Background to the Study
The physical environment of a school includes buildings, classroom furniture, equipment, instructional materials, laboratories, libraries, playgrounds ( Ene-Obong et al., 2012). The physical environment also is made up of machinery, decorative objects, swimming pools, audio-visual equipment and playfields ( McKay, 1964). The physical environment implies the physical location, buildings, furniture, infrastructural facilities, space and equipment for effective teaching and learning.
The physical physical learning environment in the classroom includes the spatial arrangement of furniture, walls, ceiling, chalkboard, lighting, fittings, decorative and all the physical enablers of teaching and learning in the classroom. The conducive physical environment is an agent of intellectual stimulation and an essential factor in strengthening the child’s educational development. The factors that determine the success of the educational process include the nature of the school, teacher’s attitude and pupils’ characteristics ( Ukeje, Akabogu, & Ndu, 1992). The classroom context, school and surrounding also influence pupils’ achievement. The nature of the classroom environment has a powerful influence on how well pupils achieve a wide range of educational outcomes. Classroom environment such as physical, emotional and aesthetic characteristics of the classroom tend to enhance pupils’ attitude towards learning ( Goodlard, 1984).
According to Asiyai (2011), an appropriate physical learning environment is essential to safety and active learning and development. She maintained that such a situation is supportive and productive for functional training of head, heart and hand. All pupils and youth deserve a safe, respectful, caring and positive physical learning environment. The physical learning environment should foster a sense of belonging, enhance the joy of learning, honour, diversity and promote respectful, responsible and caring relationships. Nworgu (2006) contends that good healthful living calls for the provision of good lighting and ventilation, particularly in overcrowded classrooms, sewage and proper disposal of refuse. A review by Edmonds (1979) argued that one of the school factors that have contributed to creating effective instructional schools is an orderly but not oppressive school climate and a classroom surrounding conducive to the instructional process. Besides, Mgbodile (1997) contend that the school environment must be such that allows each pupil to increase his/her feelings of satisfaction, sense of belonging, identification and achievement in present and future situations, hi the light of the above, Davis-Langston (2012) noted that the environment of a school has the greatest of all influence that affects learning and academic performance of pupils.
In the school environment, factors such as acoustics, light, colour, temperature, and seat arrangement may improve or hinder pupils’ academic performance in classrooms ( Apter, 2014). The most significant factors affecting the learning process are noise, temperature and seat arrangement. Besides, there is no current agreement on how some particular physical characteristics of classrooms affect learning outcomes. Moreover, research would be needed to draw more reliable conclusions ( Lewinski, 2015).