1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The issue of poor learning environment has become a menace on the educational industry. As such, the security and safety of both the teachers and the students are ignored resulting to poor student performance. It was the view of Nnachi (2010) that poor learning environments negatively affect cognitive growth of the learner. Learning takes place in multiple settings and the learning environment can be structured or unstructured and the learning in different environments can complement each other. Formal and non-formal education occurs mainly in structured environments in the form of institutions (schools, community centres, multimedia centres, learning villages/cities, etc.). Informal education on the other hand takes place in both structured and unstructured environments. Prayoonwong & Nimnuan (2010) asserted that understanding how students learn as well as their performances is by focusing on the learning environment. Al Rukban (2010) defined learning environment as everything that is happening in the classroom or department, faculty, or university. Learning environment refers to the diverse physical locations, contexts, and cultures in which students learn. Higgins (2015) buttressed the term as encompassing the culture of a school or class and its presiding ethos and characteristics, including how students interact with and treat one another, as well as the ways in which teachers may organize an educational setting to facilitate learning. Since the qualities and characteristics of a learning environment are determined by a wide variety of factors, school policies, governance structures, and other features may also be considered elements of a “learning environment”. Intelligence is not the only determinant of academic achievement of a student. Lizzio, Wilson & Simons (2013) noted that academic achievement of a student is most often associated with a lot of components of learning environment. According to Bosque and Dore (2014), teaching and learning environment ought to implement six (6) functions: inform, communicate, collaborate, produce, scaffold and manage. They further added that “conceptually speaking, the learning environment refers to the whole range of components and activities within which learning happens”. Hence, learning environment takes into account several variables that have direct and indirect effect on students. Though attention has been focused on the quality of teachers and non-commitment of the students to their studies due to distractions that hamper learning but very little attention has been given to the learning environment. But the environment in which the students learn such as classrooms, libraries and information centers, technical workshops, information and communication technology facilities, multipurpose halls and performing art spaces, laboratories, health, physical exercises and play grounds, conveniences, sanitation, maintenance culture, aesthetics among others are variables that affect students’ learning and academic performance. Hence, the learning environment remains an important area that should be studied and well managed to enhance students’ academic performance. The fact that learning environment can impact on students academic performance has been established by studies (Glassman 1994, Persaud and Turner 2018).The physical characteristics of schools have a variety of effects on teachers, 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 lead to poor performance and higher absentee rates (Fraser 1985, Lyons 2010). These factors can adversely affect student behaviour and lead to higher levels of frustration among teachers, and poor learning attitude among students. Beyond the direct effects that poor facilities have on students’ ability to learn, the combination of poor facilities, which create an uncomfortable and uninviting workplace for teachers, combined with frustrating behaviour by students including poor concentration and hyperactivity, lethargy, or apathy, creates a stressful set of working conditions for teachers. Because stress and job dissatisfaction are common pre-cursors to lowered teacher enthusiasm, it is possible that the aforementioned characteristics of school facilities have an effect upon the academic performance of student. The issue of poor academic performance of students in Nigeria has been of much concern to the government, parents, teachers and even student themselves. The quality of education not only depends on the teachers as reflected in the performance of their duties, but also in the effective coordination of the learning environment (Ajao 2010) learning environment which include instructional spaces planning, administrative places planning, circulation spaces planning, spaces for conveniences planning, accessories planning, the teachers as well as the students themselves are essential in teaching-learning process. The extent to which student learning could be enhanced depends on their location within the school compound, the structure of their classroom, availability of instructional facilities and accessories. It is believed that a well planned school will gear up expected outcomes of education that will facilitate good social, political and economic emancipation, effective teaching and learning process and academic performance of the students. Relating this study to international occurrences are the assertions of Williams, Persaud, and Turner (2018), quoting Marsden (2015), which reported that safe and orderly classroom environment (aspect of instructional space), School facilities (accessories) were significantly related to students’ academic performance in schools. The three researchers, also quoted Glassman (1994), asserting that a comfortable and caring environment among other treatments helped to contribute to students` academic performance. Previous studies have investigated the relationship of poor learning environment including problems with student-teacher ratio, school location, school population, classroom ventilation, poor lighting in classrooms, and inconsistent temperatures in the classroom with student health problems, student behaviour, and student achievement (Crandell & Smaldino, 2011; Davis, 2010; Johnson, 2010; Lyons, 2010;Moore, 2013;Stricherz, 2011; Tanner, 2011). To complement these studies, the present research is to examine the aforementioned areas of learning environment as it affects student’s academic performance in Nigerian schools.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In Nigeria, many secondary schools are been established at various places by government, private organizations or individuals (Tella, 2018). As a result, teaching and learning takes place under different environment. Every school has its location, facilities and also operates under different classroom condition, but all the students are expected to write the same standard examination (i.e. Senior Secondary Certificate Examination) at a completion of secondary education. Chan (2016) stated that a good learning environment is associated with pastel coloring, appropriate lighting, controlled acoustics and proper air ventilation as a direct impact. A good learning environment frees students from physical distress, makes it easy for students to concentrate on school work and induces students in logical thinking. Students in good learning environment undoubtedly attain higher achievement. On the other hand, a poor learning environment is usually dull in coloring, inadequate in lighting, noisy in the surroundings and insufficient in air ventilation. Students in poor learning environment are under many physical constraints. Only a few students with great determination and self-discipline can overcome all the difficulties created by such hazardous environments. On the other hand, he further asserted that students are very sensitive to their learning environment. They respond to good and poor learning environments by expressing positive and negative attitudes respectively as an indirect impact. With a positive attitude towards their learning environment, students learn with high motivation and undoubtedly are able to demonstrate better performance. On the other hand, students' dissatisfaction with poor learning environments will lead to lowering their interest and enthusiasm in learning. Consequently, poor student performance as a result of poor learning environment is no surprise.
1.3 AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine the influence of poor learning environment on student’s academic performance in secondary schools. Other general objectives of the study are:
1. To examine the learning environment in secondary schools in Agwu L.G.A, Enugu State.
2. To examine the extent school buildings affect student’s academic performance.
3. To examine the influence of poor learning environment on students academic performance.
4. To examine the extent library services affect student’s academic performance.
5. To examine the relationship between student’s academic performance and their physical environment.
6. To examine the impact of the use of instructional materials on the performance of students in secondary schools in Agwu L.G.A, Enugu.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. How is the learning environment in secondary schools in Agwu L.G.A, Enugu State?
2. To what extent do school buildings affect student’s academic performance?
3. How is the influence of poor learning environment on student’s academic performance?
4. To what extent do library services affect student’s academic performance?
5. What is the relationship between student’s academic performance and their physical environment?
6. Does the use of instructional materials have impact on the performance of students in secondary schools in Agwu L.G.A, Enugu?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no significant influence of poor learning environment on student’s academic performance
H1: There is a significant influence of poor learning environment on student’s academic performance
H0: There is no significant relationship between student’s academic performance and their physical environment.
H1: There is a significant relationship between student’s academic performance and their physical environment
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The findings from this study will be of immense benefits to the government, principals, teachers, parents as well as student researchers.
The findings will help the government or the policy makers in formulating effective planning and implementation policies and programmes for improved school academic activities. It will also provide policy makers with intelligent forecast and analysis of future needs of the schools in the areas of building and facilities.
It will provide the school principals the opportunity to improve in school supervision so as to ensure both qualities teaching and learning in the schools. It will enable them appreciate the contribution of school facilities and equipment on students academic achievement. The findings will enable the teachers to appreciate the need for proper instructional delivery. It will help the teacher to improve both in teaching effectiveness and increased productivity in the schools.
It will help the parents in determining the choice of the type of school for their children. This is because, their wards will enjoy good school learning environment that will lead to quality school products. Finally, it will be of benefit to the student researchers as it will provide a valid working document or literature in investigating other areas not covered by this study. Thus, it will serve as a point of reference to future researchers in the field.
1.7SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on influence of poor learning environment on academic performance of student’s in secondary schools in Agwu L.G.A, Enugu state.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Impact: As used here, impact means a noticeable effect of school facilities on the teaching and learning in junior secondary schools.
Physical Facilities: here refers to facilities that are available to facilitate students‟ outcome. It includes Classroom/Desk and Chairs, Staffroom/Tables and Chairs, Laboratory/ equipment, Workshop/equipment, Instructional materials, Toilet, Kitchen, Dining Halls, Assembly Halls, power plant, School farm/Garden, Pitch, Sports equipment, Sources of water and others.
Academic Performance: simply means the outcome of the educational goals that are achieved either by the students or teacher. It is a measurement in terms of specific and desirable results in examination.
Learning: Activity of obtaining knowledge or connection between response and stimuli.
School: A school is an institution designed for the teaching of students under the direction of teachers.
Learning Environment: this refers to the diverse physical locations, contexts and culture in which students learns. In other words, it is the condition and influence which a learner comes in contact with, resulting in a series of complex interactions and ensuring change in behaviour.