Investigating School-based Co-Curricular Activities as Contexts for Expanding Learning Spaces

Project Number
OER 31/12 LA

Project Duration
December 2012 - March 2016


The proposed project aims to examine how participation in, and experiences of co-curricular activities (CCAs) can contribute to the development of literacy, where literacy is defined broadly as the use of spoken and written texts in communication. It is motivated by the burgeoning governmental interest in CCA as an integral agent for providing holistic education (MOE, 2010) and for developing pupils' life skills and character (Minister Teo, 2000; Minister Ng, 2008; Minister Heng, 2011). The importance of CCAs to education policy is a contrast to the paucity of research on CCA participation in the educational context of Singapore. Research in this domain has been small scale, undertaken mostly by postgraduate students at NIE. While there have been studies conducted on literacy education and CCA participation at NIE, none has explored the relationship between learning in the two sites through the textuality of learning contexts. This phenomenon is seemingly not observed in research that investigates the link between the social perspective of literacy and learning to explain the relationship between classroom literacy learning and CCA participation in Singapore and elsewhere. Although research work at NIE has focused on developing language and metacognitive strategies to enhance classroom learning, there are, as yet, no studies done to explain the relevance of pupils' interactions with schooled literacy in classroom learning through the investigative lens of CCA. Our project therefore seeks to fill this research gap. The proposed project hopes to bring about a deeper understanding of the meanings of CCA participation as perceived by members of the school, especially teachers and pupils, thus adding to the body of literature on school-based CCAs, both locally and internationally. Such insights can generate different ways of viewing what counts as learning, including literacy learning, for curriculum planning and classroom learning. The proposed research can also suggest a way of raising teachers and school administrators' awareness of the nuances of pupils' schooling experiences by probing into the latter's participation in specific CCAs. In so doing, this can precipitate the development of a context-sensitive learning environment which responds to the local linguistic, sociocultural and political particularities of pupils from different races, abilities and with diverse interests. This approach is in line with the principle of multiracialism which underpins nation building and education in Singapore. In regard to future research, the findings can spur further related studies in the domain of hidden curriculum and ''funds of knowledge'' (Moll et al., 1992, p. 21) (e.g. vernacular literacies or language) to be undertaken, hence augmenting and synergising the diverse sociocultural resources which pupils bring to learning.

Research Themes
Seamless Learning

Funding Source

Related Links
NIE Research Briefs No. 16-015: Exploring Learning Spaces in School-based Co-curricular Activities

ReEd Vol 20 (2017): Co-curricular Activities as Learning Spaces

NIE Research Spotlight: OER 31/12 LA

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