organized, furnished and maintained.
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