By Niru Agarwal
Much of our time now is spent on bringing back normalcy to our lives especially after several months of lockdown. The country is opening up in a calibrated manner which has prompted schools to respond to the new situation systematically. The health and wellbeing of students is of primary concern and one way of ensuring this is by engaging students in co-curricular activities for an optimal period of time. Research has shown that involvement in such activities helps students become tougher and avoid mental health issues, which has been a major concern in the context of the pandemic. Covid-19 will not leave us any time soon and therefore co-curricular activities have to be designed in such a way that students can handle the strains and stresses of the pandemic. Let us examine the advantages of these activities and how they are beneficial to students.
Multiple online activities will keep students alert
While physical activities like sports, athletics and other games have been postponed due to the corona virus, students can take up online games that will keep them alert and involved in group activity that is healthy for the mind. Students can take up quizzes, debates, elocutions and music and art lessons on digital platforms. Audio plays, short films, readings over video calls and online viewing of theatre and drama will also help students keep in touch with activity that was common during pre-Covid-19 times.
Breaking academic monotony is vital
Continuous academic work in front of the screen would lead to boredom and monotony. This is precisely the time co-curricular activity should be introduced for children to enable them to feel refreshed about academics. Students will then make an effort to learn new things more rigorously and this may even rub-off on academic work. Pauses at the right time would create simultaneous interest in academics and co-curricular activity. A right balance between the two will obtain the right results.
Helps build long lasting relationships
Co-curricular activity helps students build a wide variety of skills and interests as this would not be in the setting of a formal classroom where pressure to learn is high. Children will also find more people to interact with as they take to co-curricular activities outside their own groups and friends. The whole exercise helps in building new relationships with new people.
Success beyond the curriculum is important
While success at academics is among children is well known, success in co-curricular activity plays a key role in establishing new skill sets and knowledge in children. Once they get attuned to these new activities, children would strive to be at the top when it comes to going beyond academics. For instance, if one is good at chess, spending more time on this could make a chess champion out of the student. This can happen only if considerable time is spent outside academics and a chess champion could go on to become a world leader in the game.
Adaptability and problem-solving are necessary
Students have to learn to be adaptable, particularly when it comes to technology. With digital and online activity taking control of academic and co-curricular activity, students have to know how to adapt to and adopt new technologies to learn lessons or co-curricular activities. For instance, the wide use of artificial intelligence, machine learning, AR/VR, video interactivity has prompted students to learn about disruptive technologies. It is important to keep abreast of changes to be on top of the techno-world.
Time management and organisational skills are crucial
Students have to juggle academics with external activity and this leads to better time management. High involvement in both enables students to be disciplined, to study effectively in the time they have and develop skills to share time between the two domains. Work has to be organised and proper planning has to happen in both domains to obtain the best results.
Go for opportunities in the future
Students pursuing co-curricular activities are often given preference over those who are not involved in activities outside the core curriculum when applying for courses or jobs. This can make a huge difference if there is high competition. In today’s world, children aspiring to go abroad for higher studies and careers will have to be very good at activities other than academics.
Develop overall personality development
Activity outside the classroom helps build and enhance an all-round personality. As you try learning new things, you develop skills to handle things that are not routine. You will be exploring domains that you haven’t before. Eventually, you would become self-confident and well-molded when you get habituated to new aspects of life. You might one day turn into a great pianist only because you spent those few precious moments for activity other than academics.
In conclusion, it can be said that however much time it may take to learn extra-curricular activities, it is worth the time and effort. School is perhaps the most precious time of a student’s life as that is when the foundation is laid to build one’s expertise and versatility to prepare for the future. Don’t regret later that you didn’t give co-curricular activity its due. Grab the opportunity and make the best of it now!
(Author is Trustee, Greenwood High. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. She can be reached at [email protected])