Fieldwork- Surveys: The Effects Extracurricular Activities Can Have On a Child

The Effects Extracurricular Activities Can Have On a Child

The focus of my survey was extracurricular involvement. I wanted to see the effects, both positive and negative, extracurricular activities had on a child’s social life and academic performance, and if, in the end, their participation was more beneficial or harmful. There are varying views on this topic, for some people strongly encourage participation in clubs and sports while others frown upon it. Those supporting it believe that these activities help children to learn responsibility and gain confidence, and those against it often claim that loading a child with extracurricular activities can burden them with unnecessary stress and pull their focus away from school. In order to gather an idea about which view is more accurate, I conducted a survey that targeted parents with children between the ages of five and eighteen. I asked their child’s age, activity level, academic performance, social characteristics, and if they are affected by any social or behavioral disorders. I wanted to see how these extracurriculars affected both the average child and those suffering from disorders. Through my data, I was able to gather that children who participated in extracurricular activities did not only have stronger academic performances, but they were also more socially developed and strongly displayed the characteristics of friendliness, humor, and responsibility.

Sixteen people took part in my survey focusing on children and the effects of their involvement in extracurriculars. The first questions my participants were presented asked if they were the parent or guardian of a minor and how old their child was. All but two participants confirmed that they housed a minor, and the ages they listed ranged from eight to seventeen. I felt that it was important to see the age of the child being observed, for social development and academic performance is judged differently at different ages. Those who are below the age of ten are not as expected to display the same amount of responsibility as those above the age of fourteen. This distinction also helped me to see how extracurricular involvement effects children of varying ages. Once the ages were established, I asked the participants if their child suffered from some form of learning or behavioral disorder and what that disorder was. This data allowed me to see if extracurriculars affected those children positively, and if it could possibly help them to treat or gain control over their disorders. Out of my sixteen participants, three parents confirmed that they had a child suffering from some sort of disorder. Two were diagnosed with ADHD, and another confirmed that their child had been diagnosed with a high IQ at a young age This diagnosis led to atypical social development.

The next topic approached was the child’s involvement in extracurricular activities. All but one of my participants responded to this question, and 93.3% confirmed that their child was actively involved in extracurriculars. Out of this group, 14.3% were involved 0-5 hours per week, 28.6% were involved 5-10 hours per week, 21.4% were involved 10-15 hours per week, and 35.7% were involved in extracurricular activities more than 15 hours per week. In addition to that, two out of the fourteen participants that confirmed their child’s extracurricular involvement had children suffering from a social or behavioral disorder. Both of these participants believed that the extracurriculars benefitted their child and claimed that they “help[ed] with self-esteem” and “[gave] their [child’s] mind something to [focus] on.” By filtering this data, I was able to see that a majority of those children participating in extracurriculars had better better academic performances than those who were not.

Looking at the chart below, you can see the total percentages of the observed children whose academic performances were described as “Above Average,” “Average,” or “Below Average.”

Following this are two charts which break down the academic performances into those who do participate in extracurricular activities, and those who do not.

While there may not be a large amount of children representing those who do not participate in extracurriculars, the large percentage of children that participated in extracurriculars and were described as having an “Above Average” academic performance strongly supports the claim that extracurricular involvement will academically benefit a child.

Social development was the next topic discussed in the survey. I wanted to see if a child involved in extracurriculars will socially develop differently from those who were not involved. Based on the children who do participate in extracurriculars, the three dominant characteristics were friendliness (92.9%), humor (78.6%), and independence (78.6%). Other characteristics strongly represented were being a “people-please”(57.1%), studiousness (50.0%), being easy-going (57.1%), responsibility (71.4%), being a high achiever (50.0%). (See Chart Below.) Many of these characteristics represent social qualities that are important for life. They also support that claim that extracurricular involvement encourages responsibility and confidence, for each of the strongly represented characteristics listed above support one of the two.

Because I only had one participant confirm that their child was not involved in extracurricular activities, I am unable to compare the socially developments between those who are involved in extracurricular activities and those who are not. This child showed a wide variety of characteristics; however, a single child’s characteristics cannot accurately represent a group.

Other questions asked were: “Approximately, how many hours a week does your child devote to the T.V., computer. or video games?” and “What type of school does your child attend?” These questions can help to see other components that may affect a child’s academic performance and social development. The majority of the children, 53.3%, attended public schools, 26.7% attended private, and 20.1% represented other. The amount of television watch varied greatly amongst the groups, ranging from 2 hours a week to 15 or more hours a week.

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I thought it was quite interesting to see the amount of time child devote to extracurricular weekly and their corresponding grades. Surprisingly, all of those who participated in ten or more hours of extracurriculars a week were described as having “Above Average” academic performances. It was also interesting to see that dominant characteristics developed in those who are involved in extracurriculars.

The biggest disappointment within my survey, was the lack of participants representing children that did not participate in extracurricular activities. While the data I received was able to partially support the claims I desired, the data could not be considered accurate. If I were able to do the survey again, I would make sure that I had more participants in total and more participants to represent the non-active group. I would also like to have more participants with varying social and behavioral disorders. Because I only had three with confirmed disorders, I was not able to gather any data that could support any trend between the disorders, social development and academic performance. I believe that doing a study on the effects extracurricular involvement has on the treatment and control of social and behavioral disorders could be very interesting and beneficial.


http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CHVWHJP

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~ by camccain on November 2, 2010.

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