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Academic success, as well as extracurricular sports, are extremely important in the American educational system. However, the majority of American students, mostly adolescents, keep themselves occupied with extracurricular activities that ostensibly interfere with their academic performance. In his essay Fear of Heights: Teachers, Parents, and Students Are Wary of Success, Bob Chase suggests that academic achievement, rather than extracurricular sports, should be the highest priority of the American educational system. Essentially, Bob Chase's point comes from the priority that most Americans place on academic achievements; a condition that is common around the globe. As a result, learners’ mentality continues to be oriented towards majoring in the courses that lead to higher levels of academic achievements to the detriment of extracurricular activities; and by extension, their holistic growth and development. I partially agree with the author. However, I postulate that extracurricular activities set precedence to academic achievements, thus, should be given higher priority over academic achievements.
The benefits of academic excellence and the subsequent achievements cannot be overlooked. In particular, the ability of a person to land high paying jobs and prestigious wages is a direct function of their academic achievement. Similarly, academic achievement is the primary source of mental emancipation, which leads to top-notch decision-making and problem-solving skills. The overall product of academics is an intellectual being who is in constant pursuit of actions that bring change and facilitate the common societal good. In spite of the fact that academics achievements embody societal and individual success from a variety of spheres, extracurricular activities slightly rank higher over academic achievements. Therefore, Bob Chase’s premise is a half-truth position probably drawn from the popular unsubstantiated societal beliefs.
In fact, academic achievement, in itself, almost entirely depend on extracurricular activities. Unhinged participation in extracurricular activities is a major source of positive attitudes towards school which is a foundational framework for higher grades and academic performance (Massoni 2). Self-esteem usually predicts academic performance. Participation in extracurricular activities is designed to ameliorate the self-esteem of the learner through reinforcement of their learning environment and the academic activities. When students take part in extracurricular activities, they automatically form a positive connection not only with their learning environment but also their tutors throughout the realm of pedagogy. Other factors that contribute to academic excellence, and which also happen to be products of extracurricular activities, include self-confidence and teacher perception (Massoni 2). In this regard, it is apparent that extracurricular activities are a pivotal cornerstone of academic excellence without which the chances of academic excellence gradually diminish. The fact that Bob Chase fails to notice this critical relationship in his argument is an omission that partially invalidates his overall position.
Extracurricular activities also increase chances of school completion. It is important to note beforehand that academic achievements only come to be after school completion. Accordingly, research has shown and advanced a position that learners who take part in extracurricular activities are highly likely to achieve highly from their education and have lower chances of truancy and school drop-out. Students from special groups like minority populations also appear to gain more from extracurricular activities with regards to their overall academic performance and achievements (Massoni 3). The argument draws on the ‘No Pass No Play’ law which most states across the U.S have adopted. The law restricts students from participating in sports activities if they fail their subjects. Its counterintuitive outcome is that a sports-loving student will similarly work hard in their academics to uplift their restrictions, thus preventing them from dropping out of school. On a slightly different note, extracurricular activities, just like academic achievements, prepare the learners to become not only responsible adults but productive students. Participating in extracurricular activities proffer the students with a unique window through which they acquire leadership, problem-solving, teamwork, analytical, and organization skills (Massoni 3). These compound to facilitate the holistic development of the learner, and stays with them through adulthood, given that when choosing extracurricular activities, students often pick those that they would want to do for a long time and those that advance their interests. It is on such grounds that it suffices to say that the lessons the student gains from the preferred extracurricular activities may stay into their adulthood.
In conclusion, extracurricular activities are the backbone or bedrock of academic achievements. The former cannot exist without the latter. Therefore, Bob Chase was outright wrong to confer a higher value on academic achievements instead of extracurricular activities. The major aspects of academic stardom including school performance and completion directly depend on the learners’ level of participation in extracurricular activities. On the overall, Bob Chase’s standpoint is a half-truth which does not reflect the reality.
Chase, Bob. Fear of Heights: Teachers, Parents, and Students Are Wary of Achievement. Book Depository. Web. 9 March 2016.
Massoni, Erin. “The Positive Effects of Extra Curricular Activities on Students.” ESSAI, 9. 27 (2011). Print.
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