Nurturing Academic Success: Responding to What Students Want
What do Students Want? – Being in this field for almost 20 years, I have realized that many times, students are very clear about what they don’t want, but confused about what actually they want. Sounds absurd, but it is true. The idea of a clearly defined career path and job for life is outdated.
Some individuals lament that there are no perfect possibilities and that all the possibilities have some “tragic flaw.” Others say, “Nothing looks interesting,” or, “I’m interested in so many things, I don’t know how I can possibly focus on any direction.” In other words, it is a challenge to identify what students want. Before we understand what students want, let’s understand what they do not want.
• Students do not want conventional jobs /careers; as they want to do something different. This leads to unnecessary confusion and loss of opportunities.
• The fear of committing to a single career as they fear monotony; they are not sure how long will their interest last. Since the need to ‘live’ life fully is greater, we find students not willing to take up a specific career.
• They do not want to take up jobs/careers which their parents did; they do not like to be labeled as someone who is doing age-old jobs. They want something cool and trendy; which in most cases is confined to only fancy designations and not the actual job profile.
So what do students exactly want? Most students want a life that gives them a sense of fulfillment and enjoyment. They need a job that gives them a lifestyle and not just take care of monthly bills. Hence, we have observed they generally make a paradoxical choice; for instance:
• They want challenging work but not too strenuous
• They need a great salary, but the work pressure and stakes should not be high.
• They want to do something different but lack the patience and potential to achieve it.
• They want to be independent leaders but lack the confidence to take risks.
• They need jobs that are fun-oriented in casual environments and at leadership roles, which is not the case in reality.
• They need flexibility and freedom in their jobs but also want regular income growth.
• They want jobs that will allow them to travel and explore more but do not want the work to be very demanding or require them to upgrade every time.
Given this background, it will be fair enough to say that we have a confused generation. We need students to start focusing more on their skills, and potential and align it with their interests and responsibilities [financial & family] to make career choices.
They must also consider expectations from the job and know the ‘real’ challenges involved. Finally, a student needs to be aware that it is not the profile that makes a person interesting, but the person who makes the profile interesting.
Frequently Asked Questions For What Students Want
1. Why is understanding what students want important?
Understanding students’ wants helps educators and institutions tailor educational experiences, support systems, and resources to meet their needs and enhance learning outcomes.
2. What are some common things students want from their education?
Students often want engaging and interactive classes, supportive and approachable teachers, relevant and practical curriculum, opportunities for skill development, and a positive learning environment.
3. How can educators create engaging and interactive classes?
Educators can use a variety of teaching methods, incorporate multimedia and technology, encourage discussions, and provide hands-on activities to make classes more engaging.
4. What makes a teacher supportive and approachable to students?
Supportive teachers show genuine interest in students’ well-being, provide guidance, offer open communication, and create an environment where students feel comfortable asking questions.
5. Why is a relevant and practical curriculum important to students?
A curriculum that aligns with real-world applications and addresses current challenges gives students a sense of practicality and prepares them for success in their chosen careers.
6. How can educational institutions provide opportunities for skill development?
Institutions can offer workshops, internships, co-op programs, and extracurricular activities that allow students to develop practical skills relevant to their field of study.
7. What contributes to a positive learning environment?
A positive environment includes respectful interactions, a sense of belonging, diverse perspectives, inclusivity, and an emphasis on collaboration rather than competition.
8. Are students looking for personalized learning experiences?
Yes, students appreciate personalized learning that takes into account their individual learning styles, paces, and interests, allowing them to maximize their potential.
9. What role does technology play in meeting student wants?
Technology can enhance learning through online resources, interactive platforms, virtual labs, and remote collaboration, providing flexibility and access to a wealth of information.
10. Do students value extracurricular activities and social opportunities?
Yes, extracurricular activities, clubs, and social events contribute to a well-rounded educational experience and help students build networks and connections.
11. How can institutions address mental health and well-being, a growing concern among students?
12. Are students interested in sustainability and social responsibility?
Yes, many students are passionate about issues like sustainability, social justice, and community involvement. Incorporating these values into the curriculum can be appealing.
13. Can institutions gather feedback from students to improve their offerings?
Absolutely, institutions can regularly collect feedback through surveys, focus groups, and open communication channels to continually improve the educational experience.
14. What are some challenges in aligning educational offerings with what students want?
Challenges may include limited resources, outdated teaching methods, resistance to change, and the need to balance traditional education with evolving student needs.
15. How can educators and institutions stay updated on evolving student preferences?
Engaging in regular communication with students, staying connected with educational trends, attending conferences, and collaborating with peers can help educators remain informed.
Understanding and addressing what students want fosters an environment where education is not just a means to an end, but a transformative and enriching experience. By listening to student voices and adapting educational strategies accordingly, institutions can create a learning journey that empowers students and prepares them for success in their chosen paths.