Teddy had a talent – he was excellent at sports. But Teddy also had a problem. There was no doubt about it. Teddy was terrible at school. He was great on the field, but a horror to have in the classroom. His teachers had him categorised to a common problem that they saw in their classrooms and pinned him down to the hypothesis that the staffroom had begun to agree on over the years – a child who excelled in a sporting activity, more often than not has difficulties in the classroom. The above problem is more than just a passing trend.
It’s an issue that finds itself built into the psyche of students who are extremely good in one area and perform badly in others. The following paper will discuss this hypothesis that describes Teddy’s case and conclude by developing the outcome and remedy for such an experience. Simply stated, the hypothesis is as follows: Children like Teddy, who excel in one field, do not fare well in any other. In Teddy’s case, it was the sports. In the cases of other children, it has been music, art, dance, research – the list continues. This paper zones in on the sporting case study.
Teddy, being exceptionally good in his sporting activities was not as inclined to learning anything else other than his chosen sport. His overwhelming obsession with this one area destroys the learning process for all other areas – a pure case of inclination for one over the other. This may be a direct result of the student’s psychological mindset that accompanies this choice. The mindset dictates that everything that he values in life at that age – adulation, approval, success, maybe even friendship and acceptance, comes to him with his sporting success.
Especially in the case of boys, it’s definitely peer-acceptable if they are very good at sports. (Messner, 1992, p. 57). Being good at sports, inevitably resulted in Teddy’s confidence and a sense of legitimacy even, in school. (Thompson, 2000, p. 17) His short-sightedness at that age prevents him from realizing that he owes himself all-round development. The mindset ultimately hampers with Teddy’s learning difficulties. Teddy slowly begins to view the entire learning process as unnecessary and avoidable. Any participation in academics on Teddy’s part becomes a half-hearted attempt due to parental pressure.
This unwillingness dents Teddy’s learning process and will soon begin to harm his learning capabilities. Add to this tiring and strenuous training or practice sessions and Teddy has no time left for homework or study of any kind. Sooner or later, Teddy realizes he’s fallen way behind his classmates and has no way of catching up to the lesson they are now working on. Failure in class pushes him to do better on the field, resulting in more success in his sporting activity that drives him further and further away from the classroom and his books.
Teddy, is what Lund and Deborah, call an ego-oriented student who perceives that his performance is high in one area and hence continues to remain motivated in that area. (Lund & Tannehill, 2005, p. 89). Teddy’s fascination and fixation with sports could also be proof of adolescent values that simply reflect the sports-mad character of adult society. (Mayer & Peterson, 1999, p. 240). Another reason why, schools themselves will not discourage growth in sports – indeed sports have much in common with the devout attitude of the colleges, both as regards their psychological basis and as regards their disciplinary effect.
(Veblen, 2004, p. 211). Educational institutions condone sporting success in their students and only begin to notice its ill-effects, when it begins to affect a student’s academic record. And so it is with Teddy – his teachers’ theory about students who excel at sports is turning out to be true, much to his parents’ desperation. However, there is a remedy for Teddy and it involves a certain amount of assistance from his teachers and his parents. The first step involves changing Teddy’s mindset. Psychologically, Teddy has been prone to early success that has resulted in a change in his ego.
Parents and teachers ought to come into the picture as soon as possible, to temper Teddy’s ego, and begin to emphasize the importance of all round development and learning for lasting success in life. Having done that, Teddy, together with his teachers and parents ought to zone in on his priorities, chalk out a strategy that facilitates an effective distribution of time and energy to be spent on sports and studies. The final step in the remedy includes constant monitoring by teachers and parents to ensure that his priorities stay fixed and he does not go back to his ‘sporting success is all I need in life’ mindset.
REFERENCES Lund, J. & Tannehill, D. (2005) Standards-based physical education curriculum development. 89. London: Jones & Bartlett Publishers. Messner, M. (1992) Power at Play. 57. Boston: Beacon Press. Thompson, J. (2000) Women, class and education. 17. London: Routledge. Mayer, E. & Peterson, P. (1999) Earning and learning. 240. Washington D. C. : Brookings Institution Press Veblen, T. (2004) The Theory of the Leisure Class. 211. New York: Kessinger Publishing.