Concept of study habit
Studying is the interpretation of reading materials. Study habits and skills are particularly important for students, whose needs include time management, notetaking, Internet skill, the elimination of distractions, and assigning a high priority to study. Fielden (2004) states that good study habits help the student in critical reflection in skills outcomes such as selecting, analyzing, critiquing, and synthesizing. Nneji (2002) states that study habits are learning tendencies that enable students work privately. Azikiwe (1998) describes study habits as the way and manner a student plans his or her private reading outside lecture hours in order to master a particular subject or topic. Study habits help students master their areas of specialization.
Isangedighi (1999) observed that indiscipline, drug addiction, poor socio-economic background of the parents, inadequate motivation on the part of students, lack of information couple with teachers’ nonchalant attitude to work and students’ negative self-concept have often resulted into students’ inconsistent and poor academic performances.
Yoloye (1999) submitted that theories of educational disadvantages and social cultural pathology have been most prominent in the explanation of this failure.
A growing number of scholars, however, have rejected this latter view and have suggested that many of the problems of learning are the artifacts of discontinuities which are brought about by the separation of learning from real life functions and situations (Fagbemi, 2001) and by the exclusion of the child’s language, values and mode of cognition from the school environment
(Ugodulunwa, 2007). It seems that causes of low academic achievement are diverse and cannot be associated with a single major factor alone. For instance, proponents of self-concept have found that self-concept and its variables may be a paramount factor in academic failure. Causes of fluctuating performances among students have also been attributed to teacher-student interactions, (Adamu, 1998), intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, (Tukur & Musa, 2001) and classroom behavior (Tukur & Musa, 2001) and other extraneous variables. However, it has been observed that studies on the relationship between study habit and students’ academic achievement in Nigeria cannot be said to be exhaustive (Ugodulunwa, 2007).
Study habits may be taken for granted, particularly in developing countries. In Africa, there is widespread reading in all scholarly fields, but less is being achieved in writing and publication. Efficient study habits can strengthen writing. Teachers in the developing countries, such as those in Nigerian
Secondary Schools, should attempt to “equip students with high level of analytical skills, the capacity for critical reasoning, self-reflection and conceptual grasp and ability to learn autonomously and exercise flexibility of mind” (Simmons 2002). Study habits are actually improving because of the advent and wide use of the Internet, hypertext, and multimedia resources (Liu, 2005). Liu (2005) and Ramirez (2003) report that students print material from the Internet in order to study and read later on. Igun (2005) also found that Nigerians study from materials downloaded from the Internet. Simmons (2002) notes that “good writing spawns from a close understanding of text and great writing result from an interactive analysis and fluency with our reading.” He adds that inadequate writing is a direct result of inadequate reading and studying.
Successful achievement in any form of activity is based upon study, interpretation and application (Yoloye 1999); and that study should have a purpose. It therefore depends on individual to decide why he or she wants to study, either to gain new ideas or to find out relationship between two different things. What one learns as a result of study depends on the degree at which one succeeds in achieving that aim or purpose. As one studies, it is possible, of course to value other than one’s primary desire at the moment. Isangedighi (1997) reports strong correlation between study habits and academic achievement of high school students. The importance of study skill training as a component in test-anxiety treatment programme was demonstrated by Abba and in another study by Tukur & Musa (2001).
Some researchers have found note taking activity as study habits variable to be beneficial to students. While Abba (1997) and Tukur & Musa (2001) found that note taking leads to overall superior performance and retention of new materials. Several investigations have suggested that less skilled reading is characterized by a limitation in short-term memory capacity in addition to inefficient word-identification (Isangedighi, 1997; Yoloye, 1999).
Academic performance is the outcome of education — the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their educational goals.
Academic perfomance is commonly measured by examinations or continuous assessment but there is no general agreement on how it is best tested or which aspects are most important — procedural knowledge such as skills or declarative knowledge such as facts. (Annie Ward, et al, 1996)
Individual differences influencing academic performance
Individual differences in academic performance have been linked to differences in intelligence and personality. (Von, et al, 2011) Students with higher mental ability as demonstrated by IQ tests (quick learners) and those who are higher in conscientiousness (linked to effort and achievement motivation) tend to achieve highly in academic settings. A recent meta-analysis suggested that mental curiosity (as measured by typical intellectual engagement) has an important influence on academic achievement in addition to intelligence and conscientiousness. (Von, et al, 2011)
Children’s semi-structured home learning environment transitions into a more structured learning environment when children start first grade. Early academic achievement enhances later academic achievement. ( Bossaert, et al, 2011)
Parent’s academic socialization is a term describing the way parents influence students’ academic achievement by shaping students’ skills, behaviors and attitudes towards school. (Magnuson, 2007) Parent influence students through the environment and discourse parents have with their children. (Magnuson, 2007) . Academic socialization can be influenced by parents’ socio-economic status. Highly educate parents tend to have more stimulating learning environments. (Magnuson, 2007)
Children’s’ first few years of life are crucial to the development of language and social skills. School preparedness in these areas help students adjust to academic expectancies. (Lassiter, 1995)
Another very important enhancer of academic achievement is the presence of physical activity. Studies have shown that physical activity can increase neurotic activity in the brain. Exercise specifically increases executive brain functions such as attention span and working memory.