Saturday, February 23, 2008

Faith and Expectations

Do u know that Denmark has been rated by a survey as the Happiest Country in the World?

According to video that I watched on the American Program '60 minutes', America ranks 23th, with countries Canada and Costa Rica beating it!

What's the secret behind a country with a population of 5.5 million people?

According to the program, it could be because the people have low expectations! After all, this is the country where we get the story about 'The Little Mermaid', where we are educated about unrequited love.

Personally, I would not advocate that! Being a person of faith, I believe in having a dream and a Vision. Just like what the Bible says, I believe that without a vision, man will perish! In fact, I believe that words and actions have a profound effect on students!

According to a study done by a Harvard Psychologist called Robert Rosenthal done in the 1960s, we see the relevance of expectations.

In his study, he found out that when teachers expect the students to do well, they do. Conversely, the reverse is true as well.

Talking point
The psychologist just took 20 ordinary students and labelled some 'intelligent' (Ok, he may have lied to the the teachers) and told the teachers that they showed 'unusual potential for intellectual growth'.

True enough, all the students labelled as 'intelligent' showed significantly better results compared to their peers who did not receive this special recognition. (Hint-So better not let your friends call u stupid!)

Further findings showed that if teachers expect the children to succeed, they will behave in ways to reinforce their expectations.

For instance, if a student considered to be bright is unable to answer a question posed, the teacher is more likely to support him, help him think about the problem and eventually arrive at the correct answer.

In contrast, if a teacher were to pose a question to a child whom he perceives as having no potential, and the latter is unable to answer it, the teacher is more likely to move on to another student.

Prof Rosenthal said , a teacher must check his own presumptions. And if he does not believe in a student's capacity to learn, he has no business being that student's teacher. Wow! Strong words indeed.

How does this relate to the Happiness Country in the World Study?

Towards the end of the program, they interviewed a few Danish Youths. Even though surprised with the study (About them being the Happiest nation), they gave a few pointers as to why they ended up on top:

  1. They were happy to stay in Denmark, as the country offered them a comfortable life. The undergraduate remarked that money was not everything in life! This is in stark contrast to the 'Amercian Dream' where u must be a millionaire to be a success!
  2. Find a job that u are passionate about!
  3. They believe in having high hopes, but not getting too disappointed when it does not come to pass.

That's a great point! We must continue to dream and dream BIG! But, we also allow know that DREAMS don't come free! They will cost us something, and that there will be many trials along the way.

If we can manage our expectations and realise that we may face some difficulties along the way, we will be able to stay in this race & be in it for the LONG RUN!

2 tim 6:6

Now Godliness godliness with contentment is great gain


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