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Education Administrators Associates
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Education Administrators Associates was initiated by Dr. John Brownridge, an educator and school principal with extensive knowledge and expertise in the field of Education, and experience in both North America and the United Kingdom. EAA's objective is to offer resource, assistance, and consultation to professional educators in the English-speaking world.

A variety of issues of interest and concern to educators will be presented and considered in this blog on a weekly basis. All educators, whether teachers, administrators or consultants, are invited to comment on the Contacts Page.

None of us can be experts in every field. Yet, as teachers we are expected to be knowledgeable on a whole range of topics, especially those that relate directly or indirectly to education. The parents of our students frequently have questions and concerns about curriculum, special programs, and new innovations they have heard about through news media. Our colleagues, friends and acquaintances may seek explanations and definitions. It is in our own interest to have a cursory knowledge of issues outside our areas of expertise, and to be capable of providing some insight into a variety of educational topics.

This weekly blog will explore many educational topics. Please check in on a regular basis, and do feel free to submit your comments and questions on the Contacts Page. As teachers, we have a wealth of experience to share.

John Brownridge

This Week

The Function of Extra-Curricular Activity in General Education

General education at all levels usually includes ample opportunity for students to participate in a variety of activities that fall outside of the normal curriculum. These extra-curricula activities, whether at the elementary, high school, or college and university levels, are characterized by certain attractive features which are designed to appeal to students and attract the largest number of participants possible. They are almost always voluntary and free, for example, and they are designed around athletic and social interests rather than academic or scholastic activities.

One common characteristic of extra-curricular programs is that they are frequently initiated and organized by the students themselves. Sponsorship and supervision by teaching staff may be a requirement but nevertheless, students are usually able to adopt a leadership role and even acquire a degree of autonomy in the operation of the program. A good example of this is a school newspaper or other regular school publication intended for student interest. Almost all aspects of such a publication can be initiated, controlled and produced by the students themselves.

The place of extra-curricular programs within the general educational environment has gone through a progressive process of change throughout the history of education. Even in the 19th century secondary and tertiary educators encouraged participation in outside activities. The most common of these in that period was the student literary society which was associated with the debating clubs in places of higher learning. There was an academic element to such clubs, of course, and although they continued to hold the interest of many students, by the 20th century, inter-school athletics and sports became the dominant extra-curricular activity of most educational establishments.

For most of the 20th century, interschool sports activities continued to be an integral part of the educational environment, but gradually a much more comprehensive array of extra-curricular activities were added and educators today consider such activities to be an indispensable component of a total education. Further proof of this is the fact that most employers require more than academic success in their potential employees. Interviewers almost always want information about an applicant’s participation in social and athletic events as well in order to determine the best well-rounded candidates.

It would be difficult to find any reputable school, college, or university that does not promote a strong athletic or sports program today. But this is only one facet of the range of extra-curricular activities available to students at all levels. Many find their needed relief from academic matters in musical pursuits such as band, orchestra or choir groups, and in many schools and colleges, the level of expertise in such groups is impressive enough that they are able to present professional performances to a paying audience. Similarly with fine arts and sculpture groups. Students may be involved in these programs at an academic level, but others may pursue them as an added interest.

The variety and choice of extra-curricular activity in educational institutions today is almost limitless. Whether it is in the traditional field of athletic and sports, music, art, or journalistic activities for school interest, there is appeal for every student. Academic programs can be demanded and time consuming. Most educators agree that participation in extra-curricular activities can greatly benefit one’s ability to cope with them and will almost certainly contribute to the chances of overall success.

John Brownridge

Next Week

The Value of Constructive Criticism