Suffering a set-back in life can be disappointing. Sometimes it can be psychologically damaging,. And at times it stops people from going as far as they could otherwise go – because they don’t want to experience that feeling again. Their fear of failure is bigger than what could otherwise be an amazing end-result. If only they had kept going…
Schools realise this. That’s why they like the chance to enter students into exams early – it gives double the chance at success, and who doesn’t want to double their chances in life?
In Mid-September I met a pretty inspiring student. At the time, he didn’t feel he was inspiring. In fact, I’d hazard a guess that having English tuition was pretty low down on his list of what he would choose to do for fun. But this didn’t matter to him. He had fought to pass his exams for two consecutive years, and for two years in a row he fell short of the result he really needed (and wanted) in order to secure the future he had seen for himself. And this is where, upon meeting him, I knew that despite only having 8 short weeks to re-educate himself, with me as his tutor, he would do brilliantly. Because despite these set-backs he still chose to keep going. It was all about the mind-set that we worked on together.
The result? He passed! He got an incredible grade and has now opened even more doors to his own future. Why? Because despite getting two less- than- pleasing results over two consecutive years, he refused to let this stop him from getting to where he wanted to be: completing a prestigious work-based training course and enjoying an exciting and rewarding career. With a strong sense of emotional resilience he engaged my tuition services and focused solely on two things – why his result didn’t add up to a successful pass and how he could work to make this happen. He turned his weak spot into a sweet spot and passed with flying colours!
For real success, some level of failure is not only inevitable, but necessary! It’s a driving force. Yes, none of us like to do badly, especially not when we have put our all into something. But how else do we learn where our weak spots are? How else could we turn these into sweet spots? With failure comes support: advice, direction and guidance usually show up hand-in-hand for those ‘urgh’ moments. Especially for students.
As a Teacher and professional Tutor I see the effects of resilience psychology constantly. That’s not to say that a student shouldn’t take a moment to be disappointed, and won’t feel upset, cross or frustrated if they don’t do as well as they hoped. It’s using those feelings to make something better happen that really makes the difference. Doing less well in something than you anticipate (some might call that failing – for me, that word is irrelevant if you keep on going) leads you to find out why. It forces you to understand how. And those two areas lead to hugely successful learning.
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