Greater Academic Achievement Among Students Who Engage In Extracurricular Activities

Parents strive to improve their children’s chances of success in life. Quality education is one of the factors that improve the chances of children being successful later in life. Hirschi’s social bonding theory details the major components that facilitate greater accomplishment in life. Despite the fact that the theory has been widely researched, there is little knowledge of the factors that lead to scholastic success among students who take part in extracurricular activities. There little knowledge on the variables that lead to this phenomenon. This paper will address the factors that lead to greater academic achievement among students who engage in extracurricular activities. First and foremost, it is vital to determine the relation between students’ attachment to family and satisfaction from school. It is also vital to analyze students’ school involvement and determine whether it has any connection with school fulfillment. It is critical to determine whether there is any relationship between the variables and the students’ gender, race, or age. Understanding the variables that a positive influence on the overall achievement of students would help in implementing strategies that would improve the students’ chances of success in life.

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In the contemporary world, students have many obstacles that affect their academic success and satisfaction from learning. Most of the distractions are significantly different to the distractions that their parents faced when they were young. Some of the issues that teenagers face include changes in appearance, development, and emotional maturity. These factors may pose certain challenges to the ability of students to attain educational achievement and engage in various extracurricular activities.

Using Travis Hirchi’s Social Bonding Theory To Explain Students’ Academic Performance

Travis Hirchi’s social bonding theory is one the major theories that may help in explaining students’ academic performance. The theory claims that strong attachment to the society prevents people from having deviant behavior. According the theory, social bond has several dimensions. These include attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief.

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Attachment is the first element of Hirschi’s social bonding theory. It does not simply refer to interpersonal relationships. It also refers to the social and cultural standards of a certain society. For instance, people’s first attachment is towards their parents. The parents help their children understand the world around them. Attachment enables people to know what to expect from other people and what is expected of them. People learn to internalize the cultural norms making them become a critical component of their individual and collective identities. As such, attachment helps in defining a certain type of shared understanding of the social boundaries that prevent people from focusing solely on themselves or whatever they want at a certain time. People who do not have strong attachments to other people feel like outsiders. This makes them be less likely to acknowledge the importance of various social boundaries.

Commitment is also an element that prevents people from engaging in activities that violate social norms. From the above explanation, it is clear that attachment is related to how people internalize social expectations. However, commitment refers to the willingness of people to hold on to the social expectations. For example, if an individual works in an office, the individual would strive to limit the noise that he makes. This is due to the fact that individual acknowledges that such behavior is unacceptable in that social environment. The behavior also has consequences, which include angering other people. This makes the individual be committed to the social norms that ensure that there is a good office environment. People who do not have strong attachments are less likely to have strong commitments to conform to various social norms and expectations. Due to the fact that they feel as outsiders, they ignore the consequences of their actions since they think they are insignificant.

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Involvement refers to the level of engagement or feeling of connection with other people in the society. For instance, according to the social bonding theory, people who have high level of involvement with other people tend to have stronger attachments and commitment to social norms. Therefore, there is low possibility that they would engage in deviant behavior. Engagement leaves people with less time to engage in activities that deviate from their goals.

Belief is the final element of the social bonding theory. It refers to the level of adherence to values that are related to behaviors that conform to the society. The level of importance of the beliefs determines the likelihood of an individual engaging in deviant behavior. For instance, students who do not value education and instead value spending their time playing video games and taking drugs are more likely to play video games and take drugs instead of attending school. On the other hand, students who believe that it is wrong to take drugs are less likely to engage in such behavior. Despite the fact that this principle is relatively simple, the underlying principle that Hirschi used in defining this element is that there is an important relationship between attitudes and behavior. As such, prosocial attitudes prevent people from committing crimes, which they may have committed if there were no social bonds. People who have high level of involvement in the normal society are more committed. They also become more attached with other people. This makes them have a sense of responsibility. Being accountable discourages them from engaging in deviant behavior.

The social bonds as defined by Hirschi’s social bonding theory combine in a manner that enables them to control people’s behavior indirectly. This implies that these bonds are not directly present in people’s lives to control their behavior. Instead, the prosocial bonds that people form over time control people’s behavior even in instances where they are not present. Hirschi’s social bonds detail the mechanism for informal social control of people. This implies the bonds that control people’s behavior are generally social conventions instead of formal laws.

Despite the fact that several studies have been conducted to show the relationship between academic achievement and student participation in extracurricular activities, there is little knowledge on the factors that lead to the success of people who engage in extracurricular activities. According to Bishop et al. (2003), parents would prefer their children to have C grades and be active in extracurricular activities instead of having A grades and be inactive. This highlights the importance of extracurricular activities according to parents. Parents strive to teach their children how to become all-rounded individuals, which is critical in the ability of students to attain academic success and success in life. Students who engage in extracurricular activities also spend more time doing their homework than people who do not engage in extracurricular activities. They also spend less time watching TV. People who engage in extracurricular activities are less likely to drop out of school. They also have a high likelihood of attending college. They would also earn 3 to 11% more than people who do not engage in extracurricular activities when they become adults (Bishop et al., 2003).

Students engage in extracurricular activities of their choice. This makes them be willing to do all it takes to succeed in the activities. It may also make them be willing to take into account the opinions of other people. Applying the same energy in academic activities increases their chances of success. Being involved in extracurricular activities also keeps the students occupied. Therefore, they have less time to engage in delinquent behaviors. The students have less time since planning, programs, and deadlines that have to be met. A teacher or other senior individual usually guides people who engage in extracurricular activities. This makes them to get used to receiving instructions. The youths are less likely to violate formal and informal laws since they acknowledge their importance.  People who engage in conventional activities believe in the validity of moral values of the society. This makes them have strong bonds to the traditional society, which prevents them from becoming engaging in deviant behaviors.

According to Hirschi’s social bonding theory, the level of weakness of a group determines the level of dependence of the individual on the group. People are usually less dependent on weak groups. The reverse is true for strong groups. Hirschi’s social bonding theory has several positive aspects. However, is also has several weaknesses. One of the weakness of the theory is that it does not provide adequate distinction on the importance of the elements that constitute it. Research by various scholars shows that there are several differences in the elements stipulated in the theory. Studies have shown that a significant number of adolescents have high level of “involvement.” According to the Hirschi’s social bonding theory, these adolescents should have low levels of deviant behaviors. Adolescents who engage in criminal behavior outside the home may have parents who have weak control or have more opportunity to commit the crimes.

Hirschi’s social bonding theory claims that any type of attachment is beneficial to an individual. As such, deviant peers and parents may also have a significant impact on the behavior of adolescents. Therefore, using the analogy of the social bonding theory attachment to the deviant peers or parents should be beneficial. Hirschi contradicts himself since it is evident that attachment to deviant parents and peers would make people have antisocial behaviors. Attachment to delinquent peers increases delinquent peer instead of reducing it. People who have peers or family members who have deviant behaviors are motivated to commit crimes and engage in various antisocial behaviors (Akers, 2013).

Hirschi’s social bonding theory overlooks the fact that the strength of bonds changes with time. People who have weak bonds with parents have a low likelihood of having delinquent behaviors. On the other hand, people who have strong bonds with peers have a high likelihood of having delinquent behaviors.

There have been significant changes in the family structure since Hirschi articulated his theory. In contemporary American society, there are more single parent family and same sex families. These households may have a significant influence on the behaviors of children in those families. It is still not clear whether these families have a positive or negative impact on children. This is one of the major weaknesses of the social bonding theory since it may be used to explain how the above type of families may have a positive or negative impact on children. There are also various different races and ethnicities in contemporary American society. Bonds are different across the races and ethnicities. Different cultures have different beliefs. What is normal in one culture may be wrong in another. Hirschi’s social bonding theory used what he considered to a typical family, which was white. Due to the fact that bonds are stronger among people who have certain lifestyles, the impact of the bonds would be dependent on the lifestyle. People who have strong families are more likely to have good behaviors. However, if the family is too strong, the reverse may be true.

Students may engage in extracurricular activities to make themselves desirable to other students. Students have various options on the extracurricular activities to engage in. Saint Leo University aspires to have well-rounded graduates, as this would increase their chances of success in life. Being goo in certain extracurricular activities does not guarantee the participation of the individual in a competition. The university ensures that candidates maintain a high grade to continue engaging in certain extracurricular activities. The university conducts regular checks to ensure that students are eligible to participate in certain extracurricular activities. Having these standards ensures that students appreciate the value of maintaining good grades apart from being good in the extracurricular activities of their choice. This helps the university achieve its core value of excellence (DeLamater, 2014).

Students engage in extracurricular activities hoping that they would get scholarship based on their athletic ability. A scholarship may be the only opportunity to attain college education among students from low-income families. Scholarship is not the only goal of these students. The students also like to be enrolled in professional sports. Therefore, the students strive to ensure that they achieve these goals. They study hard to attain grades that would enable the continue engaging the extracurricular activities. This increases their level of attachment to both sports and extracurricular activities. As such, it increases the chances of the students being successful in both fields (Zins et al., 2004).

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Parents support teenagers who engage in extracurricular activities since they value extracurricular activities. Increase in the level of support helps in improving the strength of ties between the student and the parents. It increases their attachment toward parents and other family members. They appreciate what is expected of them. Therefore, they would strive to fulfill the expectations. Attachment makes the students feel to be an integral part of the family. Involvement in extracurricular activities also makes students are willing to hold on to societal expectations. It would make them feel connected with other members of the society. This prevents them from engaging in deviant behavior. Engaging in extracurricular activities would ultimately help in improving the students’ attitudes. This would help in improving their performance in not only the extracurricular activities but also other aspects of their lives. This improves their chances of success in life. As such, it is clear that the social bonding theory may help in explaining the reasons as to why people who engage in extracurricular activities have a high likelihood of being successful in life.

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