Living in today’s fast-paced, driven world is a challenge, but growing up in it is an even bigger challenge. The experiences young people are exposed to these days seem, at times, almost limitless and yet all too often here in Asia, their progress and ultimate success is judged by their academic progress. From their first step into kindergarten to the moment they walk up on stage for their graduation, it’s all about the number of A’s achieved and the impressive collection of certificates earned. Yet, life isn’t designed around the same principles that guide academic prowess. It’s about so much more than circling the right answer or filling in the blanks correctly. It’s about manoeuvring through the various challenges in life, and that is something that goes beyond the skills that their academics alone can provide. And this is where extracurricular activities come in.
When students participate in extracurricular activities, their communication skills are honed as they interact with others. Consistent involvement in extracurricular activities boosts their self-esteem and confidence. As a result, they become better able to handle set-backs and failures as their experiences make them mentally and emotionally stronger. Of course, balancing their extracurricular activities and academic demands is not always easy, but along the way they develop greater self-discipline and good time management, giving them an edge when joining the workforce. This also gives them the space to discover their interests and passion and allows them to plan their future and achieve their goals in life. When students are involved with extracurricular activities, their sense of responsibility and passion merge to inspire them to excel in all they do.
Whilst it may be common practice to focus on students’ academic performances, the evidence for the benefits of extracurricular activities is quite revealing. Parents who are concerned about their children being distracted from their studies making them hesitant to allow their children to participate in non-academic related activities, should be interested to know that, studies show students are more likely to do better academically when they participate in extracurricular activities. A number of these studies have even found that students participating in extracurricular activities are less likely to be absent from school! So there really is no conflict of interest when children who pursue academic excellence also choose to involve themselves in activities with what appears to have little or no direct academic gain. In fact it is more likely to enhance their skills overall.
But as with all things, moderation is the key. Filling a student’s timetable with only school, tuition and extracurricular activities, and with no downtime at all, can be detrimental as they become too tired to focus effectively on any one thing. They become unable to juggle their various commitments and all too often, find that their family time is also reduced. So while they should be encouraged to pursue both their academic and non-academic interests, this should not result in their feeling overwhelmed and swamped with activities. This would certainly not be beneficial.
At elc International School we strongly believe that students need more than just their academics to succeed in life and so we are keen to provide our students with a platform to develop their extracurricular interests. As part of the school curriculum, students are required to select two different extracurricular activities every term. In addition to these allocated periods, they are also encouraged to join in various activities after school to further their interests. Across both Sungai Buloh and Cyberjaya campuses, there is a wide range of activities to suit students’ interests and passions including performing arts, sports, debate & public speaking, computing & programming and even community service.
Students are encouraged to explore their interests, and their involvement with these various activities that support their drive for academic success and determination to go further in life. In addition to the staff at elc , outside providers and specialists in the areas on offer are also called in to help support the growth of the students in our care and to prepare them for their next step in life. At the end of the day, this is what education is and what elc represents; excellence in everything we do, loyalty to each other, and commitment to continuous improvement.