Interpersonal fears are brought on by the pressure we feel from those closest to us. A bad mark on an exam or paper might already make a student feel ashamed, but they may be even more embarrassed and upset about having to reveal this to parents, relatives and friends. Many students can feel as if they have let their parents or teachers down with a bad mark. They may even anticipate that this will lead to ridicule from classmates, or others taking them less seriously overall.
Career fears stem from a perceived decrease in one’s ability to secure a better future. As a society, we associate good marks and notable academic achievements with a better chance of finding a worthy career path in later life. The pressure can be unbearable for many students, especially in China, where career prospects are generally heavily dependent on one’s academic results. A poor mark will often leave a student feeling that many careers doors have suddenly closed, and that their aspirations for future success are greatly diminished.
à It is imperative that as teachers we to find an effective method to overcome our students’ perceptions of academic failure. By putting the correct methods in place, we can both comfort and encourage students to believe that it really is not the end of the world and that they can work to achieve higher marks in the future.
A handful of the methods that academic circles have established are listed below:
No. 1). Learning to recognise improvement - this cannot be stressed enough!
It is not always about the achievement itself. As teachers we should always recognise any and all improvements in a student’s performance, no matter how small.
Let’s look at the example from above – the student accustomed to receiving “C” marks may be really hoping to achieve an “A,” but instead, accomplishes a “B.” Although this was not the grade that he or she was aiming for, it is important to openly notice and reward their improvements. By providing this positive affirmation, we remind students that they are on the right track in progressing in their studies.
No. 2) Coping beliefs
Perhaps the hardest challenge after receiving a bad mark is one’s ability to remain motivated and not give into feelings of defeat! Students must understand the mind-set that they should adopt to achieve better marks in the future. Positive thinking cannot be stressed enough.
We can also help our students by reminding them of their own past successes, and what they did to achieve these.
Research finds that if an individual truly believes that they are in control and that their efforts alone will affect a positive outcome, then their future results are more likely to go their way.