In a survey of high school dropouts, 69 percent said that they have not been motivated or inspired enough to work hard. The overall success of students has been narrowly defined as the academic content mastery and students’ intellectual processing of that material. However, research shows that this is insufficient. In the pursuit of educational reforms, something essential that seems to be missing is the psychology of the student. Psychological factors—non-cognitive factors—can matter equally to the cognitive factors for students’ academic performance. These may include students’ beliefs about themselves, their feelings about school, or their habits of self-control. These factors also offer promising levers for raising the achievement of underprivileged children and, ultimately, closing achievement gaps. The adversity that children experience both in and out of school can affect their psychology, with consequences for learning.
So while tackling large-scale problems in our educational system, we can directly help students to become more motivated and successful learners. Moreover, with greater application of non-cognitive factors in classrooms, one can do relatively small things in the teaching-learning process that can make a big difference students’ learning. One of the ways to build this is by building academic tenacity in students.
Academic tenacity are the non-cognitive factors that promote long-term learning and achievement At the most basic level, academic tenacity is about working hard, and working smart, for a long time. More specifically, academic tenacity is about the mindsets and skills that allow students to look beyond short-term concerns to longer-term or higher-order goals, and withstand challenges and setbacks to persevere toward these goals.
The major factors that affect academic tenacity are Mindsets, Goals and Self-regulation. These factors can be inculcated through either a schooling or non-schooling environment.
Mindsets: Students’ beliefs about their academic ability influence their academic tenacity. Their belief that the efforts they are putting shall pay off also plays an important role.
Stanford University psychology professor Carol Dweck and colleagues have conducted research, long team featuring ethnically and economically diverse students, that shows that a central factor in this resilience is a student’s mindset about intelligence. Students may view intelligence as a fixed quantity that they either possess or do not possess (a fixed mindset) or as a malleable quantity that can be increased with effort and learning (a growth mindset). And this plays a really important role in students’ performing-term achievement.
Goals: Students’ endorsement of the goals often predicts their academic achievement. Students with fixed mindsets often worry more about their performance than their learning. Thus they tend to focus more on their performance and try to protect its identity. While students who endorse learning goals tend to seek out academic challenges, persist on difficult academic tasks more, and develop their abilities more readily. People can have both types of goals but being extremely involved in performance goal and trying to avoid failure can be quite harmful.
Self-Regulation: Self-regulatory skills—those that allow students to rise above the distractions and temptations of the moment, stay on task, and navigate obstacles to long-term achievement—also contribute to academic tenacity and school achievement.
Focussing on cognitive as well as non-cognitive skills in students leads to wholesome development which produces not just short term results but also long term skills inturn leading their holistic development.
By Ritika Arora – Educational Specialist