"Adults with positive self-concept and high self-esteem are more responsive to learning and less threatened by learning environment." (Mackeracher, 2004)
Perhaps, many of you have experienced or you are currently experiencing this feeling. You may be approaching final exams and feel like there is so much pressure placed upon you to do well and pass the class. Maybe you had turn in a few essays that weren't too great and feel like this next paper will not be any different. You could be a clinical student trying to perform examinations in a new area and feel like you cannot grasp the equipment functioning. While the learning situation or learning environment can be overwhelming, it is important that you, the student, remain positive.
Mackeracher (2004) points out that a positive self-esteem and self-concept can make adult learners more receptive to learning and feel less threatened by the learning environment. This means that students should look deeper into how they view themselves, feel about themselves, and/or value themselves. They have to know that the same attributes that granted them the opportunity to attend that college or university are still there. They may be more enhanced. The same ambition that led to the decision of a major or career field should be the same ambition that goes into studying, preparing for and attempting those learning situations.
Try these suggestions:
- Treat each test/quiz as a new chance to get "it" right. If you go into each test or quiz with the weight and pressure of previous ones, you are bound to repeat those same results. Learn from them, but keep them in the past.
- External affects internal. I used to wonder why some students dress in detailed fashion to attend class, but I get it. If you look good, you tend to feel good. This high self-esteem can give an emotional boost to complement the mental preparation for an assignment. So get your haircut or styled, iron your best shirt or blouse, etc. and look like the A+ you expect to earn. (Disclaimer: this is not permission to go spend money on clothes foolishly. Look good in what you already have.)
- Expectations vs. Effort: Your expectations cannot exceed your best effort to achieve them. In other words, you cannot expect to make an A on a paper or test, if you gave C+ effort. I understand that sometimes your best attempt can come up short in the end, but other times, you know when you didn't study well enough or research enough to make a good grade.
- Learn the environment: Become comfortable where you learn. A chemist needs to be comfortable in the laboratory. This laboratory could be extremely different from other ones with which the chemist was familiar. Being comfortable and becoming familiar with that new environment (and important tools within it), will lessen the threat associated with learning new skills there.
Quote obtained from: Mackeracher, D. (2004). Making Sense of Adult Learning. University of Toronto Press; Toronto.