Teachers not helping “stuck” students set goals

Teachers not helping “stuck” students set goals

Teachers are not doing enough to prevent rising student dissatisfaction with school, with only a third of students hopeful of finding a job, a recent survey shows. 

A Gallup Student Poll conducted a nationwide survey of 7,300 students from years 5-12 across 31 schools in an online census last September. The results revealed a sharp decline in student morale, peaking in Year 10.

Student enthusiasm fell 19 percentage points from Years 5-12, reaching its lowest point in Year 10, a drop in engagement attributed to “increased school demands over time.”

According to the poll, 37% of students reported feeling “stuck”, with 32% saying they were not hopeful of finding a good job.

However, Gallup Student Poll consultant, Peggy Jasperson, said that teachers can improve student morale by highlighting their achievements and helping them set goals.

The poll also found that students were six times more likely to be interested in school when teachers highlighted their achievements instead of their weaknesses.

Jasperson said the data from the survey suggested a correlation between student apathy and the absence of goal-setting.

"They're not feeling as though they have many ways to solve problems or there could be stronger improvement and linking to what they are doing in the classroom to what they'll be doing in the future," Jasperson told the ABC.

The survey’s findings follow the latest NSW Business Chamber report which revealed that NSW secondary schools are not doing enough to transition students from school to the workforce.

NSW Business Chamber chief executive, Stephen Cartwright, said that Australia should follow the example of countries in which ‘employment logic’ is used in classrooms to provide students with the preparatory skills they need for the workforce.

"A key problem in NSW is that it is still governed by ‘education logic' and a focus on university pathways, rather than the 'employment logic' found in countries such as Germany and Denmark,” Cartwright said.

“Employment logic emphasises apprenticeships and helping students transition from school to the workforce.

"We need to take a serious look at existing school culture which privileges traditional academic subjects, and find a better way to cater for the more than 60% of school leavers who choose not to attend university immediately after school."

HAVE YOUR SAY: What else can teachers do to lift student morale?