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Chapter 1 Essay

The problem and its background
1.1 Introduction
A peer group is both a social group and a primary group of people. It may be defined as a group of people who share similarities such as age, background, and social status. The members of this group are likely to influence the person’s beliefs and behavior. Also, a peer group can have a serious effect in an academic status of a person. School is where many children meet peers, form friendships, and take part in groups. For friendless, rejected, or victimized children, the school must be a less-than desirable context and certainly a place that is unlikely to promote learning or well-being (Tarrant, 2002). Individuals tend to study in groups because of the fact that studying with peers is easier and fun. The study group environment offers students the opportunity to engage in a more in-depth discussion with peers, sharing information and knowledge about a course they are collectively enrolled in. Peer group studying can help with the issue of procrastination.

Many students tend to cram for tests/exams on the night before or begin projects with very limited time before the due date. When involved in a study group, meeting at scheduled times can keep the active participants from procrastinating. In addition, individuals in study groups are less likely to delay or put-off assignments because they understand that other people are relying on them. Also, it can help in understanding information more efficiently; students tend to learn faster working within a group than working alone. If a student was working on his/her own, there would be a lot of time wasted puzzling over the difficulty. However, when students work in groups, they have the opportunity to explain concepts, review material, exchange ideas, and disagree/reason with one another about why one person’s answer differs from another.

Thus, one can seek clarification and learn faster working in a group setting while gaining personal skills. In other countries, governments and officials are supporting peer group studying; they see it as a more effective way in learning. A number of programs focused on the early identification of at-risk students exist at the institutions in this peer group. All of these programs are designed to ease the transition from secondary school to higher education, particularly for students who are likely to be at risk once in the university, and/or to identify these students once they have begun their first semester classes.

They are overall aggressive in helping those students who need help (Sherif, 1964). In the Philippines, no agencies or government are supporting this kind of study, but individuals especially students are influenced by peer group studying. Filipino students are more comfortable in studying with their peers rather than studying alone (Benilde Students, 2008). In the Lyceum of the Philippines University – Manila, peer group studying is applied by some students, they also tend to see that group studying is more effective way to learn the lesson or courses they are studying (Lyceum Students, 2010). Nevertheless, peer group studying still have disadvantages to an individual.

Peer pressure is the pressing of a member of the collective group to behave in a manner that s/he finds unacceptable. Often, when parents are telling their children they may not participate in a behavior, a child responds with what the other kids are doing. This response demonstrates a level of pressure felt by the child to participate in an activity or behavior. Another disadvantage is the feelings associated with rejection. These emotions include resentment, dislike, a feeling of isolationism and even depression. Also, peer groups are powerful agents of risk behaviors in adolescence.

Adolescents typically replace family with peers regarding social and leisure activities, and many problematic behaviors occur in the context of these groups. A study (Kertz, 2012) focused on adolescents’ engagement in risk behaviors. Participants completed a self-report measure of identity commitment, which explores values, beliefs, and aspirations, as well as a self-report that measures perceived peer group pressure and control. Both peer group pressure and control were positively related to risky behaviors. However, adolescents who were more committed to their personal identity had lower rates of risk behaviors. Overall, this study shows us that adolescent identity development may help prevent negative effects of peer pressure in high-risk adolescents

(http://www.montclair.edu/media/montclairedu/residentialeducation/pdffiles/Study-Group-Tips-and-Advantages-1.pdf). Another issue about peer groups is sexual activity. A longitudinal study done in 2012 followed a group of adolescents for thirteen years. Self-reports, peer nominations, teacher ratings, counselor ratings, and parent reports were collected, and results showed a strong correlation between deviant peer groups and sexual promiscuity. Many teens claimed that the reasons for having sex at a young age include peer pressure or pressure from their partner

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer_group).

The aforesaid issues and concern about peer group studying have prompted the researchers to conduct a study on the effects on the academic performance of peer groups among freshmen CITHM students of the Lyceum of the Philippines University – Manila. 1.2 Theoretical Framework

This study will be anchored on the theory of social learning (Mead, 2004). According to this theory, children begin to perceive themselves from the perspective of the generalized other, the community as a whole. Knowing the norms and values of society, children can begin to know how their actions are perceived by the generalized other. Mead said that everyone has an “I” and a “me.” The “I” is the individual or the true self and the “me” is the way one acts in different social situations under the norms of society. Through social interaction people learn the acceptable “me”. Mead felt that children develop their “selves” through interaction. Children begin to pattern their “selves” after a role model (www.webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/erikson.html). This theoretical framework can be applied to the study that mentoring has positive effects on children. The mentor acts as the generalized other and serves as a role model to the student who begins to imitate the mentor.

This then reflects the positive effect of mentoring. The student changes his/her “me” to conform to the norms of society. Moreover, this study will be anchored on the theory of the Zone of Proximal development (Vygotsky, 1978). This theory focuses on the importance of a child’s culture and notes that a child is continually acting in social interactions with others. The Zone of Proximal development is defined as the gap between what a student can do alone and what the student can achieve through teacher assistance. The values and attitudes of the peer group are essential elements in learning. Those who surround themselves with academically focused peers will be more likely to internalize this type of behavior (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zone_of_proximal_development). This theoretical framework can be applied on the study that with assistance, student can achieve more lessons rather than studying alone. And by the help of peers, individuals can be more successful in their field. 1.3
Conceptual Framework

The conceptual paradigm below explains the advantages and disadvantages in studying with peer groups. Advantages in studying with peer groups.

1. Helps with procrastination. Many students tend to cram for tests/exams on the night before or begin projects with very limited time before the due date. When in a study group, meeting at scheduled times can keep the active participants from procrastinating. In addition, individuals in study groups are less likely to delay or put-off assignments because they understand that other people are relying on them. 2. Improve new study skills. There are always ways to enhance your studying methods/techniques in your study skills. Joining a study group will provide you the opportunity to observe a wide variety of study methods and incorporate them into your regimen. Note-taking and organization skills are two major study components that continue to be improved through study groups.

3. Absorb information more efficiently. Students tend to learn faster working within a group versus working alone. If a student was working on his/her own, there would be a lot of time wasted puzzling over the difficulty. However, when students work in groups, they have the opportunity to explain concepts, review material, exchange ideas, and disagree/reason with one another about why one person’s answer differs from another. Thus, one can seek clarification and learn faster working in a group setting while gaining personal skills. Disadvantages in studying with peer groups.

1. Peer pressure. is influence that a peer group, observers or individual exerts that encourages others to change their attitudes, values, or behaviors to conform to group norms. Social groups affected include membership groups, in which individuals are “formally” members (such as political parties and trade unions), or social cliques in which membership is not clearly defined. A person affected by peer pressure may or may not want to belong to these groups.

2. Aggression and prosocial behavior. Social behaviors can be promoted or discouraged by social groups, and several studies have shown that aggression and prosociality are susceptible to peer influence. A longitudinal study done in 2011 focused on these two behaviors. A sample of adolescents was followed over a one-year period, and results showed that adolescents who joined an aggressive group were more likely to increase their aggression levels. Also, adolescents were likely to display prosocial behaviors that were similar to the consistent behaviors of the group they were in. An adolescent’s peer group plays a role in shaping him or her into an adult, and the lack of positive behavior can lead to consequences in the future. 3. Sexual promiscuity. Adolescence is also characterized by physical changes, new emotions, and sexual urges and teenagers are likely to participate in sexual activity. A longitudinal study done in 2012 followed a group of adolescents for thirteen years. Self-reports, peer nominations, teacher ratings, counselor ratings, and parent reports were collected, and results showed a strong correlation between deviant peer groups and sexual promiscuity. Many teens claimed that the reasons for having sex at a young age include peer pressure or pressure from their partner.

The effects of sexual activity at a young age are of great concern. Pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases are only a few of the consequences that can occur. 4. Risk behaviors. Several studies have shown that peer groups are powerful agents of risk behaviors in adolescence. Adolescents typically replace family with peers regarding social and leisure activities, and many problematic behaviors occur in the context of these groups. A study done in 2012 focused on adolescents’ engagement in risk behaviors. Participants completed a self-report measure of identity commitment, which explores values, beliefs, and aspirations, as well as a self-report that measures perceived peer group pressure and control. Both peer group pressure and control were positively related to risky behaviors. However, adolescents who were more committed to a personal identity had lower rates of risk behaviors. Overall, this study shows us that adolescent identity development may help prevent negative effects of peer pressure in high-risk adolescents.

DISADVANTAGES:
STUDYING WITH PEER GROUP

PEER PRESSURE

ADVANTAGES:

AGGRESSION AND PROSOCIAL BEHAVIOR
Helps with Procrastination

SEXUAL PROMISCUITY

Improve New Study Skills

RISK BEHAVIORS

Absorb Information More Efficiently

Figure 1. Conceptual paradigm of the research.

1.4 Statement of the Problem
The purpose of this study is to identify the academic effects of peer group study in freshmen CITHM students of the Lyceum of the Philippines University – Manila. Specifically, the study seeks answers to the following questions: 1. How can a student obtain the advantages in peer group studying; and 2. What are the disadvantages of peer group study; and

3. What are the programs that can help a peer group in their academics. 1.5 Significance of the Study

The study focused on explaining the effects of peer group study among freshmen CITHM student of the Lyceum of the Philippines University – Manila. Moreover, the results of the study will be beneficial to the following: Commission on Higher Education Department (CHED). The result of this study can help them provide a program for students on how they can improved their academic performance. Respondents. The respondents will have an awareness on the importance of the peer group program and its role on the improvement of their academic performance. Teachers/Mentors. The result of the study will help the teachers/mentors provide encouragement to think of ideas that will give proper guidance to the students. This may also increase their competency. Future Researchers. The findings of the study will serve as a reference material and a guide for future researchers who wish to conduct the same experimental study or any study related to peer group effects. 1.6 Scope and Limitation

This study covers the effects of peer group study among freshmen CITHM students of the Lyceum of the Philippines University – Manila. Nevertheless this study will not cover anyone who does not belong to the respondents. Moreover, this study covers the advantages and disadvantages of peer group study. Nevertheless, this study will not cover the reasons why a respondent faces rebellion, and this study will cover what programs of the school can help the respondents study more efficiently with their peers. Nevertheless, this study will not cover social identity. The results of this study is applicable only to the respondents of this study and should not be used as a measure of the effect of mentoring program on the students who do not belong to the population of this study. 1.7 Definition of Terms

The terms in this study are conceptually and operationally defined for better understanding of the readers. * Aspiration. An individual’s need to meet realistic goals, receive feedback and experience a sense of accomplishment

* Course. A unit of instruction in one subject, lasting one academic term

* Cram. Is the practice of working intensively to absorb large volumes of informational material in short amounts of time.

* Isolationism. A policy of national isolation by abstention from alliances.

* Longitudinal. A research study that involves repeated observations of the same items over long periods of time

* Norms. A principle of right action binding upon the members of a group and serving to guide, control, or regulate proper and acceptable behavior.

* Peer group. Is a group of people who are equal in some way. Those in a peer group have the same status and are about the same age. They often
interact with the group as a whole.

* Procrastination. To put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done.

* Prosociality. Beneficial to all parties and consistent with community laws and mores.

* Sexual promiscuity. Is the practice of casual sex with multiple sexual partners.

* Sexually transmitted diseases. are illnesses that have a significant probability of transmission between humans by means of human sexual behavior, including vaginal intercourse, oral sex, and anal sex.

* Social Group. Has been defined as two or more people who interact with one another, share similar characteristics and collectively have a sense of unity.

* Victimized. To make a victim of.

* Zone of Proximal development. Is the difference between what a learner can do without help and what he or she can do with help.


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