Extracurriculars could help improve school performance

Metro Editorial
Posted

Parents and students who want to improve grades and classroom performance may want to look to extracurricular activities. There is evidence that some after-school activities can actually help promote better results inside of the classroom -- even helping to mediate symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Activities like sports, band, cheerleading, martial arts, among other extracurricular events, can promote good feelings about school and offer lessons that carry over into the classroom environment, helping students become more successful.

A study by the U.S. Department of Education revealed that students who participate in cocurricular activities are three times more likely to have a grade point average of 3.0 or better than students who do not participate in cocurricular activities.

In a 2003 study published in Sociology of Education, researchers found that there are positive associations between extracurricular participation and academic achievement. Many adolescents who participate in extracurricular activities report higher grades, more positive attitudes toward school and higher academic aspirations.

Extracurricular activities also may be able to correct behaviors associated with boisterous children or those who have been diagnosed with a clinical medical condition, such as ADHD. In a study titled, "The Effects of Mixed Martial Arts on Behavior of Male Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder," researchers found that a martial arts program two times per week helped increase the percentage of completed homework, frequency of following specific classroom rules, improved academic performance and improved classroom preparation of male children ages 8 to 11 with ADHD.

There is also evidence that simple physical activity can promote better opportunities for learning. Studies largely conducted by the California Department of Education have found a correlation between physical activity and increased performance. Physically active youths tend to show improved attributes such as increased brain function and nourishment, higher energy/concentration levels, increased self-esteem, and better behavior, each of which can help a student perform better in the classroom.

Beyond this, there are many ways that extracurricular activities can support improvements in the classroom.

* Most activities promote physical stamina and patience.

* Students develop self-esteem and good relationships.

* Students are able to apply theories learned in the classroom in a real-world context.

* A healthy measure of competition is developed.

* Students learn to value teamwork and achieve a goal through common values.

* Children are able to exert energy in a constructive way.

* Extracurriculars promote good attendance and participation in order to excel.

* Students learn self-motivation.

* Students can realize success that is not measured by test scores.

* Many extracurricular activities have a basis in rules that can keep students in check.

* Students participate in a social setting, learning through activities that they truly enjoy.

Extracurricular activities can lead to improved test scores and better behavior in the classroom. This makes the activities attractive to parents of students hoping to mold well-rounded children.

It's important to note that, in some instances, too much of a good thing may be detrimental. If a student is so busy with a packed schedule of extracurricular activities, he or she may actually fall behind in school work.

Therefore, it's vital to keep a balance so that students can successfully manage what goes on inside of school and outside of school.