Peer Group – Its Influence on Academic Performance of Students

Peer Group – Its Influence on Academic Performance of Students

Peer Group – The influence of peer group is one of the major factors to be considered in the development of students in secondary schools. Morrish (2001) a peer group is an equal group, which is composed of individuals with like minds. The relationship involves interaction of equals, thus it is relationship involves interaction of equals, thus it is possible to say that there are age peers, sex peers, intellectual peers, grade peers, social peers and variety of other peers. The peer groups are not permanent in terms of membership; they change their membership as they pass through different stages of development.

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According to Cookey (1990) peer group formation arises through the in born urge in human being to realize themselves in society and the basic and potent human need to associate with other people in various social organizations. Therefore, with the above statement it would be agreed upon that the formation of peer group is not limited to a particular age that is, it comes naturally in individuals. Peer group are not peculiar to adolescent babies have them as well as adults. The peers that infants have are of relatively less importance in their immediate development, parents, family and their immediate physical environment have more or greater influence on them (Spillman, 1998).

At the adolescent stage that is at secondary school age according to Adeola et al (1993) adds that the child spends more time in formal school away from home, he will also spend more time with other school children not only in the classroom, but also in other types of activities such as foot ball and handcraft work, by these contact important attitudes and values are formed. In other words the child in school learns not only from his teacher but also from his peer group.

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Dubey et al (1999) wrote that some factors like sex, age, social status or ethnicity can also determine membership of peer groups. In most group for example, girls may identify with a peer group of girls, it is this group, which is likely to serve them as a reference group because of their sex role. Children in Nigeria schools are most likely to associates first with those who came from the same area, speak the same local language and have other things in common.

Cole and Hall (2000) after extensive survey of various relevant studies came out with extensive list of characteristics that have been found to be associated with being liked or not being liked among adolescent. They pointed out that characteristics associated with not being liked are not always the opposite of those associated with being liked. Pre-adolescent friendship is relatively unemotional, on mutuality of interest in activities that they permit. In these friendship, the activities involved is of primary importance, the question now is whether or not peer group has any influence on what is learnt in the school and how it has influence learning and vice versa.

Some researchers believe that the peer group, which is an informal aspect of life, does not have any influence on what is learnt in the classroom. The peer group, which is primarily concerned with the social life in the school and the academic work of the students. Contrary to this view are some other authors that are against the above conceptions. In the opinion of Hargreabes (1996) stats that “although, some informal peer who values academic achievement are looked down upon around the class” other informal peer values obstructing teachers efforts, he noted students who do not cooperate with teachers efforts encourage truancy and some times use physical violence against those who cooperate with the teachers.

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In a strongly peer oriented group, there maybe strong disapproval towards those who achieve very high or those who make a lot of effort to make good grades. In support of Coleman, some authors likewise stated “a major factor responsible for dropping out of school among is the peer group pressure”. The peer group is usually observable in individual and from it connotation, coupled with the submission of the above authorities. One will observe or negatively academic performance of students due to the characteristics behaviour inherent in its activities.

Contrary, it is ideal to observe that the peer group has learning effects on the academic performance of the students; there is a saying “show me your friends and I will tell you who you are”. With this, one would see that the individual are being assessed through the type of friends they move with. For instance, if a child moves with a group whose interest are reading and solving problems on mathematics always, he will surely want to imitate them thereby improving on his academic performance, and the reverse will be the case of the child who moves with a truant and never serious group.

The peer group influences not only the intellectual aspect of students alone, but also the moral, emotional, psychological, and physiological aspect of a child. Through peer group influence, adolescent are always anxious to do what their peer group do. Reading, joining societies like Boys Scout, Girls Guide, Choir group etc. all these could help in boosting their academic performance. Also the peer group interest maybe sniping out of school to watch films indulging in sexual acts etc. all these could have negative effect on the student academic performance (Hullen 1997).

Conclusively, the peer groups are different in various set up, concerning characteristics, status and operation. It iw the type of peer group that a child move with that determine his ambition to a group whose ambition are to become medical doctors, lawyers, architect etc such a child maybe ambitious to be like his peer.

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On the other hand if a child falls into a group whose interest are to indulge in sexual harassment e.g. raping, taking of drugs, rioting, absenteeism from school, stealing, lateness to school etc such a child may perform poorly in the classroom and may never do well in life.

The effect of all these are:

  1. Mental disorder
  2. Abnormality
  • It may also lead to criminal activities and such a child may become a nuisance to the society and at last become misfit or deviant in the society.

This article was extracted from a Project Research Work Topic


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