In our conversations, whenever we discuss students, the first thing that strikes our mind is their marks or skills. We generally talk about how important it is to have good scores. Also skills to be a successful person or to achieve our life goals. We hardly pay attention to the fact that this rat race of acquiring good marks. Skills has some impacts on students’ mental well-being. Competition’s mental health effects can sometimes be in favour of students as well as against them.
Have you ever thought about the impact of marks and skills on students’ mental well-being? Here, it’s not about whether marks are more important or skills are the breadwinner. If you peacefully think about this, you may draw the conclusion that it solely depends on certain situations. Where students have to decide what’s important: marks, skills, or both. There is no supremacy of marks over skills or skills over marks. The thing that needs our attention is how both marks and skills have a significant impact on student’s mental well-being.
Things that can affect a student’s mental well-being:
- Pressure to Perform Well: Academically, for many students, pressure to perform well and score good marks in their exams can lead to stress and anxiety. Being afraid of failure and having the desire to score good marks can be overwhelming for some students. Leads to sleep deprivation, loss of appetite, and other physical and mental health issues.
When talking about skills, students feel pressure to perform well and excel in a certain skill or subject area. Which leads to stress and anxiety. This is especially true when good test scores are seen as the only measure of their success.
- Sense of self-worth: Marks and skills can have a significant impact on students’ sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Performing well makes them feel proud of themselves. Even so poor performance can lead to feelings of self-doubt, inadequacy, disengagement, and decreased self-esteem and sense of self-worth.
- Receiving positive feedback: Marks and skills have an impact on students’ motivation to learn. When students score good marks or excel in a certain skill, they receive positive feedback. Which makes them feel motivated and confident to continue their hard work. Poor marks or failure to learn a skill tend to make them feel discouraged and, lose their confidence and motivation to learn.
- Competitive culture: In some educational environments, the emphasis on scoring good marks academically and getting excellence in certain skills can create a competitive culture where students are pitted against one another. This can lead to feelings of bitterness and jealousy, as well as a sense of worthlessness, in those who didn’t perform well.
- Mental exhaustion: Constantly being pushed to score good marks or excel in a particular skill can lead to mental exhaustion, which results from chronic stress and overwork. Also, sometimes it can lead to other mental health problems in students, for example, depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts.
- Narrow focus: When the sole focus of education is on scoring good marks or excelling in a particular skill, it can lead to a narrow focus on a limited range of subjects and skills. This can limit students’ abilities and exposure to new ideas and experiences and hinder their overall development.
Overall, it is important for educators, parents, and even students to recognize the impact that marks and skills can have on students’ mental well-being. Work towards creating a healthy, supportive learning environment that encourages the growth and development of students rather than simply focusing on their academic success. Here, positive psychology can also play a very effective role in reducing the impact of marks and skills on students’ well-being by focusing on students’ strengths, encouraging a growth mindset, and promoting coping capacity.
Here are some positive ways can be helpful in reducing the impact of marks and skills on students’ mental well-being:
- Identifying and utilizing individual strengths: Positive psychology emphasizes the importance of identifying and utilizing individual strengths. This can help students recognise their own strengths, which shifts their focus to personal growth and development. Ultimately, boosting their self-esteem and reducing the pressure they feel to perform at a certain level
- Encouraging a growth mindset: Positive psychology encourages the development of a growth mindset. A growth mindset is the belief that intelligence and abilities can be developed over time with effort and practise. Helping students see their marks and skills as a measure of their progress rather than a fixed indicator of their intelligence, abilities, or worth
- Promoting coping capacity: Positive psychology can help students develop coping strategies for dealing with stress, anxiety, and setbacks. Encouraging students to see their failures as opportunities for growth and learning new things, and also helping students to come out of disappointment and overcome their challenges.
In summary, positive psychology, with the association of educators and parents. It can help students develop a positive and healthy relationship with their academic performance. Prioritize their mental health and well-being.