Investigating CCAs

Investigating Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs) as Learning Contexts

  • Investigating CCAs revealed that CCAs:

    • Afforded a range of learning opportunities that may support learning transfer across CCA and classroom contexts

    • Development of character traits is constituted in the practice of accomplishing CCA tasks

    • Supported students’ learning that was largely participatory and collaborative

    • Promoted social integration and cohesion, particularly among students from the Normal Academic stream, and international students or those new to the Singapore educational system

Investigating CCAs was motivated by the governmental interest in CCA [formerly known as extracurricular activities (ECAs)] as key for holistic education (Ministry of Education [MOE], 2010) and for developing life skills and character in students (Education Ministers Heng, 2011; Ng, 2008; Teo, 2000).


CCAs in Singapore ~ a brief history

First introduced in 1959, after the state gained self-governance, ECAs aimed to foster social cohesion among students (Gwee, Doray, Waldhauser & Ahmad, 1969). Since then, ECAs have occupied a central place in the school curriculum. Today, CCAs have been integrated with educational initiatives linked to the learning of 21st century skills and competencies (Heng, 2012; MOE, 2010).

How was the research carried out?

Evidence from Investigating CCAs
  • CCA as Learning Contexts

    • provided a range of learning opportunities

    • is situated and highly context dependent

    • learning in CCAs is situated and highly context dependent

    • some CCAs were more transformative than others in shaping students’ character

  • Characteristics of Students’ Learning in CCAs

    • Participatory and collaborative

      • students typically worked in teams where skills and competencies of each member complemented each other

    • Development of students’ character traits occurred while accomplishing CCA tasks

    • Evidence of some links in learning across CCA participation and classroom-based disciplinary academic learning, as reported by student participants

    • Acquisition of skills and knowledge sometimes served as a precursor to classroom-based academic learning, as reported by student participants

    • Competition and winning as key drivers in motivating and uniting members towards CCA goals

  • Social Integration in CCAs

    • CCA promoted social integration through development and fostering of bonding and friendship that often came from working in teams.

    • Access to all CCA participation was not equal as entry to some CCAs was largely based on PSLE scores.

    • Unequal access to CCA participation was mediated by efforts of CCA teachers in-charge, which involved recruiting students with particular competencies that were valued by the CCA in focus.

What does this mean for CCA education in schools?
  • Curriculum planners, school leaders, and teachers may explore greater connectedness between learning in academic and CCA curricula, including after-school or out-of-school organized activities as ways to widen students’ contexts of learning and of acquiring literacies

  • CCAs may be envisioned as multiple contexts of advanced, sophisticated, and expanded learning spaces, including enhancing classroom-based disciplinary academic learning, not just building students’ dispositions.

  • For educators interested in the research methodology behind Investigating CCAs, you may refer to: Researching Pupils’ Participation in School-Based Co-Curricular Activities Through an Ethnographic Case Study of Learning

    • Investigating CCAs was funded by the Education Research Funding Programme, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (project no. OER 31/12 LA).

    • This knowledge resource was extracted and reconstructed from the published materials from the research team, and presented by Tan Giam Hwee.

    Classroom resources
    Phase of education

    Secondary school

    Academic subject

    CCA

    Research Participants

    m-prose-icon203 students

    m-prose-icon27 teachers

    m-prose-icon11 participants outside of study

    m-prose-icon 2 secondary schools

    Testimonial

    Nil

    Investigating CCAs

    Investigating Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs) as Learning Contexts

    Question-Icon
    How findings from Investigating CCAs can help your students
    • Investigating CCAs revealed that CCAs:
      • Afforded a range of learning opportunities that may support learning transfer across CCA and classroom contexts

      • Development of character traits is constituted in the practice of accomplishing CCA tasks

      • Supported students’ learning that was largely participatory and collaborative

      • Promoted social integration and cohesion, particularly among students from the Normal Academic stream, and international students or those new to the Singapore educational system

    Question-Icon
    Why Investigating CCAs

    Investigating CCAs was motivated by the governmental interest in CCA [formerly known as extracurricular activities (ECAs)] as key for holistic education (Ministry of Education [MOE], 2010) and for developing life skills and character in students (Education Ministers Heng, 2011; Ng, 2008; Teo, 2000).

    CCAs in Singapore ~ a brief history

    First introduced in 1959, after the state gained self-governance, ECAs aimed to foster social cohesion among students (Gwee, Doray, Waldhauser & Ahmad, 1969). Since then, ECAs have occupied a central place in the school curriculum. Today, CCAs have been integrated with educational initiatives linked to the learning of 21st century skills and competencies (Heng, 2012; MOE, 2010).

    Question-Icon
    Explanation of how it works
    How was the research carried out?
    Question-Icon
    Key findings
    Evidence from Investigating CCAs


    • CCA as Learning Contexts
      • provided a range of learning opportunities
      • is situated and highly context dependent
      • learning in CCAs is situated and highly context dependent
      • some CCAs were more transformative than others in shaping students’ character

    • Characteristics of Students’ Learning in CCAs
      • Participatory and collaborative
        • students typically worked in teams where skills and competencies of each member complemented each other
      • Development of students’ character traits occurred while accomplishing CCA tasks
      • Evidence of some links in learning across CCA participation and classroom-based disciplinary academic learning, as reported by student participants
      • Acquisition of skills and knowledge sometimes served as a precursor to classroom-based academic learning, as reported by student participants
      • Competition and winning as key drivers in motivating and uniting members towards CCA goals

    • Social Integration in CCAs
      • CCA promoted social integration through development and fostering of bonding and friendship that often came from working in teams.
      • Access to all CCA participation was not equal as entry to some CCAs was largely based on PSLE scores.
      • Unequal access to CCA participation was mediated by efforts of CCA teachers in-charge, which involved recruiting students with particular competencies that were valued by the CCA in focus.

    Question-Icon
    Implications for Schools
    What does this mean for CCA education in schools?

    • Curriculum planners, school leaders, and teachers may explore greater connectedness between learning in academic and CCA curricula, including after-school or out-of-school organized activities as ways to widen students’ contexts of learning and of acquiring literacies
    • CCAs may be envisioned as multiple contexts of advanced, sophisticated, and expanded learning spaces, including enhancing classroom-based disciplinary academic learning, not just building students’ dispositions.

    Question-Icon
    Further readings

  • For educators interested in the research methodology behind Investigating CCAs, you may refer to:
    Researching Pupils’ Participation in School-Based Co-Curricular Activities Through an Ethnographic Case Study of Learning

  • Acknowledgments


    • Investigating CCAs was funded by the Education Research Funding Programme, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (project no. OER 31/12 LA).

    • This knowledge resource was extracted and reconstructed from the published materials from the research team, and presented by Tan Giam Hwee.


    Question-Icon
    Research team

    To learn more about this research, please contact Research Fellow Dr Chong Sau Kew at saukew.chong@nie.edu.sg.



      Principal Investigator
    • Prof David Hung Wei Loong, Office of Education Research (OER), NIE
      Research Fellow
    • Dr Chong Sau Kew, OER, NIE

    Investigating CCAs was funded by the Education Research Funding Programme, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (project no. OER 31/12 LA).


    Classroom resources
    Phase of education

    Secondary school

    Academic subject

    CCA

    Research Participants

    m-prose-icon203 students

    m-prose-icon27 teachers

    m-prose-icon11 participants outside of study

    m-prose-icon 2 secondary schools

    Testimonial

    Nil