ASSESSMENT OF SCHOOL PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT AND ITS IMPACTS ON STUDENTS’ SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR

CHAPTER ONE

                                 INTRODUCTION

1.1     Background to the Study

The environment that one lives in plays a very important role in one's personal growth. A healthy environment creates a perfect individual while, the environment is a less healthy environment will produce problematic society. In the last thirty years, students' discipline and behavioural problems often occur. Hoffman, Hutchinson and Reiss (2009) concluded that positive social environment has been linked to enhancing students’ behaviour, academic achievement, and motivation. It also has a positive impact on the formation of students’ attitudes and behaviours in many key areas like making decisions, equality and justice, caring, sensitivity, and discipline of a student. Hence, the environment is a contributing factor to students’ delinquency such as loitering, playing truant, bullying, skipping, and more.

Adolescent stage is a transition stage from childhood to adulthood. Their emotions and minds will easily change according to the environment. The existence of internet cafe and various entertainment centres and others that provide a variety of products that can promote illicit social ills. It gives positive impact on formation of students’ behaviour in developing essential soft skills like making decisions, love for social justice and equality as well as nurturing caring nature, sensitivity and shaping the discipline. Human behaviours and shaped based on what they observe in the surrounding environment. Therefore, bad and problematic behaviours are the outcomes of negative environment (Abd Murad, 2012; Ahmad Firdaus, 2016).

Over the years, there has been an increasing amount of literature on social environment. Problematic habits and behaviours are formed as the result of what a person or an individual leaves from his environment. The changes in behaviour, may evolve according to the environment. Environment can serve as a powerful tool to shape the behavioural learning processes of an individual (Aldridge, Mcchesney, & Afari, 2017). Ironically, humans create an environment system and learn from it which also includes negative elements that shape the youngsters’ behaviours. This is due to the immature state of their thinking faculty and lack of life experience. Both of these elements trigger behavioural problems. Therefore, these physiological attributes of these children, teenagers and young adults are making them vulnerable to the negative effects of media and environment (Sabitha & Mahmood, 1995).

In addition, most student misconduct is due to hanging out. A student who likes to hang out is vulnerable to environmental influences and leads to various misconduct such as smoking, drug abuse, steal and so on. "165,000 criminal cases recorded in 2005, about 14,000 criminal cases were conducted involving students. In another study found that social environment factors became the major contributor to student behaviour (Newcomb & Felix-Ortiz, 1992). The theories presented suggest that if students are too vulnerable to factors that risk their inclination to become delinquent is high (Turner et al., 2009; Aldridge et al., 2017). This behavioral problem is found in a risky social environment and school atmosphere that often interacts with other factors affecting deviant behaviour (Farrel & Flannery 2005). Other studies have shown consistent findings of the relationship between the rate of drug intake and the increased risk involved in misconduct among students (Kandel & Yamaguchi 2002; Ismail, Ghazalli, Ibrahim, 2015; Rosser et al 2005; Fergusson, Boden & Horwood 2006).

        From a personal point of view, as developed by the Maturation theory of substance use theory by Haley & Baryza (1990) concludes that material retrieval in childhood is a result of stress or misery in their environment, leading to using material to control his behavior (Wolfe & Mash 2006). The environmental and socio-demographic environment as above has confirmed that most detainees who are trained have low levels of education, have no fixed and unemployed jobs (Rafidah, 2007). Therefore, this work shall assess school physical environment and its impacts on students’ social behaviour.

1.2  Statement of the Problem

It is no more news that secondary schools in Nigeria are not living up to expectation in delivering quality education expected of the system. Many challenges seem to be bedevilling the secondary school system ranging from lack of facilities, old and dilapidated structures, inadequate instructional materials, management policies and unqualified teachers there by making the system ineffective (Wanjobi, 2011). Secondary schools need to be effective so as to be able to perform their primary functions of effective schooling expected of them at every point in time and significantly contribute to social vices behaviour exhibited by the students.

A critical look at the learning environment in secondary schools shows that many of the classrooms, laboratories, examination halls, libraries and office furniture are in a terrible state and calls for repairs. Most classrooms have no windows and thereby causing hazards to life. Mutiu (1994) and Ahmed (2003) lamented that in most of the nation’s secondary schools, teaching and learning take place under a non-conducive environment. Besides, the psychosocial environment, which has to do with interpersonal relationships among students and between students and their teachers appear to be non-conducive and thereby encourage the students to be involving in all manners of bad behaviours like examination malpractice, truancy, coming late to school and so on. Teachernet (2008), opined that the school environment can greatly influence the academic performance and effective schooling. Creemers (1994) maintained that a safe environment is the one that is free from threat of personal harm and conducive for effective teaching and learning.

In Nigeria today, educational stakeholders have expressed concern about management policies perceived to be lacking and hence affecting management of secondary schools. There are problems of students’ unrest, improper waste management, security challenge and improper supervision arising from bad management policies which are directly and indirectly affecting the social behaviour of students. Many schools have pot-holes in the greater portions of their classroom begging for repairs or renovation. It is very bad that many students sit and write on the bare floor as a result of insufficient classroom seats, a case that is most common in the rural areas. This will surely lead to examination malpractices among students. Non-attendance to these issues by the various educational stakeholders will put our educational system in jeopardy as it will bring about more and more antisocial behaviours among secondary school students in the country. Therefore, this study is designed to assess school physical environment and its impacts on students’ social behaviour.

1.3  Research Objectives

The general objective or main objective of this study is to assess school physical environment and its impacts on students’ social behaviour. The specific objectives are:

i)            To ascertain the impacts of school physical environment and its impacts on students’ social behaviour.

ii)           To assess the effects of social environment on student behaviour.

iii)         To examine the prevalence of school physical environment on students’ social behaviour.

1.4  Research Questions

The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:

i)            What are the impacts of school physical environment and its impacts on students’ social behaviour?

ii)           What are the effects of social environment on student behaviour?

iii)         What is the prevalence of school physical environment on students’ social behaviour?

1.5  Research Hypotheses

The following will be the research hypotheses to be tested for this study:

i)            There is no significant relationship between school physical environment and its students’ social behavior.

ii)          There is no significant influence of social environment on student behavior.

1.6  Significance of the Study

This study will provide an insight to secondary schools’ management through its recommendations on how to tackle problems associated with availability, adequacy utilization and maintenance of physical facilities in secondary schools in Nigeria. Those intending to establish schools would surely benefit from the study. The study would guide them in making vital decisions such as determining the physical facilities needs of the school, which would depend on the number and type of students to be immediately accommodated, and the number to be accommodated in the nearest future.

Furthermore, it is expected that the study will motivate all financiers of education the government, Parent Teachers Association, individual parents, philanthropists, non-governmental organizations, voluntary agencies, good spirited individuals and lovers of education to assess safety in our secondary schools to enable them determine whether or not their contributions are needed for improvement. Similarly, the study will serve as a guide to students on the extent of utilization of their school facilities for them to make adjustment where necessary. Adjustment would be necessary where facilities are either under or over utilized. Secondary schools’ security outfit will on their own part be guided by the findings of the study on how best to handle the issue of safeguarding and enforcing rules on the use of physical facilities. In addition, the study is profoundly significant in helping to save cost and prevent economic waste. Economic waste can also be avoided when available facilities are given adequate maintenance instead of making undue replacement.

Generally, the results of the study will help all users of secondary schools’ facilities especially the academic staff to improve on teaching and learning in Nigeria secondary schools, by taking seriously the issues of provision, management and maintenance of physical facilities as they are highly significant in implementation of educational programmes.

1.7  Scope of the Study

The study will be conducted to assess school physical environment and its impacts on students’ social behaviour. Thus, the study will use selected secondary in Nigeria as a case study.

1.8  Limitation of the Study

According to Best and Khan (1993) limitations are conditions beyond the ability of the researcher that may place restriction on the conclusions of the study and the application to other situations. The first limitation will be on the part of obtaining information from the students where some may likely not be willing to give information regarding their perception towards their effective schooling for fear of victimization by the school management. Efforts will be made to assure them of confidentiality on their identities. The other limitation is on inability of the researcher to carry out the research in the whole of Jos. The researcher will only carry out the research in sampled school. However, the researcher will surely come up with the findings that will be useful for this study.

1.9   Definition of Terms

The following terms were used in the course of this study:

Infrastructure: refers to the basic systems and services that are necessary for an organization to run smoothly. This study will mainly focus on physical facilities in the schools.

Learning environment: are those aspects within the pupils’ surrounding at school that influence the teaching-learning process.

Physical environment: refers to the level of upkeep, ambient noise, lighting, indoor air quality and/or thermal comfort of the school's physical building and its location within the community.

Social behaviour: is behaviour among two or more organisms within the same species, and encompasses any behaviour in which one member affects the other. This is due to an interaction among those members.

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