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PhD Yegorova O.V.

Skovoroda Kharkov National Pedagogical University,Ukraine

Extracurricular activities for students learning foreign languages at universities

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, many colleges and universities have a broad educational mission: to develop the "whole student." On campuses, extracurricular involvement is a key tool in this personal development. For the majority of college and university students, involvement in extracurricular activities plays an integral role in the collegiate experience. Students become involved in extracurricular activities not only for entertainment, social, and enjoyment purposes, but most important, to gain and improve skills.

The importance of extracurricular activities is well established and known. The primary goals of extracurricular activities focus on the individual student level, the institutional level, and the broader community level. These activities exist to complement the university's academic curriculum and to augment the student's educational experience. Almost any type of student involvement in university positively affects student learning and development. Extracurricular activities provide a setting to become involved and to interact with other students, thus leading to increased learning and enhanced development. Specifically, a student's peer group is the most important source of influence on a student's academic and personal development. By identifying with a peer group, that group may influence a student's affective and cognitive development as well as his or her behavior [1].

As the development of the well-rounded individual is a principal goal of extracurricular activities during educational process the numerous experiences these activities afford positively impact students' emotional, intellectual, social, and inter-personal development. By working together with other individuals, students learn to negotiate, communicate, manage conflict, and lead others. Taking part in these out-of-the-classroom activities helps students to understand the importance of critical thinking skills, time management, and academic and intellectual competence. Involvement in activities helps students mature socially by providing a setting for student interaction, relationship formation, and discussion. Working outside of the classroom with diverse groups of individuals allows for students to gain more self-confidence, autonomy, and appreciation for others' differences and similarities [1].

Student involvement in extracurricular activities also positively impacts educational attainment as such extracurricular involvement has a positive impact on attaining university degree and on educational aspirations [2]. Students who are actively engaged are more likely to have higher educational ambitions than uninvolved students.

Now a few words about such type of extracurricular activity as the Students English-Speaking club, subsections of which are guided by Associate professors of our university. The club has been created to offer its participants an opportunity to practice their English speaking skills.

The Club responses to the needs of its participants taking into account their requests and wishes. Activities at the Club include:

        Discussions;

        Language Games;

        Listening to English Songs;

        Watching and discussing movies;

        Learning about culture of English speaking countries;

        Celebrating holidays, etc.

The Club helps to broaden knowledge about English speaking countries, their traditions and customs, helps to solve problems in different life situations in English. The Club gathers its participants once a month, where the students have an opportunity to talk about different events and topics, e.g. famous people of the world, English poetry, choosing the profession of a teacher and so on.

The English Club gives an excellent possibility to practice language in an informal situation in the circle of friends and partners. Such extracurricular activity shows students how to work together. Students take on various roles and may become group leaders. In addition, students learn to communicate and broaden their social network. In addition, to interest the students in learning English and benefit from it, the aims of the Club are the following:

        Enriching vocabulary;

        Overcoming a linguistic barrier;

        Improvement of pronunciation;

        Development of thinking skills in English;

        Educate of confidence in different linguistic situations.

This is why we are interested in its successful development and active operation.

The students also develop skills specific to their career path and imperative for future job success. The students have opportunities to improve their leadership and interpersonal skills while also increasing their self-confidence [2]. Such extracurricular involvement as the club allows students to link academic knowledge with practical experience, thereby leading to a better understanding of their own abilities, talents, and career goals. Students convene to discuss pertinent issues related to their field of interest and to learn job related skills in an effort to be fully prepared for future success. Such professional organizations typically focus on one career area of interest. Future employers seek individuals with these increased skill levels, making these involved students more viable in the job market.

Resources:

1.http://www.answers.com/topic/college-extracurricular-activities

2.     http://www.helium.com/items/730148-the-importance-of-extracurricular-activities-in-college