Among the myriad of definitions from different lexicons, the Oxford dictionary’s definition of the word “study” is “taking pains to achieve“. When I saw this definition it somehow sounded ridiculous to me. It is only now recently that I found myself thinking back and actually delving deeper into this meaning. Receiving the final Unisa exam timetable in my post and email, was the best feeling I ever experienced. It kind of surged an instant energy to my muscles and spirit which indicated to me, that I am so geared up to sitting for this last exam so I can obtain my degree. Unisa’s course work is designed such that one is required to complete a number of compulsory assignments per module, which will eventually determine one’s exam admission. When that time comes where you are formally informed, you have been admitted, you feel so elated, like you have already passed the course.
Little did I know that, come “CRUNCH” time, I was going to experience a totally different feeling. As I am expressing all these feelings on paper right now at this very moment, it is my study time. One would think it is during my break time that I’m doing this but no … it is not. Writing an article whilst I am supposed to be studying isn’t the only excuse I try to escape into. I can always have an ample time to start studying just before I take special leave from work, but I will always postpone it to the time that I’m actually on leave. Still when that time comes, I will search for every possible excuse in the book which will keep me away from studying.
The first thing when I wake up would be: “Let me take a bath then study”. After the bath it will be: “Let me first check my mails, respond to those that need my urgent attention, and then study.” At that time, my cell is flooding with wall status from all my face book friends, and responding to them is the tranquilizer I desperately need to keep me away from this monster…studying.
The last blow, that I was actually laughing at, was when I decided I need to visit the home-affairs department to check on my passport which I applied for way back in July. One would reckon, avoiding to study is the best force to drive one to do all things you hate doing, passionately. In a nutshell, all I’m trying to tell the readers here is that, studying is as much a monster to a student like sleep is to a toddler.
This discovery made me to become empathetic to learners in our classes. I, for the first time wore their shoes and relived the torture they always have to go through whenever we as teachers, expect good grades from them, compounded by the pressure parents exert on them for their designed destinies. Yes, we all know that if there is no pain, there won’t be any gain, but seriously… how do we work on easing this burden from their shoulders?
I further had a monologue where I was asking myself what is it that can actually serve as intrinsic motivation for our learners to face this monstrous endeavour with much enthusiasm and enjoyment. If I, as an adult wait for the eleventh hour to labour in front of my books, knowing fully well that I can’t afford to throw the money I paid for the modules down the drain, let alone miss on opportunities to open further doors for myself, what about a poor child with immature thinking skills?
As much as I always pass these modules after unnecessarily pressurising myself to study, the question remains – how do I bypass this struggle of study avoidance? Is it a sign of lack of discipline or is it a natural feeling? If it is natural, well … I believe just as much as medical practitioners came up with strategies to ease the pain of child birth, so; should we, as teachers embark on employing strategies that will ease the natural pain of studying. What a challenge … more so, can it be attainable?