Reasons why at Agora Portals International School we educate in the value of effort
Without effort there are no results and in order to achieve goals, hard work, perseverance and tenacity are key. For this reason, at Agora Portals International School we emphasize the value of effort as an educational pillar.
We want our students to achieve academic, professional and personal success, helping them to reach their goals in an international context. We encourage our students to think independently and to conduct their own learning, focusing on educational innovation, high academic performance and personalized attention. Our educational project is demanding, for the students and for the entire teaching staff, because being demanding implies effort and involvement and it is the only way to excel.
When a student has difficulties, the school provides personalized attention and support programs to try to motivate, encourage and accompany him or her on the road to self-improvement, but on that road, effort and the desire to overcome obstacles are key.
“Education does not change the world: it changes the people who are going to change the world,” said Paulo Freire, one of the most renowned pedagogue of the 20th century. The goal of education is a wonderful objective, but the road is not easy and perseverance is essential to reach it.
Some experts believe that we do not always transmit to children and adolescents the importance and the need to make an effort to achieve things, the work involved, but the satisfaction that comes from obtaining the results of the effort made: “The culture of effort has been lost. There has been a time of bonanza in which we have given our children everything without telling them what it costs to achieve these things”, says Pedro García Aguado, a consultant and mediator expert in adolescent misbehavior and in the prevention and treatment of addictive behaviors, also known for being a former water polo player and presenter of the television program “Hermano Mayor” (Big Brother). In life very few things are achieved without effort, so it is essential to instill this value from childhood, because if we do not do it, the frustration and sense of failure will be greater when we reach adulthood.
How to instill the importance of effort?
- Setting an example: we cannot demand effort if adults do not set an example. In our center teachers are highly prepared and specialized, they participate in training projects to keep them in a continuous learning process and master the latest educational solutions. All our teachers participate in workshops and conferences to strengthen their knowledge and skills in subjects such as Emotional Intelligence, New Technologies or Assertive Discipline.
- The demand becomes self-demand, but it must be regulated: When we want to instill the value of effort, there is also a certain demand to motivate or encourage children and adolescents in their improvement process, but we must know how to set limits and ensure their well-being: “If the demand is in accordance with the abilities and interests of the child and from home there is a reasonable and balanced awareness, and they are encouraged in the task, the performance will become optimal, but it will be counterproductive if these variables are not given,” comments Àngel Casajús, pedagogue and professor of Didactics of Experimental Sciences and Mathematics at the University of Barcelona. This same expert also defends the concept of “authoritative” and explains that these are parents who “are demanding but contemplate the needs and concerns of children and adolescents and, although they are firm in their rules, they promote open communication where capacities, interests, motivations and aptitudes are calibrated, so that they demand as much as the child can perform”. At Agora Portals International School we offer personalized attention and try to bring out the best in each student, so we pay special attention to their needs, abilities and aptitudes.
- Short-term goals and objectives to focus on: it is important that goals are set in the short term, so that they can be seen as achievable and the student is motivated and strives to achieve them.
- Positive view of failure: when we make an effort to achieve something and it does not work the first time, it is not a failure, because self-improvement implies trying, making mistakes and learning. To this end, students must be taught to be open to change and to understand that after the effort comes the reward: “Children must know that effort brings a reward. On the one hand, we have the recognition of the group, which encourages us because we have done something well. But the other part is even more important: personal recognition. Children are aware of their abilities and are proud of themselves when they know they have made an effort and done something well,” says Beatriz Lucaya, a UIC doctor in Social Sciences.
- Willingness and motivation: effort goes hand in hand with these two other key concepts, because without them, self-improvement is not possible. Students learn more and better when they are motivated, their work is stimulating and has an appropriate level of challenge, that is why our students have at their disposal motivating, interactive and experiential methods: the basis of our concept of learning to learn. The teacher’s job is to motivate and guide the educational development so that students find solutions to the problems posed by themselves, acquiring essential skills such as communication or teamwork and building their own knowledge to help them cope in the real world.
- Collaborative learning: teamwork is the basis of collaborative learning. In each work team, students get involved and participate actively: they are all responsible for the work to achieve a common goal, putting their knowledge into practice while acquiring values such as responsibility, teamwork or empathy. They learn to make an effort because their work and the development of their responsibilities affect the group and the community they are part of.
- Critical thinking: “learning to learn” is an effort in itself. In order to improve and better oneself, it is not only necessary to make an effort, but also to have critical thinking and to develop and work on it from childhood. Researching, analyzing, evaluating and creating, developing one’s own ideas is part of the process.
- Feedback: in order to improve we all need to learn from our mistakes and be able to continue our efforts to change what we have failed to do, so it is important to provide students with feedback on their learning, ranging from correction and analysis of assignments or observation in the classroom to conversations with students.
- Sport and languages as models of effort: language learning is a basic pillar in our educational project and is a great example of what can be achieved with effort: “Although learning a language at any age is an effort, doing it from a young age will make this learning much easier, as the plasticity of children’s brains is greater. Each new experience creates new synaptic connections and using these connections on a daily basis makes them stronger”, assures Carmen Serra, Infant Coordinator, Psychologist and Head of Pastoral and Therase Jenkinson, tutor of 4th grade Infants. With this culture of effort from childhood, great results can be seen: “Scientific research shows us that language learning improves social and emotional communication. Their minds are opened to a globalized world. Learning a second language at an early age will make it much easier to learn a third or fourth language. The pronunciation of a language will be better the earlier it is learned, since the ear and the ability to reproduce new sounds are more prepared at an early age. In addition, there are multiple cognitive benefits related to improving the ability to memorize, reasoning, etc.,” explains Serra. Sport is another great pillar in our center and its practice teaches effort, spirit of self-improvement and struggle.
“There is no gain without pain” we keep this wise phrase from the popular proverb. The sooner we learn the value of effort; the sooner we will understand that it is necessary to reach our goals.