An ideal school gives to students the scope and the spirit of healthy competition — to excel at all levels.
Class work and the home work given by teachers have their academic importance; in this also one who excels wins the praise and appreciation from the teachers. But academic distinctions alone do not fulfill all the purpose for which the school exists.
A school is the workshop of life-building in which the raw material is the nascent young pupils. The Principal, the teachers are molders of this raw material into the ideal mold.
For this process, many more activities, other than vroom ones are needed to fulfill the purpose. A young pupil might have the potential and the natural Lent to excel in games and sports and he needs to go to play field and the sports ground for the purpose.
There can be students whose natural bent of mind is towards creative art and the art room is his field where he needs to be given the chance to exhibit his potential. Even little children of the nursery or the primary classes can draw such lines and make such figures which may amaze an on-looker and may be led to exclaim —’What an idea, how could he imagine this?’
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One cannot and does not know how much talent in what direction lies in a child’s brain. This can only come out when he or she is given that opportunity. The school has to provide such chances and explore out the pearls from the sea-depths of the young mind.
Art competitions of different level of students are activities that need to be arranged and the excellence in that to be rewarded and encouraged.
There are boys and girls who have a knack of oration. They have in them an amount of self-confidence that they can face spectators and audience. Elocution contests and debates offer them the chance to exhibit this latent talent of theirs.
Such inter-class or inter-school competitions should regularly be held which would further them to become good debaters — who knows, they may one day become parliamentarians and what they have gained during their school days may place them in good stead in that field.
Cultural shows; dramatics performances, mono- acting’s are events which schools generally hold and it so necessary for schools to hold them. That is also at of total education.
Taking part in such events gives children a sense of self-confidence and embellishes their accomplishments which they possess or can even develop. Anything, any activity which helps in the development of the total personality of young boy or girl is a part of education and competitions, the effort to excel from others, is an incentive which must be provided to a young mind.
Such an opportunity is offered to them only through such cultural and extra-curricular activities Opening up of personality; developing the latent talents- promotion of the intellectual effort and an opportunity of healthy competition — all these are factors which an educational institution should always encourage — only when it does this, it fulfills its role in the total education of the young.
Extracurricular activities? (Photo credit: ksevik)
Many parents and students do not understand the importance of extra-curricular activities. Over the years I have had to persuade a number of parents to allow their children to continue participating in extra-curricular activities, because they felt that these activities distracted their offspring from their academic work. This scenario tended to unfold either when a student was struggling academically or when the student wanted to focus totally on academics, to the exclusion of everything else. They felt that extra-curricular involvement was a waste of precious time and that it caused their children to get home too late in the evening.
Nothing could be further from the truth than this notion of wasting time. Academic subjects and extra-curricular activities complement each other and develop a well-rounded, socially skilled, and healthier student. There are so many possible extra-curricular activities that each student can choose one that appeals to him or her personally. Activities range from athletics, various sports, scouts, girl guides, debating, music and chess to paramilitary groups like the cadets. This list is not even exhaustive. Some students choose more than one pursuit.
Extra-curricular activities help to develop the whole student. We cannot just produce one-dimensional students in our schools. Many students use their skills in extra-curricular activities like athletics or sports and their academic ability to gain athletic or sports scholarships to various universities. Numerous students from my former school are granted athletic scholarships to American universities in this way.
Researchers like Massoni, Erin ( 2011 ) and others have listed many benefits derived from participation in extra-curricular activities at school. I have seen the same benefits among my former students. Let us consider some of them.
Students who are involved in extra-curricular pursuits tend to improve their academic grades as well. This may be due to increased self-esteem, motivation and better time management. They become better organized in the classroom. They demonstrate a reduction of at-risk behavior and a heightened sense of belonging, resulting in better behaviour.
They learn useful new skills from their chosen activity, and in integrating these activities into their everyday school lives, they learn time management, critical thinking, teamwork and social skills. They develop life-long relationships with their peers and learn how to lead others. These skills will be beneficial in later life and in the workplace.
Extra-curricular activities also foster a sense of commitment to a cause or purpose and they reduce selfish behaviour. Students become more marketable in the workplace.
Through the avenue of extra-curricular activities students find it much easier to gain admission into universities. Modern universities are more interested in recruiting students who have something to offer besides academic qualifications. They seek out students who can make a contribution in other areas to the university and the society at large. Many universities and some schools make money and gain prestige through their extra-curricular engagement in various arenas.
Hopefully, more parents and students will see the importance of extra-curricular activities and diversify and deepen their interests and hobbies. The whole society will benefit. Finally, as one of my readers, AKGM, commented below: “A lot of careers are built directly from hobbies.”