Motivational Therapy Should Be A Part Of Student Education

We get by with a little help from our educational system

Whether they admit it or not, most teachers have favorite students. These students are usually the ones that are the most eager to learn and ask all of the advanced questions during class because their curiosity and capacity to absorb complex topics challenges the teacher’s intellect, making it a learning experience for both. A similar hierarchical approach is taken by

the education system as a whole, where the successful students, as validated by the cohorts accepted into the top colleges, are the “well rounded” students with a certain caliber of GPA.

The students at the other end of this spectrum are the ones that are either struggling to keep up with the rest of their classmates, or have given up and don’t care about their grades. Although it might seem fair to qualify these students as “poor” performers because of the scores they receive on tests, it is very likely that their lack of motivation or confidence is a result of not knowing how to properly respond to feelings of failure. The responsibility of teaching them how to do this, therefore, should fall on the system for the same reason that teaching them Math and Science does - they are children and don’t know these skills already. In fact, most adults don't know these skills

If a psychotherapist were to see a patient battling with these same type of issues - extremely low confidence or motivation - they might understand that the patient’s problem is not so much about how they feel about themselves, but rather how they feel about themselves compared to others. So their therapeutic approach may involve cognitive restructuring techniques, and maybe even asking the patient to temporarily suspend their social media accounts, then teaching the patient how to redirect their attention to their personal growth and improvement.

Imagine if these elements of motivational therapy and psychology were adopted and reinforced by the education system and in addition to teaching academic students, we also taught how to properly respond to failure. Well adjusted adults may understand, and even appreciate, the differences in their individual skills. They might live in a competitive reality, but also accept that their strengths direct their paths, and their weaknesses, by and large, can be managed.

Yet, when it comes to children, we allow them to feel judged by a uniform set of standards and expectations without much guidance in managing their emotional state. If motivational therapy were incorporated into all standard school curriculums, we as a society would be equipping the next generations with the most valuable skill they can learn, the skill of perseverance.

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