A number of years ago, Stanford University’s Professor Walter Mischel erformed an experiment (known as the Marshmallow experiment) on children 4-6 years old. His instructions directed the children to eat one marshmallow now, but if they could wait for 15 minutes without eating any, then he would give each of them twice as many marshmallows to eat. He found that some children did eat the marshmallows almost immediately, while a few others decided to wait for a more significant reward.
The investigation didn’t finish there - researchers continued to study the development of the children into adolescents. They found that those children who were able to delay gratification were psychologically better adjusted, more dependable, more selfmotivated, and in high school scored significantly better with regards to academic performance. With the latest study conducted on these exact same participants in 2011, the research has shown that these characteristics have remained with the individuals for life. We live in a world where instant gratification is expected and if it is not forthcoming the ability to simply wait has become non-existent.
"Gees Week" is upon us and there is much war-crying and drum beating going on before school and during break each day. While I have to admit I find the noise a little unsettling, I am delighted to see such wonderful school spirit amongst the pupils. They are clearly proud of their school and are, for the most part, not afraid to show it. It got me thinking about pride as a concept and how it relates to confidence, motivation, achievement and general happiness.
The first thought to cross my mind - being somewhat of a pessimist, and having been schooled at a good Catholic institution in the early 80s - was the age-old saying ‘Pride comes before a fall!’ This unfortunately gives pride a very negative connotation, something which I find difficult to reconcile with the joyous sense of pride I have been witnessing around the school this week. I believe strongly that pride can be a positive emotion, used to reinforce continued effort.
It has become increasingly noticeable that a number of our pupils feel that they can’t speak to their parents, or that their parents don’t understand them, their parents don’t take them seriously, and so on. We as teachers and parents need to be accessible to our children, our teenagers, the pupils we teach.
As teachers we often give pupils advice on how to speak to their parents, how to approach a thorny subject or emotive issue. We re-assure our pupils that parents will always want to do what is best for them. I have found some ideas and advice on how to approach, talk to and communicate with your teenager.
We have reached the end of another busy and successful term at the College. That being so, we have to bid a sad farewell to two staff who leave us.
Mrs Sindi Zwane joined our College in May 2017 from Aurora College. Ms Zwane quickly made her mark in the isiZulu department. It is never easy joining a school midway through a year but Mrs Zwane took this all in her stride. At the end of last year, when the matric pupils celebrated their last day, it was clear that in a very short period of time, Mrs Zwane had crept into the hearts of the pupils she taught. Her pupils had grown to respect and admire her as a teacher and mentor.
Life - the biggest gym every single one of us is training in on a daily basis, whether we want to or not.
The thought that this year would be greater and better than the previous year was definitely a thought that crossed all of our minds at the beginning of the term. To be honest, it feels it has steamed ahead at a pace I am unfamiliar with, definitely testing every management skill I have. Scrolling through different articles, I stumbled onto a podcast written by Justin C Scott. He summarised 7 life lessons every individual will learn at gym. For me the gym is not a Virgin Active, for me the gym is life on a daily basis. A place where you will find yourself and one that teaches you self-control, discipline and a work ethic that will lead you to become a more confident, self-assured and more complete individual
How to make our pupils’ education relevant.
In a recent article published on the website topunivesities.com, it listed various job titles which did not exist five years ago, yet today are in high demand in the marketplace. Social Media Manager, Content Manager, Data Analyst and User Experience Manager (UX) are jobs I had never heard of when I arrived at Beaulieu College. A report by the World Economic Forum reveals that around 65% of the jobs that primary school pupils will be doing when they finish high school do not exist today.
I know it has almost become cliché to talk about 21st Century skills but the more I read about it the more I realise that everyone is embracing this trend except the institution that most needs to develop the workforce of the future, our education system. We spend a good deal of time training pupils how to answer questions, but not enough time is used to teach how to ask a question. Before you can solve a problem, you must be able to critically analyze and question what is causing it. This is why Critical Thinking and Problem Solving are essential skills in need of development.
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