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Efficient academic progress sometimes appears to be nearly impossible for students without the involvement and maintenance of extracurricular activity. This notion is quite reasonable as, for one, extracurricular activity develops so-called “soft skills” that are considered crucial for any modern person. Communication, organization, and discipline, all of these subjects and more are not studied theoretically in schools yet are extremely effective for proper function of an individual in society and can be sharpened by various extracurricular activities. One of military federal programs in the United States, JROTC aimed exactly at cultivating discipline and communication in particular, and appears to be largely effective, stimulating positive dynamics in the students’ academic progress on many levels.
Training to Be Better Citizens
The military federal program JROTC, pronounced JAY-ROT-SEE, stands for Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and aims to “instill […] the values of citizenship, service to the United States, and personal responsibility” in the middle and high school students in the United States. JROTC is a part of the U.S. Army Corps, however, its major purpose goes beyond basic military training. Indeed, students involved in JROTC undergo training in military drill, firearm marksmanship, physical education, and even marching band sometimes. At the same time, as the mission of JROTC provides, the organization’s goal is to bring up the citizens of the United States who value their country on all levels and are ready to work for its better future (“Army Junior ROTC Program Overview”). Such a purpose apparently implies bringing up proper motivation as well as organizational and motivational skills in youth, a purpose that JROTC appears to accomplish effectively.
In the overview of JROTC, the organization itself provides rather convincing figures regarding the academic progress of students involved in the program. The overview of the program provides that the attendance of students involved in JROTC is about 3% higher than of regular students while disobedience and indiscipline is lower by 3.5%. In addition, the dropout rate is close to zero, compared to the regular 8%. Finally, the program overview provides that GPA for JROTC students in 0.2 higher than average (“Army Junior ROTC Program Overview”). While the numbers appear rather convincing, they cannot be particularly credible as they are provided by the program organization. Nevertheless, various researchers agree that the provided values are acceptable as a similar tendency has also been observed independently.
One important aspect of JROTC is that it should not be viewed as primarily a military training program to prepare youth for the military career. In her 2018 analysis of the program, Donna M. Rice provides that JROTC is to be viewed as a leadership program that provides training in communication and organization. The researcher adds that JROTC’s crucial aspect is its development of emotional intelligence of students that further leads to their academic progress (Rice 30). While earlier research of Elda Pema and Stephen Mehay provided that the academic progress would drop for program participants, the scholars noted that the research was conducted for at-risk students, i.e. those noted for exceptionally destructive behavior and poor academic performance (Pema and Mehay 535). Undoubtedly, the program might have a negative impact on youth that has particularly low discipline potential. For such cases, students must undergo a special preparation program prior to joining JROTC for the sake of the program’s effectiveness.
The development of organization and communication skills, however, is the prime factor the JROTC program is viewed positively in the United States. As such, Patty Jean Black (2016) noted that as of 2015-2016 academic years the majority of 491 interviewed school principals throughout the U.S. found the impact of JROTC positive. More specifically, the principals noted the enhanced ability of JROTC-participating students to communicate with their peers and achieve goals more quickly and efficiently, regardless of whether those goals are academic or not (Black 1002). In general, hence, JROTC proves to be of extremely high potential when it comes to improving students’ academic progress. However, the direct impact of the program is yet to be studied additionally.
The U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program appears to have a generally positive impact on youth and students of middle and secondary institutions in particularly. While the direct effect of the program does not appear to be largely positive, the program demonstrates strong potential by developing the emotional intelligence and soft skills of students. Considering such potential, it is noteworthy to conduct a long-term study to research whether the mentioned positive effects have any significant impact on academic progress of the youth as well.
“Army Junior ROTC Program Overview.” U.S. Army Junior ROTC, 2022, https://www.usarmyjrotc.com/general/program_overview.php.
Blake, Patty Jean, “Principals' Perceptions of the Effectiveness of the JROTC Program” (2016). Theses, Dissertations and Capstones, p. 1002.
https://mds.marshall.edu/etd/1002. Accessed 14 May 2022.
Pema, Elda, and Stephen Mehay. “The Effect of High School JROTC on Student Achievement, Educational Attainment, and Enlistment.” Southern Economic Journal, vol. 76, no. 2, 2009, pp. 533–52, http://www.jstor.org/stable/27751481. Accessed 14 May 2022.
Rice, Donna M. “The relationship of emotional intelligence to academic achievement.” National Teacher Education Journal, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 27-32, https://www.academia.edu/40393914/The_Relationship_of_Emotional_Intelligence_to_Academic_Achievement. Accessed 14 May 2022.
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