Extracurricular activities play an important role in today’s K to 12 in elementary,intermediate level. When one considers the large number of activities available, one realizes the diversity of the programs. Included are athletics, campus journalism, student government, academic clubs, service organizations, and special interest activities. There has been a considerable amount of research devoted to studying the relationship between student involvement in activities and student academic achievement.
Although a positive correlation has been shown in many of studies, there is still a fierce battle among educators concerning the need for extracurricular activities. Two positions appear to be prevalent in today’s academic community. These are referred to as either the academic or developmental perspective. The academic perspective considers extracurricular activities as purely leisure and not part of the purpose of schools. The developmental perspective considers extracurricular activities necessary to the total development of the student in today’s schools (Holland ; Andre, 1987). Educators who believe in the academic perspective argue that time spent away from the classroom decreases the student’s chances for success.
Even those activities that don’t require loss of classroom time are perceived to take away study time. These educators support cutting or eliminating activities for budgetary reasons. Moreover,educators who believe in the developmental perspective see activities as an extension of the educational program. Activities allow students to develop skills such as leadership, sportsmanship, self-discipline, self-confidence, and the ability to handle competitive situations. Extracurricular activities offer an opportunity to interact in ways that allow the previously mentioned skills to blossom. The developmental minded believe that many of these skills would be impossible or very difficult to develop in a classroom setting.
Marsh (1 992) stated: According to different theoretical perspectives, extracurricular activity participation may be posited to (a) divert attention from academic pursuits, as evidenced by its negative effects on narrowly defined academic goals; (b) have little or no effect on academic outcomes but contribute to desirable nonacademic outcomes; or (c) have positive effects on non academic outcomes and facilitate academic growth, perhaps indirectly, as well.