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Abuse affects children's academic performance

MMAOTHO SEGOTSO
Human beings are most vulnerable at a young age.

This is a time when they still haven’t mastered the art of navigating around the world; when their minds are still sponges and absorb any and everything that happens. At this stage of development, whatever happens to them, however they are treated thus, shapes them.

Children are products of their environment, in a nutshell. Abuse is detrimental to children as it also has the potential to destroy their education canlı bahis through poor academic performance. Research has shown that maltreatment in the first five years of life nearly triples a child’s likelihood of having academic problems. And that lower academic success can cause lifelong, negative psychosocial and economic consequences.

Learning is an important activity which humans engage in. For children to perform in class they must learn, otherwise teaching baymavi will be an effort in futility. It is in this light that Zimmerman and Schunk [16] revealed that the three types of learning are behaviourist, cognitive and social learning theories. These theories explain how children are taught and how learning is expected to take place. Abused children therefore do not learn effectively, hence they perform poorly in school. (Asia Pacific Journal of Education, Arts and Sciences, Vol. 3 No. 3, July).

Children that have been victimised by one or more form(s) of abuse exhibit some behaviours different from others in school with attendant effects on their academic performance. Shonk and Cicchetti revealed that Child Abuse generally delays students’ progress academically, because there is always lack of trust in people because they have been disappointed and abused by those that ought to be source of joy, trust, defence and security to them, they believe nowhere is safe and nobody is to be trusted.

This leads to changes in behaviour like emotional pain, physical pain, withdrawal from opposite sex, poor social relationship, anxiety, mental stress, depression, difficulty in socialising, sadness, hooliganism, thuggery, rebellion, malnourishment, anger, scars on body parts, addictions, sexual cratosslot difficulties, unhealthy appearance and clothing. These traits lead to poor academic performance by the child as concentration becomes a problem.

Furthermore, the United States Department of Education revealed that abused children perform less than their mates academically in school. They feel distracted and withdrawn from other students, teachers and then from their studies. A sexually abused female student may have a great hatred for her male teachers. This will affect her learning process and personal relationship with teachers. This is also the same for male children that are abused by the opposite sex.

In sexually abused children, cognitive ability and memory scores as well as academic achievement are lower than their peers. Most people do not realise that child sexual abuse is one of the most significant risks facing children today.

One in 10 children is the victim of sexual abuse. A study of sexually abused 7-12 year-old girls showed: 39% displayed academic difficulties, 24% repeated a grade, 15% were enrolled in a remedial class, 48% reported below average grades, and over 37% displayed cognitive ability below 25%.

Sexually abused children develop low esteem, they vevobahis isolate themselves and find it hard to participate in class. Even in group and pair work they just sit and keep quiet. The bulk of the time their mind wanders off as they battle with the demons in their minds. Some of them spend the school day dreading to go home where their assailant awaits them. I am inclined to believe that it is this that has made Social Workers send abused children to boarding school.

In some cases, children are sexually violated by their own parents or family members. These practices tend to bring shame, discomfort, depression, anxiety, fear

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and hinder the child academic performance generally, as those involve fear being exposed and name calling can also lead to withdrawal from active class activities.

Cognitive and language deficits in abused children have been noted clinically (Augoustinos, 1987; Azar et al., 1988; Fantuzzo, 1990; Kolko, 1992). Abused and neglected children with no evidence of neurological impairment have also shown delayed intellectual development, particularly in the area of verbal intelligence (Augoustinos, 1987).

Some studies have found lowered intellectual functioning and reduced cognitive functioning in abused children (Hoffman-Plotkin and Twentyman, 1984; Perry et al., 1983). However, others have not found differences in intellectual and cognitive functioning, language skills, or verbal ability (Alessandri, 1991; Allen and Oliver, 1982; Elmer, 1977; Lynch and Roberts, 1982). Without verbal and cognitive ability, a child struggles to study.

The home thus, has great influence on the child’s psychological, emotional, social and economic state. This is because the domestic violence in context to the child’s performance affects his reaction to life situations and his level of performance. The success at school is associated with domestic violence factors, as these factors can greatly affect young children’s cognitive skills. It is a pity most parents do not understand this and their behaviour consequently damages their children permanently.

Since children’s lives are greatly influenced by teachers, a poor relationship with them can lead to low academic performance. Truancy and social vices are exhibited by students that are neglected. Some are hostile to other students and their mates which may lead to their expulsion. Physically abused children encounter academic problems at home, school and among their mates.

In the same vein, students that are neglected by their parents or care-givers tend to be independent, lack moral values, are rude to teachers and are law breakers, as a result of lack of parental roles especially the motherly roles and advice. On the other hand, some children might be too dependent, have low confidence, self-esteem, psychologically affected and might not be able to face challenges or solve high tasking work in school.

They tend to have lower grades and high rate of class repetitions than their mates. In a bid to hide their scars from others, they tend to skip school and classes. A child that is not eating well will have poor growth and development of the brain, body and soul. He/she will not be able to reason well or think fast in class.

Apebende, Umoren and Ukpepi (2010) discovered that pupils who were not physically abused performed higher in primary science than those who were abused. Miller-Johnson, Berlin, Dodge, Bates and Pettit (2007) also found out that early physical abuse affected behaviour of children and their academic performance. Coohey, Renner, Hua, Zhang and Whitney (2011) observed that negative health outcomes related to child maltreatment such as neglect, hunger, and all forms of abuse (i.e., sexual, physical, and emotional) are strong indicators of poor academic performance. Sladea and Wissow (2007) also provided evidence that childhood maltreatment is associated with emotional and behavioural problems throughout childhood suggested that maltreatment could lead to impaired academic performance in middle and high school.

There is a need thus, for a campaign that will focus in teaching parents how their behaviour affects children. Most parents are too busy making money and have abdicated their parenting role and given it to house helpers. They only wake up once children fall by the wayside or start failing at school and come to the party when the train long sailed.



Educationally Speaking

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