First semester is up and teachers and students across the country are recovering from that last minute freak out: get that missing work in!
Stressed kids near collapse trying to dig something out, anything to get the grades up. Desperate teachers giving up all pretense of syllabus rules and pushing, pulling, and excusing the kids across the finish line. Vice Principals peering over their shoulders, demanding mounds of paper work to justify failing this and that kid. Now into the new semester and it’s starting all over again. Continue reading →
Would you take the one marshmallow now or wait for two later?
Don’t let the marshmallow be a distraction!
Procrastination is all about putting off for later something you don’t want to do in exchange for feeling better now.
In the classic Stanford Marshmallow Experiment, Professor Walter Mischel offered young children a sort of opposite problem: feeling stress now by putting off something you want in order to get more of it later.
He gave children a marshmallow and then told them that if they didn’t eat it now, in fifteen minutes they’d get another one. But if they ate the first one, they wouldn’t get another one at all. (Here for How to give the marshmallow test.)
Seems kinda cruel to me, and if I were a kid in the experiment, I’d have eaten the 1st marshmallow then held the researcher for ransom for five more — and now.
Impulse control v instant gratification
The point is, however, that the ability to withhold the impulse for instant gratification is a powerful life skill. Children in the experiment who were able to hold off for two marshmallows were found, ten and twelve years later, to be “significantly more competent” than other adolescents and scored higher on SAT tests.
Phew! So you got it in. Was it as good as it could have been?
Procrastination isn’t just about getting to things late. It’s also about getting them done fully and properly.
Any harm caused by delay or deferment is procrastination. Just because you turned it in on time doesn’t mean that you couldn’t have done better had you given yourself more time, or had you not given up in the middle and just mailed in the rest.
Complete completion, or just kinda done?
As a teacher I all-too frequently received unfinished or sloppily completed last minute work. But, heh, it was in on time! Sorry, return to sender. Continue reading →
Well, yeah, students cheat. Schools look upon it as a horrible violation of civic rules, a sure sign of a life of failure ahead, and they threaten dire consequences for it. Frankly, it’s more like a speeding violation than the theft that it is: cheaters rarely get caught, and usually just for the big things (call it “reckless cheating”).
As with speeding, treating cheating as an offense against mankind won’t stop it. Like all things in schools, the snap of the finger just doesn’t magically transform children into little angels and prodigies. So they cheat. Continue reading →
It just is. Lost in the middle of a long year, things get tough. You just got through midterms and the end of the 2nd quarter, you had a nice winter break, then, bam! School is back, and hard.
In Q3 teachers are off their game, too. They’re either panicked for having gotten off track from their pacing and lesson plans, overwhelmed from grading and making new plans, or distressed that students aren’t where they should be. Worse, administrators are having their own panic and are throwing meetings and putting more demands on teachers, worsening the load for everyone. Continue reading →
Procrastination: Interview with high school students and Dr. Timothy A. Pychyl
Student Success Podcast No. 15
Jan. 30, 2014, recorded Jan 28, 2014
Today’s Guest: Timothy A. Pychyl, Ph.D., and Sean, Sena, and Matthew, high school students
Dr. Pychyl, whom we agree to call Tim now, discusses the personal experiences with and possible solutions for three high school students, Sean, Sena, and Matthew. These students bravely discuss their struggles with workflow problems and strategies they could use to overcome it.
In this interview, Tim shows his deep compassion for students and concern for their success. The students engage his ideas thoughtfully, and we look forward to hearing back from them soon on how they are progressing.