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The Fear of Heights

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Academic accomplishments apply to any educational successes in a student's academic life from a formal university, both long-term and short-term. This is thus measurable by the fulfillment of honorary rolls such as high school graduation and the attainment of college degrees. Extracurricular events, on the other hand, are those activities that students engage in that cannot be classified or confined within the structured odder of the intellectual academic school curriculum. Academic success, as well as extracurricular sports, are very important in the American educational system. However, most American students, especially teenagers, keep themselves busy with extracurricular activities that hamper their academic achievements. Bob Chase in his essay, Fear of heights: Teachers, Parents, and Students are Wary of Achievement, argues that only academic achievements, not extracurricular activities, should be the top priority in the American educational system (Chase 93). He argues this as a result of the felt neglect of recognition of academic achievements and victories such as math contests and spelling bees, in comparison to football games and school plays.

This is partly true as most students will rather be socially accepted through being famous or popular from larger social gatherings which are more associated with extracurricular activities since it has a wider range of opportunities rather than the few which are associated with Honorary achievements. This is in accordance with the expectations of an average American teenager’s vision inclusive of dating, cars, malls and jobs hence concentrating more on the social aspects of life while not giving time for academic excellence. He therefore dismisses extracurricular activities arguing that with the constant change in technology more intellectuals are needed as the reliance of skilled workforce (Massoni 27). I completely disagree with the author because in the long run not only the academic achievements but also the extracurricular activities shape the personality of the students and enhance their persona enormously in balance.

Both academic achievements as well as extracurricular activities equally contribute to the cognitive and physical development of the students. American educational system is based on overall development of the students; however, it does not provide a mature stand for their complete development. The overall development would in turn affect the very existence of the United States because the present student generation is the posterity and should bequeath such qualities which would enable them to ‘think out of box’. Then only they would be able to figure out sustainable environment for safe, secure, and prosperous future.

American educational system is inclusive and treats parents as one of the main forces of motivation for the students. They do want a better and balanced performance form their children in academics as well as in extracurricular activities. It has been revealed that extracurricular activities are essential for better cognitive as well as physical development. It is quite obvious that most of the population, especially parents and students, would not be happy with only one sided satisfaction i.e., either with commendable academic achievement or active participation in extracurricular activities hence both the sectors need to be developed

William Butler, a poet, once stated, “Education is not filling up a pail but lighting a fire” (Yeats 13). His understanding seems beyond academic achievement and extracurricular activities. Majority of the population in America wants their teens be active in both academia as well as extracurricular actives because that is what would be called the overall personality development. Such system would pave better space for ‘sound mind in a sound body’.

American educational system needs to be reframed according to the above quotation. It should incorporate both the academic quintessence and extracurricular activities in its framework to deal with the growing ignorance of the math and science education and, also, to give importance to the balanced synchronization between the two areas of education. TIMSS recommends more strict academic curricula to facilitate the present academic scenario of the United States. But, that does not mean that the students, teachers, parents, people, and the government etc. should remain as still. All the stakeholders have their respective roles to facilitate the scenario of the education of the country.


In conclusion, academic achievement would not be enough for overall positive personality development of the American teenagers. They would need extracurricular activities to carry on in their lives successfully. Academic subjects would teach them math and science but, the extracurricular activities would provide them with better platform to implement their academic experience in decision making and understand life. Bob Chase in Fear of Heights: Teachers, Parents and Students Are wary of Achievement puts academic achievement essential for development but, I think participation in games and sports or real life activities would boost the confidence among the teenage generation of the United States (Chase 93). American educational system need to reconsider its policies towards all round personality development including better cognitive as well as physical development of the teenage and student generation. One of the main advantages of education is modification of behaviors for better, and when we say education, it encompasses both academic knowledge as well as extracurricular activities; we cannot leave any one of these.

Works Cited

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.

Yeats, William Butler, et al. The Collected Letters of WB Yeats: Volume IV, 1905-1907. Vol. 4. Oxford University Press on Demand, 1986.

December 15, 2021


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