Importance of School Extracurricular Activities in Teaching Moral Values
Sixth Grade Students Practicing a Drama Skit
Importance of Teaching Moral Values
It seems like our children are being taught too few moral values in school today. This has led to increased violence in schools as evidenced by the Columbine shootings in the United States a few years ago. Societies all around the world have been affected by manifestations of increased crime and disrespect for parents, teachers, elders, and other people in authoritative positions. Under the guise of separation of church and state, many people feel that any kind of teaching of religious moral values should not be done in the public school classroom. This being the case, it is worthwhile examining the utility of school extra-curricular activities as a vehicle for teaching moral values. Based on my experiences of teaching in a Thailand Catholic School, I will illustrate in this article how moral values can be passed on to students in extra-curricular activities.
What Are the Extracurricular Activities in My School?
As applied to my teaching in Thailand, extra-curricular activities include those sports and scholastic competitions, artistic person and group expressions, and acts of public service work that are conducted outside of the classroom. In the Catholic all-girls elementary and secondary school where I taught, students were fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in the following extra-curricular activities:
1. Music and Marching Band
Starting in the first grade, students have the chance to learn how to play traditional Thai musical instruments such as the sueng, a plucked lute; the khim, a hammered dulcimer; and the taphon, a sacred barrel drum. During the visits of important guests to the school, these students are allowed to showcase their talents.
Beginning in the sixth grade, all students with talent in percussion and wind instruments are invited to join the school marching band. Every morning, selected members of the band play the national anthem and showcase their talents playing trombones, clarinets, saxophones, flutes, and drums in activities for Sports Day, Christmas, national holidays, and visits of guests to the school.
2. Sports and Sports Day
Once a year during the beginning of the cool season in November and December, all students participate in a Sports Day held all day on a Friday. On that day, selected students will join in athletic competitions like basketball, chairball, tug of war, and other team activities. All of the other students are broken down into cheering groups for four or five different teams. The day begins with an Olympic style opening ceremony followed by the games.
3. Interscholastic Forensic Competition
Once every semester, talented students in grades 5-12 are selected by teachers to take part in interscholastic forensic competitions either at my school or in other schools. Forensic activities include public speaking, storytelling, and extemporaneous speaking.
4. Special Variety Programs for Parents
On occasions, students can showcase their singing, dancing, acting, and speaking talents at programs for parents. During a special program in 2011, students from all grades participated in speaking, singing, and dancing activities. Some girls gave an excellent choral reading while others performed selected role plays. Still, others gave speeches and put on a cute puppet show.
Variety Program Activities for Parents
5. Morals Training—Being All to All
All students in my school receive training in moral values for approximately 30 minutes each day. The emphasis in this training is being all to all. Simply speaking, all students role-play as members of a village who are responsible for the well-being of each other. The emphasis is on raising money and donating it to temples and victims of floods, earthquakes, and other natural disasters.
English Day 2014 at Saint Joseph Bangna School in Thailand
6. Traditional Thai Dancing
Talented and interested students are invited to learn and perform traditional Thai dances. These girls will perform at special assemblies for the King's and Queen's birthdays, and also at visits of important guests to the school.
Traditional Thai Dancing
Benefits of School Extracurricular Activities
7. Brownie and Girl Scout Activities
All students in grades 1-9 must participate in Brownie and Girl Scout Activities. As a requirement, all girls must wear their green scouting uniforms to school once a week. On July 1 there is a special ceremony commemorating the introduction of scouting into Thailand in 1911 by King Rama VI. Older girls receive drilling in marching, and once a year all scouts must attend a two-day camp at the school.
Sixth Grade Students Wearing Their Scouting Uniform in The Classroom
8. Service to School and Teachers
All eleventh-grade students are expected to perform service for the school and teachers. This includes such things as cleaning off lunch tables in the cafeteria and assisting teachers with school activities such as English Day. All twelfth-grade students must assist at assemblies for national holiday activities and ceremonies for teachers and special school guests.
9. Special Activities for the King's Birthday
Every year students must attend and learn about the late King, King Rama IX's, accomplishments and economic self-sufficiency teachings at special activities prepared by all teachers.
How Do Extracurricular Activities Teach Moral Values
The extracurricular activities in my school play a big part in teaching moral values. Specifically, moral values reflected include:
1. Love and Compassion
Under the school slogan of being "all to all," students are taught to love one another and show compassion to others in times of disasters such as floods, earthquakes, and fire.
2. Cooperation and Teamwork
Students are taught the value and strength of teamwork and cooperation through sports and Girl Scout activities such as camping.
3. Hope - Raising School Morale
Sports Day, the marching band, and Girl Scout camping activities do much in raising school morale. This, in turn, gives students hope in passing the other monotonous days of academic study.
4. Justice and Honesty
Students learn justice and honesty while playing sports and following the rules and in scouting activities.
5. Simplicity - Self-sufficiency
Students learn simplicity and self-sufficiency in doing activities on the occasion of the King's birthday, Father's Day, on December 5 of each year.
All students learn to respect and demonstrate it in activities for Teacher's Respect Day in June and Teacher's Day in January of each year.
Extracurricular activities are a necessary part of school life. Sports, scholastic competition, and scouting activities can foster teamwork and cooperation as well as a sense of justice in playing by the rules. All other activities which focus on public service work can inculcate the moral values of love, compassion, and gratitude.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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© 2012 Paul Richard Kuehn