Meet Anjuman Ara, currently a Senior English Language teacher at BAF Shaheen English Medium School (SEMS). In a world where a majority of the population still refuses to acknowledge the various contributions of extracurriculars to a child’s development, her 12 years at SEMS has made her a strong advocate. Of the many extracurriculars offered at SEMS, Mrs. Ara leads and worked alongside the students of the ‘Spelling Bee’ activity and has guided them to 3 consecutive years of bringing home the title of Inter-Shaheen Spelling Champions and going on to complete individually on a national level.
Extracurricular activities help foster social skills, teamwork and open communication. It helps build confidence when kids find themselves in situations where they initiate and successfully attain their goals. When you take a child outside of a classroom and expose them to real issues, you give them the opportunity to take an active role in the community.
Any activity that let’s you take a step back from the books and the confines of thinking within the box. That could be anything from music and arts to taking up a new language or cuisine. The basic principle is that it provides an outlet for creative problem solving and creative self-expression.
Extracurricular activities open you up to a larger, more diverse group of people; outside of your comfort zone. This often means interacting with kids of different age groups and it provides an opportunity to learn to navigate different social situations, develop people skills, build confidence and empathy.
While co-curricular activities are definitely encouraged, they are still not perceived as something that can help further their children’s careers but simply as activity outside of the classroom. And this is still a practiced belief because while colleges and universities abroad may look for a wider range of skills in their students, educational institutes in the country have for the longest time looked only at grades. Parents can be shown, by example, how students learn life skills that can help their children fend for themselves when they step out into the real world. Things you cannot prepare for by reading equations off a book.
– Interviewed by Amana Iftekhar
Shazia Yasmin, Vice Principal at Scholastica (Junior Section), is an avid practitioner of activity based learning firmly believes in the Chinese proverb, “Tell me something and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” She also believes that the key is to balance between the syllabus and the co-curricular activities beyond the academics for an all-round development of a person.
In the 21st century all the co-curricular activities are in various ways related to academics. Co-curricular activities are things which instill interest in students, something that inspires them, sometimes it even helps them in paying attention to the academics. It’s personality development with the help of recreation. Traditional method is not suitable anymore where the teacher lectures and students just listen. You have to make the environment as such where the students get to share their experience and learn through the environment. Scholastica believes in all rounded education where students develop themselves intellectually, morally, sensibly and socially all of which comes from extra-curricular activities. I think that co-curricular is the art of living. It’s what builds the personality of students. Co-curricular is an element that has an educational value in a non-academic way. A good student may not have social skills, which is where co-curricular activities step up helping in social and civic development and building self-confidence which adds to an overall personality development. It molds their lives to become a proper human being.
Regardless of what one’s aim in life may be, walking in that path requires them to be a proper person with qualities as simple yet crucial like time management for example. Organizing an event or leading a sports team, increases their sense of responsibility, team spirit, sportsmanship. These are things that in one way or another are required for wherever you may work, be it as a junior employee or a CEO. Scholastica for example, has the Green World event which is an environment week. Integrating academics and co-curricular, the students exhibit their projects done in class for a whole week. Leadership skills, confidence and presentation skills are developed which not only help nurture their passion but also help develop professional skills.
– Interviewed by Arshae Ahmed
Farzana Aziz, Faculty of Economics and German language at Maple Leaf International School, is actively involved many extracurriculars for instance drama club, photography club, German club and other volunteering activities to develop leadership skills among students.
Nowadays, students are able to opt for clubs such as drama club, music club, photography club, German club and also programs like The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award which is prominent in providing touring and volunteering activities.
Extracurricular activities help students to develop their skills. Activities like photography has given the opportunity to our students to take part in summits. Every student must have skill, they should be well trained in some aspect for example music, singing, dancing or learning a new language; something that is not related to academia. Even learning a new language like German helps students not only in their exams but it is also an addition to the skills he or she has. Through extracurricular activities students are able to find out their talents and this also encourages their parents to let them spend more time going to these activities and enhancing their skills. It is important that parents support their children, the teachers always give their best and the students themselves are also cooperative.
Furthermore, it is the students who take part in extracurricular activities and other programs, who get good results and even the highest grades in their O and A level exams. Definitely grades do matter in getting admitted to competitive universities. A fact that we have observed is that students get more chances to universities based on their talent, their platforms are more open and they are getting more privileges as they are involved in clubs and programs. Before exams like O and A levels students see that they have the option to be involved in any club and they do get involved in such extracurricular activities, without any push from the teachers. Today’s generation realizes that only education will not help, they also need to have extracurricular activities or they will not get the chance to work in a field. So students are encouraged to take part in clubs. Students now are given the opportunities and platforms, which were absent in my time as a student, and these skills help not only in the university level but also in ones work life.
These extracurricular activities definitely help students in their careers. Students who are involved in these programs are the ones who are given the first priorities when they are going for any jobs. We have found our students working for embassies, multinational companies, and renowned organizations and even abroad. Students realize that only good results will not help them and they are keen to develop their skills which they learn from these clubs. Therefore, students are required to have a diversified set of skills which they learn from these activities.
– Interviewed by Safen Roy
SISTER KOLPONA COSTA, CSC
Sister Kolpona Costa, CSC, currently serves as Secretary of the Area of Asia Leadership Team and as administrator and teacher at Holy Cross Girls’ High School. She was honored in July 2018 for her 25 years of consecrated life as Sister of the Holy Cross.
Sister Kolpona Costa believes that club activities contribute to the development of students. She says that different co-curricular activities offer a different set of skills set that help make a person better. These learnings and values gained young can be carried along forever. And these contribute to the person’s career as well.
Holy Cross Girls’ High School offers its students an access to multiple clubs like — Debate Club, Quiz Club, Art Club and Recitation Club. Speaking solely from the perspective of Holy Cross, I firstly think the Debate Club allows students to practice and present their opinion with firm understanding, they learn the art of establishing their views as well as agreeing and disagreeing in very assertive ways. They gain the confidence and faith in speaking up for what they believe in. I think that these things when combined together, develop their critical thinking ability.
The quiz club gives them the chance to become aware of the world around them and far from them, through the knowledge of things that change and get updated every day. They learn to think of other people, their situation, their cultural and the political reality — things that give them broad space of perspective. We believe creativity is not always limited to being God gifted but is also a learned skill. Through the likes of Art and Recitation clubs, they develop their abstract perception, the art of color combination and proportional dimension along with courage and self-confidence with a touch of emotional understanding, respectively. They learn to see things in different angles.
Besides, each class has four teams. Each team does group activities like preparing a Bulletin Board based on some moral values. This helps developing team work, learning to listen and respect someone else’s views and a confidence to share their own ideas.
All the qualities that I mentioned before contribute to the professional development of the students. The co-curriculum activities help them to be creative, learn how to analyze situations, how to work as a team, gain self-confident, share and respect different views and plan well. These are things that add to their personal growth that help them sharpen themselves in their careers.
—Interviewed by Arshae Ahmed