The Classroom Can Learn a Lot from the Racetrack
As years pass, more and more students are putting school on a lower and lower priority. School just doesnt seem that important anymore. Students feel as if they dont need to try as hard. Students have lost their zeal for schoolwork for a variety of reasons. The first is that they see little or no benefit or cost to not trying. Others just dont care. There are many ways for the school system to help all of these aspects.
First, lets look at something that does work. In sports, athletes try their very best and put great amounts of time and effort into the game. Why does this happen? The environment in athletics is a lot different from the environment in the classroom. Coaches have a passion for the sport they are in and they show it. When athletes do well, the coach lets them know it and constantly pushes them to do better.In a sport the coach would give comments such as Wow! A 12:14 for that two-miler? Keep going like that and you could break twelve minutes by the end of the season! Other athletes are quick to follow to praise the athlete. The athletes also receive recognition, through bulletin boards, medals, even plaques at times. Through these methods, much importance is put into doing well.
The classroom, however, is much different. Too many times do I see teachers with the Heres the work. Heres how to do it. Now do it, method. Teachers show no passion for what they are teaching, so why should students do the same for what they are learning? When students do not turn in the work, the same thing happens to students who do: nothing. Nothing is done either way. How many times have teachers said, Great job! You got a B on that last test! Keep going like that and you could make an A on the next one! How many times have teachers let students know that they expect better than what theyre getting from the student? Whether the student does good or bad, there is very little benefit or consequence that they see. For over two months of working hard or over two months of doing absolutely nothing, for one day, students will only see a quarter report card. Compare that to the amount of praise and pep talks a coach gives an athlete in just a season. What kind of recognition do the students get for months of hard work? A sheet of paper, compared to the trophies and medals that athletes get. Now, which one gets more emphasis: school or sports? Which one should get more emphasis?
What should be done about this? The way the brain works is simple. I do this. Something bad happens. I dont do it again. I do this. Something good happens. I do it again. More often than not, this is the case. Teachers should praise students who are doing well and let other students know the mistake theyre making when theyre not doing well. In a class Ive had my freshman year, a teacher would go up to each student to collect homework. Students showing no homework would get a quick and effective lecture, in front of the whole class. Immediately, the next day, more students did homework. As simple as it sounds, the process does work.
Teachers should also show passion for the subject. They should let students know the importance of the subject to them, so that students will understand why they are learning it. This could give students a reason, which many lack, for learning.
After a race, an athletes place and time is shown. The athlete sees how well he or she did and works harder next time to improve that. The top runners get recognition. The classroom should also run in this fashion. Grades should be posted regularly and according to rank. That way, students would try harder to improve their rank. As cruel as it seems, names instead of ID numbers should be posted as well. That way, students that do well will get some recognition from their peers. Students that dont