The Effect of Co Curricular Activities on the Mental Health of Students

Before switching online due to the COVID-19 Virus Pandemic in early March 2020 many schools were looking and struggling with the idea of choosing to cut co curricular activities from their daily schedules. The concern surrounds the idea that these programs are a waste of time for the students and money and resources for the school. However mental health is at an all-time low in teenagers due to numerous social attributes of being a teenager during the technical age of the twenty-first century, therefore if schools can both use extracurriculars to improve academic success and help support bettering the mental health of their students it is more beneficial to do so. Therefore how are co curricular activities important in helping to promote the academic performance of students, engage kids, and provide a well-rounded education? With an emphasis on mental health attributing to success during and after early education.

Throughout the last 200 years have seen a shift from an education meant to teach specific skills for workforce implementation to a liberal arts education; that is learning how to learn. This is due to schools aiming to turn students into productive members of current society. While some schools are looking to push out emphasis on sports and arts involvement in education to improve students’ academic performance, this is found to be incorrect. Not only does extracurricular involvement increase academic success, but it is also displaying benefits to the developmental psychology of school children. Psychology is the study of how the mind and the body work together. Education strives to push students and explore and learn what they are capable of. Co curricular activities such as arts, sports, clubs, and STEM programs are important for students to be exposed to. Participation in athletic activities, research suggests, provides positive impacts and a positive correlation between the two. Therefore, the presence of extracurricular activity is an important factor in helping engage students in school, provide outlets to deal with mental health, and influence positive development in early childhood.

Co curricular activities are facing extreme repercussions as many schools are looking at the option of cutting their funding and the allotted time given. The issue is that they are failing, including in the status quo where the United States finds itself behind on the international scale. An education scholar, Amanda Ripley, argues that athletic involvement is detrimental to the education system because it is a distraction and a waste of resources from academics, and blames the decline of global hegemony on such premise. Ripley’s two core arguments, however, are flawed. She fails to connect the positive impact of sports on the world of mental health improvements in provides students. Ripley also compares the United States’ education system to Korea; however, this is an unfair comparison for two reasons, the societal differences between the two countries but also the difference of intensity associated with education. To fairly weigh the impacts of sports and other extracurriculars against their cost, one must look at the benefits of such involvement with the mental health of students. Northwestern explores as well the example of analysis of STEM programs shows that involvement in them not only increases student happiness within the system but also ties directly back to their academic performance. When evaluated on its face in relation to cost, obviously the STEM programs will look to be negative, but when one ties their effect back to the classroom one can see that the resources put into STEM solve problems that resources put into the traditional system fail to account for. While looking at while system implements less stress and still provides students with helpful tools to improve the current mental health of students the use of co curricular activities in the schooling system in the USA is more beneficial.

Involvement in extracurricular involvement increases student investment in their education, preventing dropouts and other absences. Students at Michigan analyzed studies on the effect of co curricular activities on dropout rates and found that increased participation in those activities reduced dropout rates. This also allows children another way to invest in their education by shifting their view of the goals of education. A shift in goals that often is a direct connection to better mental health rates. Studies suggest that students who participate in co curricular activities are more likely to have higher aspirations for themselves and therefore increased academic performance.

07 July 2022
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