Being challenged is crucial for development. It is how we learn and progress. It is also a balancing act. There has to be a limit to how demanding tasks can be; otherwise, there are risks of repeated failure, falling behind, and discouragement.
No doubt, being challenged helps us grow as people. We learn new skills, learn how to adapt, and perhaps develop new interests and talents. Being pushed too hard can be frustrating. Being repetitively pressed too hard can be downright disheartening. There is a constant feeling of pressure and stress that happens when students are pushed beyond their limits. Kids who are continuously stressed due to these challenges are more likely to become anxious and fear trying new things.
What causes a situation to be too challenging? Conditions may become problematic when we are not given the right tools to succeed. These tools can be in the form of many different things, such as instructions, time to learn a skill, being in the appropriate environment, and suitable material. Without these materials, kids will often turn to distractions or anything that will take them out of the moment to get relief from their situation.
Not challenging enough
When kids breeze through lessons, we often feel that they are good to go, and we shouldn’t worry too much about them. However, these kids are at risk of becoming disinterested and missing out on tapping into their full potential. Bored kids often become resourceful kids, finding anything to occupy their time and give their brains a much-needed workout. But being bored for too long at school can have more negative impacts the longer it persists. It may be easier to tell them to bear it and get through it, but when their achievements feel fruitless, they may start asking, “What’s the point?”
Creating challenging environments or lessons allows kids to flex their intuitive thinking and problem-solving skills. It will also give them something to be proud of achieving when they aren’t just flying through the lesson. It might not be feasible to create lesson plans on many levels, but offering additional activities or extra chances for enrichment can help keep any student engaged and reduce the chances of them becoming sedentary.
How we can help to achieve balance
The COSEC (Cognitive Orientation & Social-Emotional Competency) for kids is a unique personal aptitude tool developed specifically for kids under 13 years of age that follows the PCB (Perception Conception Behavior) model. The PCB model uses the individual’s view of the world (perception), how they process that information (conception), and how the relationship between the two influences an individual’s characteristics, traits, and preferences (behavior). This innovative new resource can give an in-depth view of not just how someone behaves but why.
The COSEC provides a comprehensive report detailing certain traits and preferences, including what causes stress, which environments help students thrive, and their focus level. Knowing these traits can help educators and parents understand what can cause challenges that overwhelm students, which situations or tasks can create boredom, and how to find that perfect middle ground. Reducing distractions and stress can help a student stay focused and work towards their goals.