Procrastination, the act of delaying or postponing tasks, is very common nowadays, especially among students. It causes a negative impact on students' work, grades, and even on their overall health.
For students, procrastination usually results in delay or even skipping of homework, assignments, projects, and studies which not only results in lower grades but also makes them demotivated, disengaged and causes lower self-confidence. Procrastination often makes it a habit for students to complete the assigned work at the last minute due to laziness which not only causes academic or professional impacts but also emotional or mental impact which is majorly associated with higher stress, fatigue, dissatisfaction, and more depression which increases with time. Hence, it is one of the responsibilities of a teacher to help students tackle procrastination.
Following are some tips for teachers to help students tackle procrastination:
A big project task/assignment/project may cause the students less confident about completing the project which prevents them from taking the first step.
Breaking the project into small segments can arouse motivation among students for completing the small segment at once and having that small win which boosts their confidence for the next win.
This method can be very helpful to underconfident students who believe that it would be impossible for them to complete such a big task.
One of the major reasons for a student to procrastinate is the lack of clear instructions given which confuses them and results in delaying work. Providing concrete and clear instructions for the assigned work could help a student tackle procrastination.
For example, instead of saying “do any 10 questions from the 9th chapter”, one might say “do the first 10 questions from the 9th chapter of mathematics”. These small changes can help students avoid confusion and they are more likely to complete the assigned work.
Teachers should set reasonable deadlines for the work assigned to students. Sufficient time must be provided for the students so that no mental pressure is imposed onto them which mostly causes the skipping of even attempting the work. Giving more than enough time for a particular task can also be avoided since it makes students carefree about the task and which causes more procrastination, hence sufficient, but not too much, should be provided for the students.
Nowadays there are many distractions around students that even they are not aware of such as the sound of their favorite music track playing on the television or the sound of a notification from a particular application that causes them to open the phone. These distractions might be short-term distractions but they cause a collapse of concentration as various studies have proved that switching from one task to another often results in a decrement in productivity, hence a student must be aware of such distractions.
It can help a student procrastinate less and work more efficiently as when they would be aware of such distractions they would take some measures like switching off the notifications or even turning off the phone while studying which might help them tackle procrastination.
Time management is one of the skills that everyone should learn as it helps in making the day more structured. Teachers should encourage students to take charge of their time and make them aware of where they are spending all of the hours of a particular day. This helps in planning days and helps to cut out the unnecessary work that one must avoid like randomly surfing Google or watching recommended Youtube videos or overusing social media. Teachers can also motivate students to make a to-do list which helps in planning the day.
Regular motivational sessions can help students from moving out of a monotonous environment which increases the interest of students in their work. Teachers can teach different techniques to study effectively, such as the Pomodoro technique which promotes taking a break of 5-10 minutes after every sitting of 40-45 minutes.
Teachers can also motivate students by providing personal feedback for every student which can help them feel important.
If a reward is associated with any task, the probability of completing that task would increase considerably. Teachers can reward students for completing their work which helps them get excited about the work(even small rewards like giving chocolates can give much better results).
Teachers can also teach students to reward themselves each time they complete a particular task like watching one episode of one’s favorite web series after completing a mathematics assignment.