Saturday, February 08, 2014

Pengalaman mengajar psikologi

Student: I want to major in Psychology
Me: Why?
Student: Because I like psychology
Me: Why is your Introduction to Psychology grade worse than other introductory courses?
Student: ..........

The above dialog is unfortunately quite common. Being the Head of Department, I've came across students wanting to major in psychology even though their academic performance is below the expected standards. And, unfortunately, the students are not able to offer convincing answers when asked about what made them want to major in psychology.

These cases lead me into making these conclusions. (1) Liking does not directly translates into performance. We may say we like or love or even passionate about something. But, somehow, our emotional energy are not transferred into physical energy in the form of actions. Clearly, emotions and actions are two separate things. While we love exercising, we may not actually spend 30 minutes everyday to break sweats.
Students have to be aware that their liking of psychology may not be enough to ensure that they will graduate with a psychology degree. They need to find other sources of motivation to do well. As a teacher of statistics, I know some students struggled with the course; and the course is compulsory for all psychology majors. 'Liking' alone will not help you to get through statistics. In fact, I believe students who managed to get into psychology program developed quite the opposite emotion once they are in the program.

"I did not realize that I have to do statistics!"
 "I thought I don't have to study the brain, cells, and chemistry"
"This is much more work than I expected!"

(2) Find another reason to support your request to major in psychology. This is important for students to sustain their academic performance. The same can be said for doing business. You may feel extremely motivated when learning about a business and the successful people, but your spirit waned when you face problems and hardships. This is why I find it difficult to allow students to join the psychology program when they don't seem to have a solid reason for doing so. And this bring us to the third conclusion.

(3) We are prone to do something without a clearly defined purpose and goals.

A: Lets go to Pulau Pinang this weekend.
B: Why?
A: No reason. Saja-saja.

Ok...I understand this kind of non-reasoning if you're a care-free teenagers without much responsibilities and lots of money to burn. If you're a fully grown adult, you have to appreciate the importance of having niyyah (intention) for doing things. Otherwise, you'd not be able to claim the benefits of the actions. Performing ruku' and sujud does not results in hasanah if you don't perform the rukun niat first.

To avoid the trap of a goal-less (or intention-less) actions, we have to force ourselves to make explicit goal statements. I've forced my students to do it for this semesters. And some of them made a good list of goals. May Allah help them to achieve their goals.

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