Saturday, June 4, 2011

Why I Loathe CCAs in School

A mother wrote to the state paper lamenting about the obsession of CCAs. When i was in secondary school i loathe CCAs too. During my time in the 90s is called ECA (extra curricular activities). Activities offered was limited & i hated the idea of staying back after school for more activities.

Back then i liked skateboarding & subsequently cycling. I used to play badminton during my primary school days but i sucked at it & still suck till this day though i play it for fun & exercise. After countless games of badminton is obvious to me my motor reflexes are slower than most people. I have joined badminton club during primary school & because i was lousy & with 3 courts available the teacher couldn't be bothered with lousy players. Thus i have no intention of rejoining badminton club during secondary school.

Guess what i joined? Is Art Club! I suck badly at art & have no artistic flair at all. So why do i join it? Because is only:

  • once a week
  • on a weekday (my weekend is free!)
  • 2-3 hour session
  • no skateboarding or cycling club
I figured that by joining art club i'll have more time after school for myself. Back then i've always wondered why school encourages activities like uniformed groups, basketball, volleyball, musician band etc. Activities are that more group-orientated. I don't seem to fit in at all. Is only a couple years later being more matured that i realised i'm more suited to individual activities(eg cycling) due to my temperament & physique.

I share the mother's sentiment that is disheartening that students nowadays are becoming nothing more than tools to win awards/medals for the school so that principals & teachers in-charge of those activities can get promoted. With much rote learning in school & now making it from Extra(E) to Co(C), it supresses the creativity of students even more. Creativity does not flourish well in an environment that is rigid & demanding conveyor belt(go faster) learning environment.

Isn't it any wonder why so many S'poreans can't think out of the box after rolling off the school factory?

End obsession with medals (Schools & CCA)

I AM a mother of two secondary schoolgoing children. One of them is happy to be in the co-curricular activity (CCA) of her choice, while the other is miserable as she did not have much of a choice to begin with. I believe this is true of every cohort of students entering Secondary 1 every year.

Why are schools so obsessed with achieving ranking/awards/medals in sports, uniformed CCAs & the Singapore Youth Festival? Many a time, this is done at the expense of the overall educational experience of students, not to mention the large amounts spent on hiring coaches to train students to win competitions. Isn't the journey just as important as the award?

When a CCA is not 'performing' - that is, not bringing in good results - it is either dropped or given very little support. There are not many CCAs left that are recreational any more. What kind of values are we passing on to the children?

Everything a school decides to carry out is geared towards achieving a school excellence award, or quality award. Do we have to run schools using business models? It is very disconcerting to see so many banners advertising the school's achievement in academics & CCAs.

There is one other concern. The multiple tasks faced by a teacher has diluted the passion to join the teaching profession. This is because teachers are assessed more on how much & how well they perform in non-teaching duties rather than how much they really care about students.

Over the years, the system has lost many passionate & committed teachers as they are just too tired to take on so many non-core duties.

Chan Peck Lian (Ms)

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