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How extracurricular activities strengthen the friendship among the students

Extracurricular activities are an important part of our schooling and the college system. They play a key role in the personality development of the students besides helping them to cope up with the pressure. Many students turn the extracurricular activities into a profession in the later stage of their life.

 But now the new researches reveal that the extracurricular activities even shape friendship. Theoretically speaking extracurricular activities are settings that are theorized to help adolescents maintain existing friendships and develop new friendships. The overarching goal of the current investigation was to examine whether co-participating in school-based extracurricular activities supported adolescents’ school-based friendships. We utilized social network methods and data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to examine whether dyadic friendship ties were more likely to exist among activity co-participants while controlling for alternative friendship processes, namely dyadic homophily (e.g., demographic and behavioral similarities) and network-level processes (e.g., triadic closure). Results provide strong evidence that activities were associated with current friendships and promoted the formation of new friendships. These associations varied based on school level (i.e., middle versus high school) and activity type (i.e., sports, academic, arts). Results of this study provide new insight into the complex relations between activities and friendship that can inform theories of their developmental outcomes.

 Ecological theory says that adolescents’ friendships are nested in a larger setting such as schools. According to developmentalists, it is an extracurricular activity which contributes to the adolescent friendships.   Most of the studies highlighted the positive outcomes of school-based extracurricular activities. Activity-based friendships play a significant role in producing such positive outcomes.

 Co-participating in a school-based extracurricular activity supported friendships among adolescents at the same school.

It is evident from the research that regular and sustained contact centered on an activity develops a friendship. But there should be consistency in extracurricular activities and it should provide the basic environment for adolescents to spend enough time with each other.

 Researchers say that extracurricular activities encourage teamwork among the co-participants. All these skills developed during extracurricular activities can help adolescents maintain present friendships and develop new ones.  It also brings children with a similar interest together.

 Scholars say that a positive association between activity co-participation and friendships can be observed mainly among high school students rather than middle school students. This is because high school students select activities based on friendships and to develop new friendships based on co-participation.

 Friendship based on co-participation varies by the type of the school-based activity. Generally, schools offer these three types of school-based activities such as sports, performing arts and academic clubs. Sports are a participatory type of activity and it may receive more positive gestures of friendship than non-participant activities such as art or academic activities. But friendship will be stronger among the students in art and academic activities because of the lower status crowd. Generally, co-participants of a activity would more likely become friends.

 Students academic performance and extracurricular activities

 Studies have been conducted assessing the effects of specific extracurricular activities on academic performance. The research data revealed that, according to the students surveyed, playing sports, watching television, and participating in community service improves academic performance, while the influence of playing a musical instrument on academic performance has both positive and negative responses. Thus, it was concluded that extracurricular activities affect academic performance and that the effect depends on the specific activities in which the student is involved.

 Numerous studies have examined the factors influencing students’ academic achievement, and many activities were found to have a significant influence.

 A study conducted in the University of North Texas emphasizes on the home environment and considers it as one among the most important influences on academic performance. This study has found a  correlation between the nonacademic activities and their academic performance.

 It was not until recently that “educational practitioners and researchers have taken a more positive perspective, arguing that extracurricular activities may have positive effects on life skills and may also benefit academic accomplishments”. It is obvious that extracurricular activities have an impact on academic performance and education ever since their inception.

 The question is, how are extracurricular activities affecting academic performance today?

 Although researchers agree that extracurricular activities influence academic performance, the specific effect that various activities produce is debated. The study, conducted by the National Educational Longitudinal Study, says that “participation in some activities improves achievement, while participation in others diminishes achievement”.

 Many extracurricular activities have proven as beneficial in building and strengthening academic achievement of a student.  Quite a few studies have proved that students participating in extracurricular activities did better academically than students who did not participate.

 Researchers have studied the relationship between extracurricular activities and academic performance in adolescents. Darling and Caldwell and Smith have found adolescents who participated in extracurricular activities secured higher grades and expressed more positive attitudes toward school, and higher academic aspirations.

 The impact that sports have on academic performance has been debated over the years—some argue that the impact is positive, while others say it is negative.  Broh says that playing sports in high school has no significant effect on grades or standardized test scores.  But Broh believes that “participation in interscholastic sports promotes students’ development and social ties among students, parents, and schools.

 Music and academic performance

 Research reflects a strong positive relationship between participation in music and academic performance. According to Ponter  “music should be considered as fundamental to the curriculum like mathematics and reading”. A study, which evaluated the effects that musical performance on children’s academic performance and thinking abilities, states that “instrumental music training enhances the higher brain functions required for mathematics, science, and engineering”.  Generally, music students reach higher academic achievement levels in academic studies than non-music students. The impact of music is incredible.  It will impact academic performance throughout a student’s educational career.

 The Relationship Between Television Viewing and Academic Performance

 Television viewing habits and academic performance of students is a most controversial subject. Researchers say that the amount and quality of television viewing and family involvement positively influence academic performance. According to Marsh and Kleitman says that more time in leisure activities was related to poorer academic grades while less time watching TV were associated with higher test scores and school grades.

 Television is usually not considered an extracurricular activity, per se, but for the sake of this study, it is classified as one. Other studies consider it more of a leisure activity than an extracurricular activity. Most studies favor more structured extracurricular activities than watching television for enhanced academic performance. Marsh & Kleitman (2002) reported that “more time in extracurricular activities and structured groups and less time watching TV [are] associated with higher test scores and school grades”.

 Over 4,000 studies have been published on measuring the effect of television on children. The results suggest a correlation between high rates of television viewing and aggressive and violent behavior, lower academic performance”.

 The most research found a negative relationship between television viewing and academic performance; however, there are some instances where television may actually have a positive effect. These instances are few and far between; the most common theory is that there is a negative relationship between the two.

 Parents should not forbid their children from participating in any extracurricular activities. Participating in such activities has the potential of benefiting the child in more than simply an academic sense—it also aids them in developing social skills, life skills, and talents.

 But keeping in mind the best interests of the students, the parents must keep an eye on the friends of their children who often accompany him. "Friends decide the fate of the young minds. Bad friendship ruins one's life. So the parents must be very careful. Extracurricular activities are good. But it should not affect the priorities of the students," says Vidyalakshmi, a counselor from the city.

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