Musings from the AlgebraGuy
The ideas that follow compare extra-curricular activit ies (ECA’s) to regular academic classes.
ECA’S include all sports and some classes that are outside the regular class schedule.

25 Reasons Why ECA’S Are Better Than Academic Classes:

1.   In ECA’S young men are considered active contributors rather than passive recipients by their
      coaches/teachers and themselves.
2.   In ECA’S young men are always encouraged to excel.
3.   In ECA’S young men are honored, and so are their coaches/teachers.
4.   In ECA’S a young man can let the team down.
5.   In ECA’S practice and repetition are considered honorable.
6.   In ECA’S unexpected things happen all the time, and young men are required/expected to deal with them.
7.   In ECA’S practice is seldom limited to 45 minutes.
8.   In ECA’S homework is of a different type than the work that is done at practice.
9.   In ECA’S emotions and human contact are expected parts of the work.  Young men learn to gain praise that
      results in their happiness, and to eschew criticism that leaves them emotionally neutral, or unhappy.
10. In ECA’S new skills are added in a sequential order that require 90% mastery of previous skills, and that ensure
       mastery after appropriate practice.
11. In ECA’S after new skills have been mastered young men are expected to be able to perform them on command,
      or on their own volition whenever they feel the application of the new skill is appropriate
12. In ECA’S participants assume that as the expectations for mastery are raised so to is the length of practice time.
13. In ECA’S young men generally get to choose their own roles.
14. In ECA’S it is expected that the more experienced young men will teach the less skilled participants.
15. In ECA’S there is an abundance of individual instruction and encouragement from adults and more
      talented/experienced peers.
16. In ECA’S self-esteem in young men is built by earning praise for effort and excellence, while mediocrity and
      poor effort are identified and criticized.
17. In ECA’S the adults who participate are genuinely interested.
18. In ECA’S volunteers from the community are sought after and utilized.
19. In ECA’S ability, responsibility, and achievement are not necessarily linked to age or size.
20. In ECA’S are more than the sum of their parts.
21. In ECA’S public performances are expected.
22. In ECA’S performance is continually reviewed and critiqued.
23. In ECA’S young men are expected to perform at or above their level of ability.
24. In ECA’S feedback (gratification) is instantaneous and continual.  (What I refer to as slot-machine psychology).
25. In ECA’S participants wear uniforms that identify them as part of an elite group that they are proud to be a part of.

So, what’s the point of all of this?  I believe that the more we can get academic classes to look like ECA’s and SEC’s the
more we can help students reach levels of mastery that they won’t reach in classes that are run in the same old way.