Thursday, February 4, 2010
Can I just say "duh?"
"Researchers are finding that academic success is particularly difficult for a student who is struggling socially, who may feel ostracized and uncomfortable at school. The correlation between social competence and academic success is high." This is a statement from an article that found its way into my inbox today.
Does anyone else see the "duh" factor here? When I read that line, I laughed out loud. Of course, there's a correlation between social success and academic success! Despite the inaccurate media portrayal of the "nerd", who is so behind socially but so supersmart that everyone makes fun of him, it is true that confidence in social skills contributes to success academically.
In fact, I went to three elementary schools, one junior high and two high schools and in all those hundreds of people, I never knew one "nerd" who actually fit the media stereotype. Most of the academically successful people I knew were very well-rounded individuals. They often played sports or participated in dance and even cheerleading. They often played instruments in the school band or orchestra or sang in the choir. Many of them were involved in lots of clubs, spoke more than one language, and kept their social calendars quite full. Even the ones who seemed to be less socially accepted were still confident in themselves and had at least a few good friends with whom to socialize.
I was a school nerd. I guess I still kind of am one. That's how I know this--I'm speaking of my peers. Yes, even cheerleaders and football players too. The way the media portrays them is not the way they really are. Perhaps there are a few who fit those stereotypes. But for the most part, I think that most people need to be well-rounded in this way to achieve academic success.
I also think that American schools should focus on keeping extra-curriculars and the arts because those things help motivate students to do better academically. I also believe that learning in a more well-rounded way as to include these subjects helps the brain function on a higher level than just focusing on only reading and math and nothing else.
So there's my soapbox for the day.