The present paper intends to present some of the most prominent issues concerning employing extracurricular activities and their effect on the engineering students’ achievement in English Foreign Language learning.
Key words: extracurricular English Foreign Language activities, Scrabble Club.
Extracurricular activities play an important role in today’s university education programs and positively impact students’ emotional, social, and inter-personal development. These out-of-the-classroom activities help students to understand the significance of critical thinking skills, time management, and academic and intellectual competence.
When university students are not studying in the classroom, many of them participate in extracurricular English Foreign Language activities. These types of activities focus on academic areas include the university newspaper, quiz team, science or foreign language speaking club, debate team, excursions et al.
Each of these activities promotes academic excellence and provides students with an opportunity to expand their content knowledge outside the classroom. While building leadership skills, students will also learn the advantages of science writing, keeping and meeting deadlines and public speaking. Students will also have opportunities to broaden their content knowledge about unfamiliar subjects by conducting research in preparation for debates or academic competitions .
There have been some studies devoted to studying the relationship between student involvement in activities and student academic achievement and the optimal proficiency in a foreign language: Mahoney J. L., Cairns B. D., Farmer T. W. (2003); Marsh H. W., Kleitman S. (2002); Fredricks J. A., Eccles J. S. (2006); Cunha F., Heckman J. Formulating (2008); Balyer A., Gunduz Y. Effects of Structured Extracurricular Facilities on Students’ Academic and Social (2012) [2, 3, 4, 5, 6] et.al.
Tomsk Polytechnic University offers a wide range of extracurricular activities to students. There are clubs, associations and et al. to facilitate the development and strengthening of friendly relations between students from different countries.
Tomsk Polytechnic University facilitates opportunities for English Foreign Language engineering students. These are great ways to get involved, improve English Foreign Language skills, meet new peers and gain English Foreign Language experience.
The original idea and conception to create Scrabble Club was realized in the Institute of Non-Destructive Testing, Tomsk Polytechnic University.
Scrabble is a game of all: about 1 million students in 20,000 U.S. schools are playing in Scrabble clubs as part of the School Scrabble program, which began in 1991. The School Scrabble program also sponsors a national tournament for school Scrabble clubs. The top two teams from each state compete. Currently, there are between 400 and 500 Scrabble Clubs in the U. S., and many more students playing informally .
Scrabble Club of Institute of Non-Destructive Testing, Tomsk Polytechnic University is organized for the purpose of appreciation and enjoyment from the game of Scrabble. The goal is to teach newcomers, and experienced player’s different strategies on how to play the game to improve the posses of English Language Learning.
It is a passion for the linguistic oddity, the beauty of anagramming and the excitement for friendly competition that marks the Scrabble Club.
Scrabble club, an after-classes engineering students’ activity, is growing in popularity within Tomsk Polytechnic University environment.
While many students spend time on the computer browsing, Scrabble Club expands students’ vocabulary by playing the word game Scrabble. This club is founded not only on the basis of vocabulary building and becoming more aware of how English words are formed, but as a social outlet for students of all ethnicities and backgrounds.
The students of all skill levels are welcome, from novice to Scrabble master, and everything in between. The organizing committee introduces Scrabble to the students, give a talk on the basic rules and etiquettes when playing Scrabble.
Scrabble Club provides a place for students who don't participate on sports teams, or orchestra, or other larger groups. Students of Tomsk Polytechnic University enjoy playing in teams as they prefer the social interaction in the group of three or four.
Students like playing games that have a competitive element. Scrabble is a competitive board game played by 2 to 4 players, who score points by forming words from letters of the alphabet. The winner is the one who gains the highest score.
The members of Scrabble Club play tournament-style Scrabble: one-on-one, with chess-style timers set to 25 minutes per person per game, following NASPA (North American Scrabble Players Association) rules  and using the TWL2 lexicon (similar to the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary) .
Competitions are organized from time to time for interested students, either on an individual basis or as an inter-class function. Students may enter the competition in small teams of 2 to 3.
The author’s discoveries are based on the value of Scrabble Club usage for English Foreign Language speaking practice with Russian, Altai, Buryat, Uzbek, Tuvan, Yakutian learners within Tomsk Polytechnic University.
1. Mahoney J. L., Cairns B. D., Farmer T. W. (2003). Promoting interpersonal competence and educational success through extracurricular activity participation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95, 409–418.
2. Marsh H. W. (1992). Extracurricular activities: Beneficial extension of the traditional curriculum or subversion of academic goals? Journal of Educational Psychology, 84, 553–562.
3. Marsh H. W., Kleitman S. (2002). Extracurricular school activities: The good, the bad, and the non-linear. Harvard Educational Review, 72, 464–514.
4. Fredricks J. A., Eccles J. S. (2006). Extracurricular involvement and adolescent adjustment: Impact of duration, number of activities, and breadth of participation. Applied Developmental Science, 10, 132–146.
5. Cunha F., Heckman J. Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation, Journal of Human Resources. Vol. 43, No. 4, 2008.
6. Balyer A., Gunduz Y. Effects of Structured Extracurricular Facilities on Students’ Academic and Social Development. Procedia — Social and Behavioral Sciences. Volume 46, 2012, Pages 4803–4807.
7. School Scrabble program // Scrabble Insights. Available at: http://www.hasbro.com/scrabble/en_US/nsa.cfm.
8. North American Scrabble Players Association. Available at: http://scrabbleplayers.org/w/Rules.
9. Official Tournament and Club Word List. Available at: http://scrabbleplayers.org/w/TWL.