Impulse Control

Whenever I feel a spontaneous urge to do something educational or otherwise beneficial for myself (like learning about a programming language, or reviewing a historical event), I do it. If I’m in the middle of something that can wait, I drop everything and satisfy the urge. If I’m in the middle of something that can’t wait, I make a mental or physical note of the urge and hope the urge remains after I finish my current activity. These urges, when educational in nature, will clearly lead to a more satisfying life for me. I like knowing stuff.

I do have a serious problem with procrastination however, which requires that I focus intently to prevent distractions. Even then, say I’m writing an essay about technology and I realize I don’t recall or never learned how a particular device works, and my curiosity is piqued. Which would have greater net benefit: my completing the essay with time to spare, but possibly with the urge to know faded away, or to succumb to the fickle whims of my mind (a harsh taskmaster) and finish with a hasty conclusion before class?

I need to learn to postpone yet preserve this urge when working on something as critical as schoolwork while on a strict deadline. But when there is time to spare, such as the weekend or a break, I am certain my knowledge of some technology or a quick brushing up of some piece of math will lead to a more satisfying life than whatever mundane thing I might spend time on after completing the piece of schoolwork.

Educational Punishment

In class today, one of my teachers sent a girl out of the room to do her unfinished homework. If a kid acts up and won’t stop misbehaving, she sends him/her outside of the room for several minutes. Those solutions seem to defeat the purpose of school: to learn. I think that, when deciding how to punish students, they should keep one main objective in mind: keep the student learning. One of the best ways to do this is to keep the student in the room. Then, the teacher can frequently call on them, so that even if they don’t know the answer to the question they are asked, the teacher can kinda-sorta deduce what the student does not know and explain to them what they’re missing. If the student is stuck outside twiddling their thumbs or doing a worksheet, they’re not really learning anything. They probably don’t know the answer to worksheet questions anyway.

If a student fails to complete their homework, do not send them outside of the room to complete their work because of the reasons above. Give them incentive to do it after class (along with any further homework) by perhaps saying that they must sit through ISS or otherwise be punished. Avoid extra homework, because that could easily stack up, creating far too many worksheets to keep track of.