Peer group can simply be said to be people of the same age and ability that is people who are knitted together by a feeling derived by a common concern as seekers of what was desirable for the group. The peer group is the child own friends, and equal member of the group often have common characteristics or interest. The peer group interests are short rage and temporary (Ezewu 2002).
Moreso, the children changes their peer group membership as they for through different stages of development and can belong to a number of peer group at the same time (Ezewu, 2002). In some cases, members roles are less defined they change frequently in some, it may not be clear who is a member and who is not. In-group, the child holds a certain position and each he is expected to think and behave in a certain way. The peer group sets out certain standard for the group and they also have norms and values, which they follow.
The peer group influences are more pronounced and noted in secondary school than in primary schools, partly because some of the children go away from home and stay in boarding schools where parental supervision and contact is very limited. The influence of peer group on the child is great both in and out of the school, because there is the tendency for members to be comfortable with the group norms and values. Sometimes peer group influence may lead to aggressive behaviour such as (rioting in school).
Peer group influence also prompt students to form clique with nicknames such as, Terror, Shark, Snake, Tempo, Blue Queen, Black angel etc. students are always anxious to initiate their peers whether good or bad, they would want to go to the church or mosque due to their peer influences. They may also join different clubs like Girls Guides, Boys Scout, Brigade, Red Cross, Savan, etc (Owuamanam, 2001). The peer group has their own “acceptance” which they have to consider before a child could be accepted or rejected from a group. Some of these characteristics that are likely to make a child to be accepted to a group are friendship, sociability and introversion. Much may also depend on what a particular group values as qualities in its members (Piaget, 1998).
Formation of peer group may occur when frustration sets in as a result of conflict with family members, adult and societal norms. Effects are usually made to compensate for rejection and uses leisure profitably. Through the formation of peer group, the child will want to gain freedom from home in order to be loyal to the group.
In another way, Adeola et al (2002) says, “formation of peer group may occur from each extensive interaction with others initiate relationship develop and by these contacts important attitudes and values are formed. The attitudes may influence the child’s academic performance either positively or negatively. The negative aspect which could be detrimental to students academic work are the cases of group behaviour such as truancy, persistent lateness to school, juvenile delinquency, stealing, absenteeism from school, disobedience, laziness, disregarding school rules and regulations etc.
On the other hand, the influence could be geared towards positive aspect of students academic performance for instance, the students could be influenced socially, psychologically, intellectually etc and all these boost academic performance e.g. forming reading group, going to the library, anxious to join others in answering questions in the classroom, and making friends with brilliant students especially in the area of mathematics, English language, social studies etc.
Also there are some important functions that the peer group plays which greatly influences the academic performance of students. They are as follows:
- They provide the peer group with a considerable degree of emotional security, which help in the intellectual development of the child.
- The peer group provides the students with a wide variety of experiences which can boost their academic performance
- They also provide the opportunity for the development of loyalties that goes beyond the immediate family e.g. political and social loyalties, which are important for future adjustment.
- They provide a wide number of males that will be helpful in the development of identity diffusion.
- The peer group facilitates pre-adolescent transition from the family to peer orientation.
- They provide opportunities for interpersonal relationship.
The peer group provides the standard of taught and behaviour to be pursued by its members and they established the attitudes, opinions and ideas which they are to adopt. It is through these peer groups that cultures are established which will provide variations in standards of education and so on. While in their respective groups the individual number are prepared for performance of specific task such as leadership role, spirit of active participation, submissiveness etc in this way the child barns to lead and follow. These are vital requirements for effective citizenship.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The concern of the peer group on the academic performance of student in selected secondary schools. Efforts would be concentrated on the following:
- Children interaction with their peers
- Stages of the formation of peer group
- Peer group influence on academic performance of the students
- The implication of a peer group on individual teachers, educational administration, policy makers etc.
PURPOSE OF STUDY
The purpose of the study is to investigate the extent to which peer group contribute to the academic performance of the child. The research will also find out whether peer group influence contributes to the academic growth of its members. Furthermore, the investigation would as well find out the positive and negative behavioral aspect of the peer group on academic performance of students.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study will help in knowing more about the peer group and their stages. It will help in findings out the peer group influence on pre-adolescent and the implication on them.
The work will help in finding out the influence of the peer group on the academic performance of students. The research will help in findings solutions to the problems caused by poser group influence. It will also help in relating the peer group of male and females together in terms of the relationship.
The project will also help to find out the bad and good aspect of peer group.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study was limited to five selected secondary schools namely:
- Okpuje Secondary School,
- Uwalor Secondary School
- Obedu Secondary School,
- Our lady of Lord’s Grammar School and
- Evboyi Secondary School in Esan North East Local Government Area of Edo State.
LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
It is hard to carryout the research without some significant problems such as the dearth of cash and enough resource materials.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
In the study the following terms were used.
Peer: Rank with equal, of the same age group, within the same age bracket
Group: A number of peple or things that are together in the same place, or that are connected in some ways.
Influence: The power that something or somebody has to make something or somebody behave in a particular way.
Academic: Something based on subjects that are taught to develop the mind rather than to provide practical skills.
Performance: how well or badly one does something.