A STUDY OF THE INFLUENCE OF DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY ON THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS
This research work was aimed at investigating the influence of developmental psychology on the academic performance of secondary school students. The focus of this project was on Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State. Data was collected by means of questionnaire which was administered to the two hundred (200) sample respondents sleeted through random sampling technique. The data collected from the respondents were analyzed and interpreted through the use of simple percentages. The findings revealed that problem of poor academic performance by the secondary school students, has to do with the secondary school student mind set, the kind of homes they come from, the kind of friends they associate with, the absence of a developmental psychological centre in their schools, lack of trained staffs, absence of a guidance counsellor, among others, all these and more led to the final conclusion which the researcher arrived at, that a developmental psychological centre has a major influence on the academic performance of secondary schools, and thereafter the researcher made some recommendations.
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
This project is centered around the employment of developmental psychology in the secondary school education, in Oredo local government area and the extent to which its impact has influenced the student of the schools in that local government area. One of the most pressing issues in the minds of people in Nigeria in regard to education today is the standard or quality being achieved from the system. Qualitative education should lead to verifiable improvements through knowledge and skills. In modern times of technological advancement all over the world, it is possible to acquire knowledge in fields of human endeavors and good communication skills. The education sector is geared towards achieving the national goals of economic and social development. One way of achieving this is through the education of the student in secondary schools. Nigeria is a developing country with different kinds of problems. Student’s performance in their academics is as a result of their mental development how they develop mentally determines their outcome physically. Their mental development can either have a negative or positive influence on their academic performance. Nigeria school today, particularly in secondary school, student perform poorly due to the environment and their mindset.
The primary function of secondary school is to prepare the student for the feature, how to adapt the influence, the environment in a positive way and also to prepare them for tertiary institution. The stages of development of human being after birth begins at infancy from where a baby goes through the other stages of a toddler, early childhood, late childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, middle age, and old age. At these different stages of development there is a need to apply a specific methodology in other to achieve the best result in educating individuals based on the particular stage which they may fall in at a given time of their total development. Developmental psychology, also known as human development, is the scientific study of systematic psychological changes that occur in human beings over the course of their life span. Originally developmental psychology was concerned with infants and children, the field has expanded to include adolescence and adult age development, ageing, and the entire life span.
This field examines change across a board range of topics including motor skills and other psycho-physiological processes such as cognitive development involving areas like problem solving moral understanding and conceptual understanding language acquisition, another psycho-physiological process covered in the field developmental psychology, comprises of social, personality and emotional development. Other psycho-physiological process treated in this project is self-concept and identify formation. The fallen standard of education in Nigeria makes imperative a research into the methods and techniques with which student are educated in secondary school, the extent to which they are applied and the effects they ultimately have on these students. Developmental psychology explores issues such as the extent to which development occurs through the gradual accumulation of knowledge versus stage like development, or the extent to which children are born with inmate mental structure as opposed to generally baring through experience. This research work aims at assessing the study of developmental psychology and asserting its influence on secondary school student, and suggesting more effective ways in which the study of developmental psychology can aid in improving student performance in their academics.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
With the last three decades, it is observed that the performance of student in Oredo Local Government Area, has drastically dropped at an alarming rate, particularly in secondary schools. this is very much reflected in the annual results of the senior secondary school certificate examination (SSCE). At both the junior and senior secondary schools respectively. This has led the government agencies and ministry responsible for education in Oredo Local Government, to demand solutions and reforms from both private and public secondary schools within the Local Government Area. There are more complains that various policies have been put forward, more funding has been called for, yet the decline of the quality of education in Oredo Local Government has steadily continued. Export argue that the areas of guidance and counseling, personality, social and emotional assessment of students have been gravely underestimated and neglected in lieu of more lectures and reading hours. It is assumed that this has contributed the most to the lapse in student’s performance, by having overlooked their behavioural tendency and general psyche towards learning. In view of these several question have raised towards finding a lasting solution to the problem of declining academic performance in Oredo Local Government, these include:
In view of the entire problem currently plaguing the educational sector in Nigeria, there was need to raise certain question to act as a guide in creating a model under which the research will be carried out.
1) Are there developmental psychology centres in secondary school in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State?
2) Do students pay voluntarily visits to the developmental psychological centres in their schools?
3) Does the application of a development psychology is secondary schools have any influence on secondary school students behaviour?
4) Do student improve academically when developmental psychology is employed in their schools?
5) Do teachers in the secondary school have a basic knowledge of developmental psychology?
6) Are the developmental psychological centres adequately manned by skilled staff?
7) Do peer groups have effect on the academic performance of secondary school students?
8) Does the general psychology of secondary school students have effect on their academic performance?
9) Can adequate communication with a guidance counselor improve the academic performance of secondary school students?
10) Do children living with both parents performance better academically than those living with a single parent?
11) Do you agree introverts perform better academically in secondary schools than extroverts?
12) Students whose schools have guidance and counseling offices perform better in schools than those whose schools do not have a guidance and counseling office?
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
This study is specifically designed to research into the study of developmental psychology and its influence on secondary school students in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State. Emphasiswill be placed on the existence of a Developmental Psychology centre and a guidance counseling office in the secondary schools, in Oredo Local Government Area and the quality of staffing manning those offices. The nature of family issues, single parent’s home, peer group and personality of students in these institutions will be examined to paint a clear picture of their effects on the student’s academic and extracurricular performance. Insight provided by these study, and the solution proffered will create abroad based platform from which society can squarely tackle the persistent problems of dwindling educational performance of students, especially in secondary schools.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This research has the goal of uplifting the educational system in Nigeria, by harping on the importance of applying developmental psychology in the teaching of adolescence during a critical developmental stage of their lives. It will provide the missing perspective responsible for the failure of all efforts by the government and private sector to uplift educational standard in Nigeria while highlighting developmental psychology as a field on which much emphasis has to be laid in order to achieve a sustainable improvement in the educational sector of Nigeria.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This project is focused on the entire schools located in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State. This is because it is in this local government area that we have the major complains about the poor academic performance of secondary school students. The school will include government and private owned secondary schools. There are nineteen secondary schools in Oredo Local Government Area, five of the secondary schools are Jesse, five in Mosogar and nine in New Benin, being the biggest community in Oredo Local Government Area. Oredo Local Government has an area of 536 km2 with a population of 203, 592 people (National population commission, 2006 census). The quality and details of the content of this paper is not any way compromised, thus it is recommended for further academic exercise and public consumption.
DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
Development: Is defined as the gradual growth of something, so that it becomes more advance, stronger etc.
Psychology: Is defined as the scientific study of the mind and how it influences.
Behaviour: How one thinks is what makes them act or behave in a particular way.
Guidance: Is defined as help or advice that is given to somebody especially by somebody older or with more experience activities all takes place under the guidance of an experience tutor.
Counsel: Is defined as an advice especially given by older people or experts.
Counseling: Is defined as a professional advice about a problem.
Guidance counselor: Is defined as somebody who advices children.
Peer: Is defined as a person who is the same age or who has the same social status as you.
Peer group: Is defined as a group of people of the same age or social status.