The effects of home environment on students’ achievement and interest in English language were considered in this study. 325 students of JSS I from four thickly populated schools in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State participated in the study. Both descriptive and inferential statistical techniques were used to analyse data collected. Results show that Educationally Rich Home Environment (ERHE) positively affects students’ interest and achievement in English language. The implication of findings to both parents and other stakeholders in education was discussed.
Several studies have been done within and outside Nigeria on the effects of home environment on students’ achievement and interest in English language. Research results in psychology and sociology of education have pointed out some factors that enhance educational achievement. For example, Dewey’s learning by experience theory, revealed that experience is an interaction between the organism and his environment. Also, cognitive theory stated that learning takes place when the child interacts with the environment where the learner gets maximum concentration (Malik, 2000). Environment could be physical, social and abstract (Anene, 2003). It also includes people, parents, sibling and peers. According to Anene, social environment has to do with social life, societies, and club which may affect individuals. Abstract environment, she adds, is the reactions, feedback of the responses received on interactions with others, while the physical environment is the objects or materials found in the home, school or community. Nwosu and Maduewesi (1980) observed that factors such as motivation, ability to learn and maturation are affected by environmental conditions. Similarly, Behera and Makanya (2015) identified factors that affect academic achievement. Some of them, according to Behera and Makanya, are social pressure for educational achievement, parental aspiration about the educational accomplishment of the child, peer group influence and other environmental conditions which have the tendency to mould the educational achievement of the of the child. Piaget (1952) held the view that certain maturation factors – ordinarily, considerations dependent on internal factors – are in reality controlled (at least partially by the environment).
Of all the different aspects of the environment, the home produces the first and most insistent and perhaps the most subtle influence on the education development of the child. Nwosu and Madeuewesi (1980) and Malik (2000) asserted that the kind of home in which the child receives his early training determines in good part the kind of individual he/she will become. Malik also observed that the home is the first and the most significant place for the child’s inclusive growth and development. It provides not only the hereditary transmission of basic potentials for the child, but also the favourable environment in terms of interpersonal relationship and cultural pattern. Malik added that the home, like school, must strive to achieve desired objective in educating the child. It has also been argued that other factors other than socio-economic status (Anumudu, 2001; Onyejemezi, 1989; and Taylor, 2012) contribute to the child’s performance in school. Intelligent quotient, as noted by Nwosu and Maduewesi (1980), affects the child’s educational achievement. Nwosu and Maduewesi argued that intelligent quotient plays an important role, while Stone (1966) claimed that parents’ value for education has great effect on the child’s achievement in school. Similarly, language of communication in the home, according to Taylor (2012), affects a child’s learning of the English language especially children from bilingual or multilingual homes. This is why Ejike (2003) argued that slow adaptation of many Nigerian students at school is the reason why many fail English language because the language of communication used at home may be the child’s first language or Pidgin English. Anumudu (2001) confirmed the assertion that interested parents encourage their children to work hard by exposing them to different experiences which help them to learn a lot of things before going to school. Indeed, interested parents, Anumudu (2001) confirmed, encourage their children to work hard by providing them with educational materials that facilitate learning at home. These facilities have motivating factors, which the child manipulates and in the process, learning occurs and the child gains educational experience or background knowledge. Supporting these claim, Marynard (1970) opined that the performance of any child at school is affected by the basic support the child receives at home. Ejike (2003) added that student’s learning attainments are traceable to the circumstances at home. Ezewu (1983) revealed that the failure of many remedial schemes launched to counter non-performance failed in America because they neglected the home situation. Thus, Frude (1981) observed that the family as the principal sources of a child’s happiness and well being can also be the most powerful source of stress, which can affect the child’s academic performance. Onyejemezi (1989) noted that that environment plays a role in the teaching and learning of English language, as it helps the student to understand topics, and their applications in every day life. It helps to reduce the abstractness associated with English language and builds interest.
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