Redefining Expectations – Why the Demand for ‘A’ Grades is Ruining Education
I’ll preface this article by saying that I believe many parents choose these goals for the right reasons but this leads to the wrong mindset.
In this blog, I’m going to be talking about the impact of focusing on results vs. focusing on things that create results. Put simply, the effort is more important than results in the long term. By contrast, grade focused goals lead to short-term success, but long-term weakness.
I’d like to paint a familiar picture. ‘Tom’ is failing a class so the school and parents intervene, demanding he tries harder to achieve a higher grade. If Tom gets a higher grade, he is praised which makes him happy. A new grade goal is created; rinse and repeat.
At a glance, this seems like seems like a positive outcome. The problem is that now Tom’s happiness in school is predicated on success in school. To continue to impress, Tom must do better and better. Eventually, he’ll fail to achieve this exponentially increasing benchmark.
The end result – Tom has a very negative association with school because of the increasing pressure to achieve. Due to his happiness coming from success when Tom fails, he becomes depressed/reserved/stressed.
Tom’s short-term success with a focus on results, has created an incredibly toxic mindset with achievement.
I repeat: result based goals are given for the right reason, but lead to the wrong mindset.
By contrast, what if the people who intervened with Tom had focused on improving the things that led to achievement.
Self Perception: Helping Tom believe he can do better
Healthy Habits: Developing a routine that takes the stress out of success, because effort becomes habit
Expectations: Putting emphasis on working to be better than you were yesterday for yourself. Creates internal motivation, rather than relying on others’ approval.
Sleep, diet, exercise: Giving the body the best chance to be healthy enough to have an easier time improving the mind.
Techniques: Learning how to learn, giving the tools to become an independent learner.
But most of all…Rewarding effort, not the results
I guarantee that building a healthy relationship with effort will lead to far more compounded success in life, than a short-term ‘A’ in school.