When the discussing the role of schools in the development of students, we often focus on the academic aspects as that is the primary function of schools. We often overlook the potential value of participation in extracurricular activities and the transformational benefits that it can have on student development. Whether students participate in athletics, chess club, theatre, or any other extracurricular activity, research shows that those students will perform better academically when compared to their peers who do not participate. Students engaged in extracurricular activities also benefit from the interactions with peers, sponsors and community members.
One of the most significant benefits of participation in extracurricular activities is that students begin to expand their circle of acquaintances and awaken their social skills development. Students who engage with others through extracurricular activities share a common interest in athletics, which unlocks many new ideas, experiences and opportunities. This improves their social development through participation in extracurricular activities.
Through extracurricular activities, some of the most introverted students who avoid social interactions can find their identity and become more sociable. They can even become campus leaders. Moreover, some of these students may be inclined to explore new clubs and activities that are recommended by other students with whom they have developed new friendships. This can expose them to new ideas and functions that they would not have participated in before.
Another interesting benefit of participating in extracurricular activities is that students get to interact with students from other schools. these interactions allow students to gain diverse perspectives on the different ways in which their peers learn. It introduces them to new ideologies and a better understanding of culture and heritage. In learning about other cultures through interacting with their peers, they are able to reflect on and share their own experiences. Thus leading to more meaningful social interactions among students.
Travel & Exposure
Finally, through participating in extracurricular activities students often get to travel locally and in some cases internationally. They become exposed to an even wider cross section of people who represent diverse cultural backgrounds and lifestyles. They become the recipients of new experiences that enrich their overall outlook. In addition to this, travelling allows for a true bonding experience. This can result in students becoming more open to discussions because of a newfound awareness that has been facilitated through shared experiences. They learn personal responsibility and how to take care of each other.
The social benefits of extracurricular participation are not always as evident as the academic benefits. However, these benefits are an important component in the development of the whole child. Social benefits should be given due credit and emphasised.
By Dr Thomas Gamboa Jr.