The concept of a school environment is defined in several ways ranging from safety and healthy, lecture hall structures, school culture, daily activities and school ecology. Student achievement is determined by social, cultural and psychological factors in partnership with the school learning environment. Middle school learning involves students who are in one of the critical stages in life that is adolescence. Combining learning and adolescence is a challenge to most students, and the effects are reflected in the academic achievements. It is in this stage where bullying, body changes and student-teacher relation takes places. Indeed the school environment has a great impact on learner’s achievement both positive and negative. In this context effects of security, peer pressure, co-curricular activities, students and teacher relations, and availability of learning materials will be discussed.
Security is a fundamental need for each student and other individuals in a learning institution, but for a student in middle school, it is of great importance to his or her well-being and academic performance. Since they are the main subject, students’ needs should be protected from bullying and molestation from fellow students, terror attacks and response to danger. Installation of firefighting equipment in select places within the institution is a good measure together with fire assembly points within the compound. Victims of fire will most likely drop have relatively poor performance after the incidence as opposed to earlier results.
Bullying and child molestation is a common practice in many institutions. The assault varies depending on the assailant, the victim, age, and gender (Espelage & Swearer, 2004). The case of student bullying a fellow student is the most common. The assault may be physical beatings, sexual harassment, victimization and also the use of rude words towards a student. This may be on the grounds of size, skin color, age and origin or background. According to Johnson and Seltzer (2009), students’ intimidation from white Americans towards black American was common in most schools. The victims feel unwanted and suffer both psychologically and emotionally. There have been cases where a student commits suicide as a result of bullying and some end dropping out of school, bring a halt to their academic life and experience. It is the agenda of the administration to enact strict rules to bullies. Assaulted students usually find it hard to relate to other students, and this is most likely portrayed in poor performance.
Cases of the members of the staff molesting students are also another concern. Those in the teaching staff may engage in a physical beating. This leads to poor relations between a teacher and a student where the results of the latter deteriorate. Other members of staff may sexual assault students causing unplanned pregnancies in girls and spreading of diseases. An expectant girl will rarely concentrate in class, and this will be reflected in her grades. About this, the school should protect the rights of the students and those found guilty held accountable as per the law.
Activities outside academics are common in middle school. It is at this stage that students want to experiment everything and identify their talents to nurture them well. These activities include sports, hiking, music and drama shows. Students who concentrate much in these activities might end up performing poorly in classwork’s as little or no time is spent in studies. It is no offense engaging in sports, but for academic excellence, moderation should be employed.
Peer Pressure among Students
The most common problem associated with adolescence is peer pressure. It is the root of all evils among the youth including drug abuse, drug trafficking, consumption of alcohol and smoking (Noshpitz, 1998). This acts leads to addiction and reduced concentration in academics leading to poor performance. It is alleged that students engage in drug abuse and substance use due to low self-esteem and have high hopes of high performance but the results are contrary (Hanson, Venturelli & Fleckenstein, 2017).
Availability of Learning Materials
Learning is a process accelerated by the student’s willingness and availability of learning materials such as books, library, classroom, laboratories and field trips. Personal materials such as pens, pencil, sharpener and other stationery are key in learning (Douglas, 2006). They equip students with knowledge and skills to be used later in life and the workplace. When all the materials are in place, learners are more likely to have good performance in academics.
Teacher and Student Relationship
The relationship between the student and his or her teacher should be open and friendly. In situations where the teacher should engage the students in group work, teamwork and exchange of ideas are enhanced. The students end up socializing and creating friendship bonds between, resulting in excellent performance and improvements in behavior. In the other hand, the students should show respect and observe discipline as outlined in the school’s rules and regulations. This will reduce chances of being summoned and the possibility of being punished for misbehaving (Douglas, 2006).
The primary objective of attending school is academic excellence. A student in middle school faces a lot of challenges in their learning environment that may affect their performance to extremes. Most of those obstacles are avoidable, and students concerned with their academics will excel despite their presence.
Douglas, R. (2006). Linking science & literacy in the K-8 classroom. Arlington, VA: NSTA Press.
Espelage, D. L., & Swearer, S. M. (2004). Bullying in American schools: A social-ecological perspective on prevention and intervention. Mahwah, NJ: L. Erlbaum Associates.
Hanson, G., Venturelli, P. J., & Fleckenstein, A. E. (2017). Drugs and society.
Noshpitz, J. D. (1998). Handbook of child and adolescent psychiatry. New York: Wiley.
Seltzer, R. A., & Johnson, N. E. (2009). Experiencing racism: Exploring discrimination through the eyes of college students. Lanham: Lexington Books.