Nov 12, 2012
Comments Off on Should Extra-Curriculars Count?

Should Extra-Curriculars Count?

Three students, three different outside interests. Three students that are taking time to create, develop skills, or produce professional work.

She’s writing a novel and is 30,000 words in.

He plays hockey four to five times a week.

He’s illustrating a children’s book for me.

Each of these projects are self-directed, have full student engagement, require these students to work tirelessly at developing the requisite skills and demonstrate them. Yet, thingsĀ that happen outside of school count for nothing in it.

It seems that timing is everything because she’s demonstrating her English skills but unless it was assigned between 8-2:30 it seems that that demonstration doesn’t count.

Why don’t extra-curriculars count? Why don’t we assign credits to those students that demonstrate the elements of courses on their own time? Why do we require students to perform the tasks we assign as proof of skills and abilities?

I’ve floated this idea to some students, just as a supposition, their response, “Yeah, good question. But it’ll never happen,” or “Who’s doing the evaluation of these products?” or “How do you know it was that kid who did the painting?” or “Aren’t some sports teams harder and require more dedication?” or “What about access to resources, they aren’t equal?” All good questions, no simple answers.

But I’m left unsatisfied. I’m left thinking about the work that they’ve done and thinking why aren’t we encouraging this. Why aren’t we legitimizing their efforts?

I know, I know, people are going to ride me for suggesting we should provide extrinsic rewards for their work and undermine their intrinsic interest. I agree with that argument too.

However, while we’re counting, should extracurriculars count?

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