BACKGROUND OF STUDY
The educational foundation of a child starts right from the home. It starts with informal education which being with the parents when the child is of age he will be sent to school for final education. At school the child is exposes to so mine people like the teacher, classmates and health of school. All these people associated with the education of the child certainly influence the students greatly. The academic performance of the child are greatly influence by the students who are mostly his classmates and peer group because he spend most of his time with them. The peer group is therefore the first social group outside the home in which the child attempt to gain acceptance. Each peer group has its code of conduct which does not always confirm with advance standard. The peer group becomes an agency of enculturation and learning. Even very young children develop a sense of self from their perception of important people in their surroundings including relatives, teachers and peer socio-economics status, ethnicity and parents occupation affects how families view themselves and the process by which they socialize their children (Bornstein, 2002). Later as children leave their home setting their self perception and socializing skills become influenced by how their peers view them. When children move out from family to child care centers, school and the community at large they begin to form attachments and friendships emerge through their play. These relationship influence behaviours. Even infants and toddlers are observed reacting to other infants by touching them, by crying when others cry and later by offering nurturance or comfort. At about age three, early friendship begins to have a more lasting influence (Parke, 1990) peer influence on behaviour gradually becomes more dominant.
Smart and Smart (2000) defines peers as equal or in the usual meaning as friend of about the same classmembers of the same society such as the boys scout, girls, guide, chorister, football team, social clubs can form peer group. The peer group influence on students academic performance depends greatly on the skills and potential of the students. Derville, B. (2001) observed that as a child grows up his own peer group of companion are likely to become of greater importance to him than his parents and teachers. Harris (1998, 2002) and Rowe (1994) maintained that peer groups have an even stronger influence than that of parents, although that extreme position has been refuted by other researchers (Berk, 2005).
Gradually, children discover that others can share their feelings or attitudes or have guilt different ones. The perspective of others will affect ho children feel about their own families. Children usually have a family view of their own and of other cultures. So when confronted with other perspectives, they often need to re think their own view points. It is often difficult for chuckler to adjust to the idea that other families can function radically differently from their own and yet hold many of the same attitudes and beliefs and be equally nurturing and secure. The peer group serves as a barometer for children examining themselves and their feelings about self and family. The peer group also influence development of children’s socializing skills. These early friendship help children learn how to negotiate and relate to other including their siblings and other family members. They learn from peer on how to cooperate and socialize according to group norms and group- sanctioned modes of behaviour. The peer group can influence what the child values, know, wear eats and learn.
The extent of this influence, however, depends on other situational constraints, such as the age and personality of children of the group (Harris, 1998, Hartyp, 1983). In its most acceptance form, the peer groups is healthy coming of age arbiter, by which children grasps negotiating skills and learn to deal with hostility and to solve problems in a social context. In its most destructive mode, the peer group can demand blind obedience to a group norm, which can result in socially alienated gangs with pathological outlooks (Peer, 1987). Despite so much change in today’s society, the fundamental tasks of growing up still endure to find a place in a sense of belonging, to identify and master tasks that are generally recognized as having values and therefore can earn respect by acquiring skills to cope with them to acquire a sense of worth as a person, and to develop reliable and predictable relationship with other people especially a few close friends and loved ones. Conceptualization of the term students is derived from Latin word “stud” which means growing up. It is a period of transaction in which the individual transforms from childhood to adulthood.
Wentzel (1989) and Lingrett (1995) found out that as children grow and move to adulthood, involvement with and influence of peer identification increase as modeling value of the family decreases. In most cases, peer tends to replace the modeling value of the family context during early childhood. As a result of the social acknowledgement that students look for, they are under certain among of pressure that drives them to abide by the peer convictions or rejections. The way social interaction affect academic achievement of students is important for parents, educators, and policy makers. The peer group’s influence on a students especially during adolescents and early adult hood is a powerful force for both pre-social and anti-social development. Academic performance has also been a subject of intense study. Caltern (1998) came up with the findings that strong relationship does exist between school adjustment behaviour and peer acceptance. It was also found out that strong and quality peer associations are related to poor or good academic performance and successful school transition. Peer influence is one of the most frequently referred to forms of negative peer influence. It is particularly common because students are forced to spend large amount of time in fixed groups (school and sub groups within them) regardless to their opinion of these groups. In addition to this, they lack the maturity to handle it. Also students naturally wish to behave negatively towards those who are not members of their peer groups. However, students can also have positive effect for example if one is involved with a group of people that are ambitious and working to succeed one might feel pressured to follow suit to avoid feeling excluded from the group.
Positive peer influence on academic performance depends on the students self identity, self esteem and self reliance. Peer influence can mobilize student’s energy and motivate for success. Peer can and do act as positive role models. Negative behaviour that his or her value might otherwise reject. If a student is influence negatively from peer it affects their academic performance. Stronger student do have an impact on their peers and actually help improve the over all academic performance, for example, if student are friends to secondary school dropout, they have tendency to be absent from school, have lower grade and less positive attitudes towards school, they are less popular and less likely to plan to attend higher institutions. If dropout maintains contact with friends who have stayed in schools, however, these friends may provide moral support for returning to school. Attitude and aspiration of peers as well as peer expectations and standards affect individual’s efforts and achievement in school for many secondary school students, achieving in school is in direct conflict with peer acceptance. However, it is through the peer group that students are most likely to be introduced to problem behaviour such as drinking, smoking, diligence and low academic performance. Positive peer influence generates more alternative solution to problem, proposed more mature solution and are less aggressive than students who are influenced negatively. Students are attracted to join peer groups because such groups provide them with sources of information needed to be empowered academically, vocationally, psychologically or otherwise and give the feedback about the appropriateness of their emotions especially when students are highly stressed or under stressed (Schachter, 1989).
STATEMENT OF PROBLEMS
The influences that peer group have on ones academic achievement is enormous. The ways and manners by which peer influence affects students academic performance needs to be researched and documented. This will assist parents and counsellors to understand the pattern of peer influence and ways to curb negative influence.
1. Bad teaching methods on the part of the teacher could be encouraged by negative activities in the peer group.
2. Lack of school materials can make the children to be indolent at school work which could help to encourage negative activities in the peer group and this help to lower academic performance.
3. Indiscipline in schools could encourage negative activities among members of a peer group and this can lower academic performance.
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this study or research work is to achieve the following objectives on the academic performance of students on secondary school in Egor Local government Area of Edo State.
1. examine the concept and nature of peer group
2. discuss the challenges associated with students
3. analyze means by which peer group influence in school students
4. discuss the effects of peer group influence on academic performance of students.
SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
This study is important for several reasons. Firstly, the study will give the researcher an in-depth insight into how the activities of the peer group really influence. Secondly, the researcher will also create a source of awareness for teacher and parents that uncontrolled negativities among peer groups to which their children belong can lower or increase the academic performance.
Lastly, the study will help to highlight area where peer groups activities could have negative effect on the part of the school children so that they could be checked by the parents and teachers.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This research work focuses on the influence of peer group on student’s academic performance. This research work covers four selected secondary schools in Egor Local Government Area of Edo State.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
For the purpose of clarification, the following terms which are used in the content of study are hereby defined.
1. Peer group. This refers to children or adolescents who are of the same age or maturity, level and have regular contact with each other.
2. Peer group. Peer influence can be described as the pressure adolescents feel from their peers.
3. Academic performance. This has to do with children programmes at school work in the area of ability to read and write, ability to speak good English, to solve problems in mathematics and ability to use their initiated under any circumstances.
4. Adolescent. This refers to the transitory period where a child moves to adulthood. The adolescent years fall with 12-18 years.
5. Social time. This has to do with discipline and good responses to academic work by both teachers and students alike. The ability to submit willingly to constituted, where this exist, there is adequate room for academic achievement.
6. In- school adolescent. This refers to the adolescents who are still in the formal school system as opposed to those who have dropped out of school.
7. Social status. This has to do with the academic and home background of the parents of the children who are subject of this research. It is observed that children from higher social background usually perform better to some extent in academic work than those from the lower social background in the area of ability to speak simple and correct English and to write.
8. Truancy. It is unjustified absence from school on a child’s own initiat5ive without the permission of parents or school. a truant is any child that is irregular at school for he finds other places more attractive than school work, and all it stands for. He may be an individual who just does not want to go to school and makes plan to do some other things else. He wanders away from these difficulties and in at least held the drift into delinquency.
Truancy is a series of sociological problem which can lead to juvenile delinquency and ultimately to crime. The pupils who play truant are generally difficulties in anxious and highly sensitive in class and have difficulties in their dealing with other people there.