Balancing ECA and Academics By Teachers

In today’s world, there is so much focus and emphasis on education and excellence at ECA or extra curricular activities that somewhere down the line, the innate abilities of the students are lost. These innate abilities are not only the inherent strengths and competencies of the student, but they are also a passion that often gets lost in the battle of doing well. Remember that innate abilities might extend to a particular subject or academic area alone. While in some students, there is a strong bent of mind towards academic and sports too. So extra-curricular activities and academics both hold equal importance for the child.

On the whole, the right blend of academics with ECA would be an ideal approach for the school. Extra-curricular activities (ECA) are defined as the activities that take place outside regular class teaching. But though they are held outside, they are related to student learning. As such, they fall within the scope of the school curriculum.The combination of ECA along with academics helps the student to learn and communicate, to co- operate with other people and improve as an individual. On the whole, they are able to discover and develop their potential.

Identifying Innate Abilities


The innate abilities of the students are something that teachers are able to identify and focus in class. Some kids have a strong knack towards ECA while there are others who prefer sitting more quietly and focus on theoretical learning. But the idea is to establish a pattern where diverse groups are able to blend together their needs and have set of guidelines that include basic concepts related to the planning and organization of activities. These are some of the factors that are the focus of incorporating newer learning styles based on innate abilities-

  • Combining ECA with academics is all about reinforcing classroom learning. This also helps the students use their knowledge and skills into practice.
  • On the whole, teachers should emphasize on facilitating the teaching of certain skills via external learning processes. In particular, it has been seen that inculcation of certain values is difficult in formal or typical school settings.
  • The other aspect is promoting students’ personal development by broadening their interest and innate abilities. Sure there are some students who have a particular liking towards a subject and developing their potential and providing opportunities via these dual modes can help in character formation and leadership training.
  • Along with this, teachers can also promote their social development by stimulating the external environment through ECA and provide opportunities for the broadening of their social experiences.
  • It also is a useful tool for making school life more challenging and interesting.

Duties of Teachers in blending ECA and Academics

The teacher has to be responsible for organizing the ECA of the school along with ensuring that the focus of activities is based on helping the school in arranging and coordinating inter-school activities and major school functions. They guide the students towards proper concepts and encourage them to participate in the activities. The teachers can take an active effort in recruiting the necessary personnel to incorporate ECA with reinforced vigor. As a teacher, they should understand the strengths, interests and abilities of their students with focus on enhancing their skills. ECA can be used as a mode to facilitate other modes of learning. Each student has a different interest in a sport and the teacher would be able to evaluate this through academic performance, tests and even direct interaction.

Activity Planning

Coordinating ECA with academic learning also comes with the added responsibility of drawing up a yearly plan. It should comprise of both intra-mural and extra-mural activities. However, what should be kept in mind is that along with their innate abilities, the students overall academic performance, and having a well-balanced school life routine is essential. In most schools, this planning is done during summer vacation. As school resumes, these activities are then given shape or implemented. There should also be room for adjustment and scope for flexibility to shift these plans or alter them based on current situations, including academic pressure during examination.

Training and Support

Each child has his/ her innate ability, which they excel at or rather do with keen interest. However, using ECA tools these abilities can be further optimized on the academic front too. A simple case would be a student who loves theoretical learning, but has no interest in sports. For them, something like sports, can be encouraged, urging them use their logical skills into devising match plans that can help teams in winning. If ECA includes chess and other related brain games, they may show a much bigger interest in the same. And that is just the start that a teacher or the school needs to focus on their innate abilities.

Another aspect that the teacher should focus on here would be encouraging participation of students through the formation of clubs, groups and other new activity plans. Not only will these help the teacher in problem-solving and overcoming many issues related with learning, which are not really solvable during the typical classroom setting, it is also there to ensure achieving the pre- set objectives.

Evaluation and Appraisal

When blending both ECA and academics together, the teachers can have an evaluation and appraisal system for proper assessment of various activities. Not only would this improve the planning of future activities, submission of reports, providing the parents with an overview along with praising children for their behavior are some of the aspects that can help boosting their morale.

Organizing and participation

With ECA planning the relevant activities and recruiting students should be focused on. Students should be encouraged to be a part of the nature of activities, contribute in arranging meetings and preparing financial budgets. Doing so not only makes them actively involved, but it also depicts their innate abilities and modes for optimizing the same. It helps in raising the morale as well as building a sense of belonging amongst students.

Rewards

Since ECA is a vital part of the curriculum to promote life-wide learning, it should be seen as a tool for accomplishing the goals of education. The teachers should set distinct goals according to the environment of the individual schools and the needs of students. Some of the aspects that these goals should focus on include intellectual, physical, social and personality development. As these goals are accomplished, the participants should be rewarded. Remember though healthy competition is good, there is something very motivating about getting an award. In particular students who have only just discovered that they are able to excel in the same.

How to select the activity?


There are mainly five types of ECA activities that can interest students based on their innate abilities. These are academic, sports, art, interest and social services. Depending on the situation, students in the class, their innate abilities and group formation, these are the five main kinds of ECA activities that can be combined with academics. Based on the interests, different groups can be formed that look into the various aspects like activity plan, recruitment method, frequency of meetings and activity content. The clubs could have different teachers who double as coordinators. This helps in distributing the teachers based on their skills too. Like the English teacher can take over the theatre group while the sports coach can manage the sports group.

Smooth operations

But remember that both ECA and academics are based on smooth operations. For instance, if you don’t have a regular teaching in class, how would the academic session sustain. There would be irregular learning, which would result in students losing interest, lack of coordination, etc. In the same way, ECA would run smoothly only if there were comprehensive plans. So it would surely mean lots of hard work, timetabling, budgeting and programs to keep the sessions active. Along with this, counseling and practice are crucial aspects of this stage.

Problem-solving

There is no doubt that without problem solving, moving ahead with these activities is not really possible. The first challenge that you would have to overcome here would be finding the students innate abilities and then channelize them through creativity and zeal. Remember that most of the problems associated here include inadequate contacts, communication problems, and poor time management - and lastly, lack of interest from the students side. For strengthening and working on the same, teachers need support of both school and parents. This would help to create and develop a harmonious school climate.

Feedback

Remember that no goals are achievable without the right feedback and taking criticism with the idea of improving on it. Remember that if any activity is run for a long period of time, it does tend to get boring and mundane. Hence activity quantitatively and qualitatively should be improved. In this reference, quantitative measures include attendance records and activity records are very useful. Teachers can improve with constant feedbacks and incorporating them, while knowing when to avoid a suggestion that is not going to be of help.

On the whole, the teachers would know the innate abilities of the students and which field of ECA they might excel. Nevertheless, letting the students take this decision, while playing the role of the mentor is perhaps the best approach here.
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