Assembly – Why Do We Need It?
A common feature of many schools across the world is the ritual of morning assembly. This assembly typically features all students and teachers gathered together in the school’s theater or auditorium to hear morning announcements, a speech from the principal or a faculty member, and sometimes even special class performances or student-led discussions. Some schools, due to their size, cannot hold daily assembly for every student, but will schedule it in other ways. Regardless of size or availability of facilities, it is a generally accepted practice that schools will hold assemblies at points throughout the year.
But why do they do this? What is the value of assembly? Doesn’t it just make students late for class? Or even worse, doesn’t it eat into their study time? In this article, we’d like to make the case for school assemblies, and demonstrate their value and importance.
5 Top Reasons Assembly is Important:
- Assembly clarifies school activities/programs, and focuses on co-curricular life
- It helps develop school spirit; feelings of affiliation and unity among students
- It enables students to share stories and performances, as well as their abilities/talents
- Assembly provides good training in social behavior
- It can contribute to student motivation through recognition of achievement
- Students taking part also have a chance to work with students they may otherwise not usually choose to; opening minds, broadening horizons
These five reasons show how both students and schools benefit from the inclusion of assembly within their program, even if it is not on a daily basis. Assembly provides a foundation of understanding for the community, in which students can better understand the “big picture” of their learning and school life. By being in assembly together, it immediately becomes something that everyone shares and identifies with, fostering greater solidarity and school spirit. Even the act of sitting, listening, showing respect to the speakers/performers is something that carries into later life, teaching good behavior, patience and affording new perspectives to those involved.
Another important function of assembly for students is a platform for them to gain experience in performance, and particularly in public speaking. But why does that matter? According to online public speaking course provider, Superspeak, practice in something like assembly is a great avenue available to increase students’ “Speak Fitness.” Just like sportspeople, speakers need to practice regularly to increase their “fitness.” This practice has added benefits as well:
1) It teaches skills that children will likely need and/or benefit from in later life. A 2013 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (US) found that the ability to communicate effectively is the quality employers most want to see in new recruits.
2) It encourages students to speak up and share their ideas, building skills in networking. This in turn builds confidence and fosters an attractive attitude the college and employers will also value; the “winner” mentality.
3) Speaking in public can help students overcome their fears, and not just in public speaking, but overcoming the fear of fear itself. If you can successfully face down high-pressure situations like that, then other difficult situations that arise can, on reflection, appear easier to overcome.
So whether it’s as a platform for sharing our learning with our peers, a gathering at which to share important announcements or an opportunity for students to exercise their speaking and/or performance skills, assembly clearly has its place in school life. Principal of the IDEA: Quest College Preparatory School in McAllen, Texas, Scott Hollinger, has said of his school’s morning assemblies:
“A regular habit of sharing builds in all of us a history of shared experiences. This is what a shared culture comprises. It is in this forum that the principal emphasizes expectations for behavior and character. Here is where we celebrate our achievements. The kids love morning assembly. So do the teachers and the parents.”