January 18, 2018

Co-curricular activities, learning outside the classroom and student success

Dave Kelly - Co-curricular activities, learning outside the classroom and student success

Dave being defiant in New York City

Some of the best time that students spend is participating in co-curricular activities. I use CO-curricular, because the things that students can be involved in through activities outside the classroom can supplement what they learn inside the classroom.

My own leadership experiences in clubs and organizations as a student involved in activities outside the classroom were some of the best times of my life. I had fun, I learned so much, and I got to try things and even make mistakes when the stakes were not that high.

The best part of my leadership development was through these experiences and interactions with other people. I learned about conflict resolution, motivation techniques, team leadership development, and got to travel all over the country attending educational leadership conferences. Then I would come back and apply my experiences to the material being taught in the classroom.

One particular professor that I liked, Dr. Zillur Khan, taught classes on leadership, dynamics in organizations, and group behaviors. He and I would get into dialogues in class about topics that I could relate to through my many co-curricular activities. The rest of the class had a hard time keeping up!

I remember one time he said to me, “Why don’t you and I go and talk about this in the hallway while the rest of them read about it and try to catch up?” You bet I got an “A” in that class!

When I speak and train at college leadership retreats, educational leadership conferences, or just present workshops, I am always aware that involvement in co-curricular activities is directly related to student retention. If students have fun, enjoy the activity, and grow as a result, then their education experience is enhanced and they are more likely to remain in school. More importantly, they’re more likely to stay at YOUR school!  Student motivation is easier when they are having fun!

The students that I have worked with in clubs and organizations are typically more energetic, more motivated, and more goal-oriented. They movers and shakers and they are used to getting things done! That carries over to their class work and, hopefully, to all aspects of their lives, for the rest of their lives!

Get your students involved in co-curricular activities, learning outside the classroom and expanding their experiences and they’ll create their own success stories.

About the Author: Dave "Gonzo" Kelly (64 Posts)

Dave Kelly is the leading authority on student leadership and community service on college campuses today. As a professional trainer, motivator, and servant leader, Dave is an expert on all aspects of running and leading campus organizations and developing the character of a servant leader. Dave has 20+ years training leaders and advisors from student government associations, campus activities boards and campus clubs of every kind on organizational leadership and community service projects. He has trained students and advisors at more than 150 different colleges and universities and is the national coordinator for the APCA Serves! Initiative by the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities.

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