Academic excellence is the demonstrated ability to perform, achieve, and/ or excel in scholastic activities. It is usually connoted with attaining high grades and distinguished superior performance among peers. However, academic excellence goes beyond just making good grades. It is the totality in the development of an individual’s intellectual capacities and skills in service to humanity. Schools will be most successful in their mission of educational provision towards academic success when they integrate efforts to promote student’s academic, social and emotional learning processes. Academic excellence can greatly influence the future and eventual career choice of an individual, hence its sensitivity. Poor academic performance causes children and adolescents to feel pessimistic and disappointed about their future and leads teachers and parents to exert pressure, which negatively influences the subjective well-being of children and adolescents.
If schools focus only on academic instructions and school management in their efforts to help students attain academic success, they will likely fall short of their missions. An effective practical framework to achieving academic success will be one that will address both mental and physical factors that dominate a student’s life. The mental parameters involve the psychological and emotional well-being of the student while the physical parameter focuses on the human activities or factors by the student or around the student.
Mental factors: The need to address the subjective well-being that interferes with students’ performances in school is crucial. Subjective well-being is primarily the perceptions, evaluations, and desires built up in individuals regarding their lives. This phenomenon consists of two basic components: life satisfaction and emotional experiences. Life satisfaction involves the overall assessment of quality of personal life while emotional experiences involve the emotional experience of personal life, including positive and negative. Some students are grounded with mindsets of failure and inability to achieve some academic goals thus affecting their performances negatively. Some students on the other hand, are laid-back in taking academic responsibilities seriously while some are victims of environmental influence. Asides mentoring, sensitization and counseling to inspire subjective well-being positively, a key remedial approach is School-based Parental Involvement (SPIn).
SPIn involves introducing, increasing and improving, the participation in school activities and communication between parents and teachers of their wards. Researches have reported that students’ academic achievement is enhanced by parents through parent–school interaction, which generally includes parent–school communication, involvement in volunteer activities in schools, and participation in school management. Parents’ involvement in school activities can help to transmit a better understanding of the importance of education to their children. The interaction process between parents and teachers makes reaching a consensus on academic and behavioral norms easier, both in school and at home. When the information acquired by children from homes and the school is consistent, it will become clearer and more precise, enabling the children to internalize both parents’ and teachers’ academic expectations.
Furthermore, SPIn also allows parents acquire extensive information on the activities and performances of their children in school, thus giving a better insight into understanding the needs of the children, including adjusting parenting styles. The cognitive equilibrium created by this approach will generally influence the academic performance of the student positively.
Brain teaser: Using our immediate society as a case study, what is the estimated percentage of parents with active involvement in their children’s education? How practicable is SPIn in our society?
Physical factors: The learning environment, learning process, preparedness of the student, amongst others, constitute physical elements required for an effective approach to academic success. A conducive learning environment with adequate infrastructure, resource materials and educational supplies largely boosts academic efficiency in students. Another very sensitive element is the learning process. The personality and method of teaching hugely impacts the overall interest of a student in a particular subject/course and consequently, the performance. The ultimate value of a teacher is not in the regular performance of routine job duties, but in the ability to lead and inspire his students through the influence of his/her moral personality and exemplary lifestyle. Generally, students adore accessible, sympathetic, enthusiastic, and cheerful teachers. Effective teaching and learning are the output of respect for the profession, love for the students, empathy for their interests, tolerance, and a definite capacity for understanding. More so, an interactive approach to teaching will instill the zeal for preparedness, confidence and healthy competition in the students. Application of knowledge acquired is also made easier through the interactive approach than mindless cramming to pass examinations.
Students also have their own roles to fulfill in this. It is highly important that a student identifies and conforms with a pattern of reading and assimilation peculiar to him/her. Fore preparedness– reading ahead of classes and revising notes after classes, is also essential to build a relaxed and confident aura in a student. Time management is also important to set strict timetables for studying and other extracurricular activities, and to avoid procrastination. As a student, it is advisable to join active reading groups where you can discuss subjects learnt and challenge one another on questions.
Through collaboration with others in solving problems or mastering challenging content, students develop valuable skills that prepare them to deal with the kind of situations and problems they will encounter in the workplace, community and their personal lives.
Succinctly, the suggested practical framework for achieving academic excellence is the harmonization of self-resolution, resource coordination, classroom-focused enabling, support for transition and home involvement in education.
Public call: Did you struggle to attain an academic target at some point? Kindly share tips on how you worked through it to achieve excellence.
YATTIYR! Excellence for all!