The Sunday News
ACQUISITION of skills at school is the in thing nowadays. Listen to the ministers of education officiating at various fora, they emphasise on the need for institutions of learning to churn out learners with skills. Gone are the days of producing learners to be job seekers. The mantra now is for these institutions to produce employment creators rather than the former.
The outcry coming out from many quarters is that we have no resources to start projects. Unfortunately, this has become the same old song sung now and again. Though it makes sense there are other views to lack of resources. The other day I heard a consultant on such matters saying that what we are unaware of as people is that the key resource we have is nobody else but ourselves as individuals. Before you can think of anything else know that you (yourself) are an important resource.
This means you can start a business venture before seeking for assistance. The problems we have are so deep rooted such that they now appear to run through the whole fabric of our society. There is this tendency where we keep on blaming our colonial masters for all our weaknesses. While this could be justified at times, there are other areas we can work on and improve ourselves. The message is clear — rise up and tackle the challenges head on.
Maybe to change our mindsets as learners we can get some encouragement from the following phrases presented by a research specialist. I found them valuable and worth sharing with you. This researcher lists about 10 phrases which successful and resilient learners use. He shows what learners should say and what they should not say to themselves if they are to be successful in life. You should say: “I get to”. (Do not say I have to.”
The words: “I have to” create a feeling of annoyance. The task at hand will become a burden that you cannot escape from. But if you say “I get to” you will create a feeling of opportunity and gratitude. The task will seem like a privilege instead of a chore. Say “I will figure it out” (Do not say “I cannot do it.” There are a very few things in life that you simply cannot do. You may need some help, or you may need more information. Almost always there is a solution.
But when you say “I can’t do it”, it stops you from finding the solution. So say “I’ll figure it out”, instead, and you will become a more successful and resilient learner. Say “I learned something”. Do not say “I made a mistake.” “Mistakes are valuable lessons in disguise. The more open you are to making mistakes, the faster you will learn. Mistakes are a vital part of the learning process. So when you make mistakes say to yourself: I learned something.”
Some learners lack confidence in class such that it hinders them from contributing in the learning process. They have the requisite knowledge but cannot answer questions in class. Teachers have a torrid time trying to motivate the class to be lively during the lesson. When it came to such situations I used to ask learners to offer what they thought were wrong answers to the questions asked. To my surprise a lot of good and correct answers came up.
What I learnt from such adventures is that at times negativity brings about success. At times it is necessary to say “I’m working on this.” Do not say “I’m bad at this.” When you say “I am bad at this,” you send a message to your brain that this is just the way you are. You are telling yourself that it is a permanent trait that you cannot change. We are told that this is not true. The more you practice anything, the better you’ll get at it. This will take some time.
“Do not say I’m not smart enough”. As a learner you will come across something you do not understand every day. When you do not understand something, it is natural to think, “This is too hard — I’m not smart enough.” But try saying this to yourself instead: “This is complicated, it will take some time to understand it.” Some subjects and topics are complicated.
But this does not mean you are not smart. It just means that you need more time. Keep persevering and everything will fall into place or everything will be in order. Over time, you will become a better and more resilient learner. Say “I don’t.” Do not say “I can’t”. “A big part of being a successful learner is to say no to temptations. The first thing is to accept that temptations will arise. The temptation to play instead of studying. Or the temptation to stay up late when you know you should go to bed. What is important is how you deal with such temptations.
Say “I will do.” “Do not say, I should”. Instead of saying that you should do something, try saying that you will do it. Our researcher states that the problem with saying “I should is that it can easily turn into wishful thinking. You are not making a commitment to take positive action. That is why it is better to replace “should” statement with “will” statement. A “will” statement empowers you to make a change. On the other hand, “should” statements trap you in a state of inaction.
How can I keep improving? Do not say “I am already good at this.” When you think about your performance in different subjects or activities, you might be tempted to say, “I’m already good at this.” But it is better to say to yourself, “how can I keep improving?” If you focus on improving, then you will become an even better writer. The process is what counts and there is always room for improvement.
I hope you appreciate the ideas suggested here as much as I do. Armed with such knowledge of tackling learning problems there is all reason to believe that we can all become successful learners.
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