Peer groups are simply people of the same age and ability who are knitted together by a feeling derived from a shared concern as seekers of what was desirable for the group. The peer group consists of the child's friends, and equal members of the group frequently share characteristics or interests. Peer group interests are fleeting and transitory (Ezewu 2002).
Furthermore, the children's peer group membership changes as they progress through different stages of development, and they can belong to multiple peer groups at the same time (Ezewu, 2002). Members' roles are less defined in some cases, and they change frequently in others, making it unclear who is a member and who is not. The child has a position in the group and is expected to think and behave in a certain way. The peer group establishes certain standards for the group, as well as norms and values that they adhere to.
Peer group influences are more pronounced and noticeable in secondary schools than in primary schools, owing in part to the fact that some children leave home and attend boarding schools where parental supervision and contact is severely limited. The peer group has a large influence on the child both inside and outside of school because members tend to be comfortable with the group norms and values. Peer pressure can sometimes lead to aggressive behavior, such as (rioting in school).
Peer pressure causes students to form cliques with names like Terror, Shark, Snake, Tempo, Blue Queen, Black Angel, and so on. Students are always eager to initiate their peers, whether good or bad, and they would like to attend church or mosque due to peer influences. They can also join clubs such as the Girl Guides, Boy Scouts, Brigade, Red Cross, Savan, and others (Owuamanam, 2001).
Before a child can be accepted or rejected by a peer group, they must first consider their own “acceptance.” Friendship, sociability, and introversion are some of the characteristics that are likely to lead to a child's acceptance into a group. Much may also depend on what a specific group values in its members (Piaget, 1998).
When frustration arises as a result of conflict with family members, adults, or societal norms, the formation of a peer group may occur. Effects are typically created to compensate for rejection and to profit from leisure. The child will want to gain freedom from home in order to be loyal to the group as a result of the formation of a peer group.
According to Adeola et al. (2002), “peer group formation may occur from each extensive interaction with others initiate relationship develop and by these contacts important attitudes and values are formed.” Positive or negative attitudes can have an impact on a child's academic performance.
Truancy, persistent lateness to school, juvenile delinquency, stealing, absenteeism from school, disobedience, laziness, disregarding school rules and regulations, and other cases of group behavior may be detrimental to students' academic work.
On the other hand, the influence could be geared toward positive aspects of students' academic performance, such as forming reading groups, going to the library, being eager to join others in answering questions in the classroom, and making friends with brilliant students, particularly in the areas of mathematics, English language, social studies, and so on.
In addition, the peer group serves some important functions that have a significant impact on students' academic performance. These are their names:
1. They provide a significant amount of emotional security to the peer group, which aids the child's intellectual development.
2. The peer group provides students with a wide range of experiences that can improve their academic performance.
3. They also allow for the development of loyalties that extend beyond the immediate family, such as political and social loyalties, which are important for future adjustment.
4. They provide a diverse range of males who will aid in the development of identity diffusion.
5. The peer group helps pre-adolescents transition from family to peer orientation.
6. They allow for the development of interpersonal relationships.
The peer group establishes the standards of teaching and behavior that its members are to follow, as well as the attitudes, opinions, and ideas that they are to adopt. Cultures are formed through peer groups, which result in differences in educational standards and so on.
Individuals in their respective groups are prepared to perform specific tasks such as leadership, spirit of active participation, submissiveness, and so on, allowing the child barns to lead and follow. These are necessary conditions for effective citizenship.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The peer group's concern about students' academic performance in selected secondary schools. Efforts would be focused on the following areas:
i. Interaction of children with their peers
ii. Stages in the formation of a peer group
iii. The impact of peer groups on students' academic performance
iv. The impact of a peer group on individual teachers, educational administration, policymakers, and so on.
The study's goal is to determine how much the child's peer group influences his or her academic performance. The study will also look into whether peer group influence helps members' academic growth. Furthermore, the investigation would look into the positive and negative behavioral aspects of the peer group on students' academic performance.
THE STUDY'S IMPORTANCE
The research will aid in learning more about the peer group and their stages. It will aid in determining the peer group influence on pre-adolescents and the consequences for them.
The work will aid in determining the impact of students' peer groups on their academic performance. The research will aid in the discovery of solutions to problems caused by poser group influence. It will also aid in relating the male and female peer groups in terms of the relationship.
The project will also aid in determining the negative and positive aspects of peer groups.
THE STUDY'S OBJECTIVE
The study was restricted to five secondary schools, namely:
Okpuje Secondary School is one example.
ii. Uwalor Senior Secondary School
Obedu Secondary School, Obedu, Nigeria
iv. Our Lady of the Lord's Grammar School and
v. Evboyi Secondary School in Edo State's Esan North East Local Government Area.
The following terms were used in the study.
Peer: To rank with someone of the same age group and bracket.
A group is a collection of people or things that are in the same place or are connected in some way.
Influence: The ability of something or someone to cause something or someone to behave in a specific way.
Academic: Subjects that are taught to develop the mind rather than to provide practical skills.
Performance refers to how well or poorly something is done.
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THE INFLUENCE OF PEER GROUP ON STUDENT ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN SOME SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS