Getting approval from your administration
Before starting any after school club you're going to need to get approval from your administration. This section will discuss the process, and possible hurdles that may arise, of creating an after school video game club.
First things first: Use the existing pathway to start the club
If you're meeting resistance from admin
Always start by going through the existing means of starting a club. Each school and district has their own procedures to start an after school club. Typically the teacher sponsor is required to write a proposal detailing what will happen in the club, and submit it to the administrator in charge of those things. Depending on the size of your school that might be an Athletic Director, a Vice-Principal, or the Principal. In the clubs I've started, my proposal details the times I will be holding the club, how much space I'll need, what equipment I'll need to use, and the benefits I see the club giving to the students. Your administrator might have small adjustments they'd like you to adhere to, and I'd recommend agreeing to them unless they're no longer small requests and it feels like the administrator is controlling your club too much. Remember, you're the one that's going to be running this club, so fight for what you think is important.
If your administration is resisting acceptance of your after school video game club, try to convince them of the general benefits that all after school programs provide. There are many examples of published literature supporting the benefits of after school activities. While none of them (yet) are specifically tied to video gaming clubs, the literature is replete with evidence showing how the various kinds of extracurricular activities benefit students. I've attached some of the better examples of published literature that you can use as you see fit to convince your administration of the value of video game clubs. The bottom line is, there is a quite large population of gamers in our education system that do not have their interests represented in an after school dimension. Video game clubs will give these students a new kind of home at school.
It is important to know before clicking to view these articles that many of them are in academic journals. Therefore, these are something you might have to pay for to get access to. Any student of a major university should have access to these journal articles through their university library, so if you're not in a position to pay for these articles, simply ask a friend who has access to see if they can do some research on your behalf. Unfortunately, as much as I wish I could, I am not able to just give them out to whoever wants them. That being said, some are not behind this pay wall, especially the first two!
The best two to start with:
These two well-respected articles summarize all the major benefits that after school activity participation provides to students of varying ages. These two articles are a great place to start in your persuasion of administration to adopt a video game club at your school:
Talking about grades:
Participation in organized activities is associated with higher than expected grades, higher perception of importance of school for the future, higher self-esteem, higher resiliency, prosocial peers, and lower than expected risky behavior:
student engagement benefits:
Acceptance to a group, and being a part of a club can influence student engagement:
Reducing drop out rate:
Benefits towards life academic achievement:
Hopefully after being provided all this evidence that after school activities do provide a benefit to students, your administration will approve of your club. If they do not, and you're still quite insistent upon starting a video game club, I recommend professionally, and patiently, escalating the issue to more powerful voices who may hear your argument.
I have had several requests to publish my dissertation, one that looks at the student engagement benefits of extracurricular video game clubs in high schools, on this website. I am happy to give it out to whoever wants it. I feel a bit silly citing myself on this; yet, I am confident in the conclusions of my research. Feel free to download a copy at the link below; the dissertation is called “What keeps bringing the kids back? An exploration of high school video gaming clubs” and I studied the student engagement benefits of after school video game clubs. I found similar student engagement benefits for participants in video game clubs to those found in more traditional after school activities. I hope it helps you!