Consistent effort: What does it take for students to achieve their academic potential, asks the writer. — File photo
WHEN I was a young girl, my parents taught me the difference between two important four-letter words: need and want.
I had my first part time job at 14 years old and from that point on, I was expected to pay for the things I wanted while my parents continued to pay for the things that I needed.
My first part time pay as a student was A$3.25 (RM9.82) for my Saturday morning job and it took me two and a half months to save up for a very special pair of white denim jeans that I really wanted. Are these important life lessons still relevant now?
In contrast to my early experiences of delayed gratification, I recently overheard a small child talking to her mother while at the cash register in the supermarket. The child was commenting on how wonderful it was that her mother could have anything she wanted from a shop by simply tapping a credit card on a scanner.
The little girl then asked her mother when she would be old enough to have her own credit card so she could have everything that she wanted. The mother looked horrified!
I imagine this supermarket scene has been played out with many young children and their parents as technology replaces the traditional ways of operating. I recall, as a young child, seeing my mother put her weekly amount of “housekeeping money” in her purse and then we would go to the shops. I could see the money go into the purse and I could see it go out of the purse, and I had a clear sense of how much there was to spend and that there was a limit.
Through this, I understood that some things could be bought immediately, while we had to save for other things that we would eventually have sometime in the future.
While technological innovation has been responsible for great advances in many areas of life including scientific discovery, medicine, engineering, media, publication and education, to name a few, it had the unintended effect of producing an instant gratification generation (IGG) – who longer see the point of saving up for a special purchase, or waiting for anything. Opportunities to learn the benefits of delayed gratification are dwindling as technological advances increase exponentially.
If we want to know something, we “Google it” anywhere, anytime. If we want to buy something, there is always a credit card in the wallet. This constant access to immediate information and seemingly endless credit has trained us to believe that we should have access to whatever we want whenever we want it.
This notion of not wanting to wait for a particular outcome has crossed over to our education system where some students struggle with the notion of working hard at school and at their homework to achieve the grades they want in examinations at some time in the distant future.
So, what does it take for students to persist to achieve to their academic potential? There are many student attributes that can respond to this question, including persistence, self regulation, organisation skills, resilience, motivation, clear academic goals, a conducive study environment, plus good old fashioned effort.
However, according to the authors of Teaching Adolescents To Become Learners: The role of noncognitive factors in shaping school performance (Farrington, C.A., Roderick, M., Allensworth, E., Nagaoka, J., Keyes, T.S., Johnson, D.W., Beechum, N.O., 2012), there are five main groups of noncognitive academic factors that can be influential in overcoming the need for instant gratification: academic behaviours, academic perseverance, academic mindsets, learning strategies and social skills.
by DR DEBORAH PRIEST.
Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2016/06/19/tackling-instant-gratification/