One of my friend has posted this TED talk recently on her Facebook page. I enjoyed a lot by watching this talk. The procedure is the same as what I have been doing during my education from as early as primary school till today! It seems, almost all of us, if we don’t learn anything from education system, we are master and proficient in “procrastination.” There is a joke that says, we have no PhD graduates and no tenured professors without deadlines! God don’t get deadlines from us!
But the question is, why all of us, are used to procrastinate our tasks up to the last minutes? My question is how much of this behavior results because of the system?
Part of this behavior, I believe, can be explained by our education system. The education system cares only to outcome and not to procedure. The procedure does not matter for the system and the system does not reward people based on the procedure but it only praise them based on their outcome. I understand that there is a problem in most cases to identify the procedure, however, there are various conditions that the process can also be measured and rewarded. For instance, in primary education, students tend to attend in lecture based classes and they mostly evaluate based on test scores (midterms and finals). Students know this fact that their final grades depend only on their test scores and the learning process does not matter for teachers. In this situation, a rational behavior will be procrastinate your learning process for the tests’ nights. But what if the learning process is also matter? If instead of only tests scores, the students’ grades depend on the learning process, such as class participation, class activities, and projects that they have to do during a semester with weekly reports, then, we may expect students put efforts and times for their course not only at exams’ nights. Using online platforms such as class forum also can help students learn do their jobs on time instead of procrastinating them for last minutes. During higher education (college education and graduate school), instructors have more freedom to give more weights on learning process rather than sticking to test scores. However, I think the exercise should be started from the beginning of someone’s education. Paying attention to learning procedure just when a person enter to college is too late for changing in his/her behavior. I am aware of the fact that most of us, regardless of our education system, tend to procrastinate our duties based on “Parkinson’s Law.” This law simply said that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” however, I think with correct system that rewards the process rather than the outcome, we can alleviate the procrastination behavior. If we have a system that teaches us that life is a marathon not a sprint ( as Professor Duckworth told in her ted talk), then we learn to do our duties in a precise schedule rather than doing it at the 11:45 pm of the due date! I am not expertise in education policy but I believed we need to think about redesigning the current education system. In this current world, procrastination does not work and work has been done in last minutes does not have enough quality to solve our complicated problems. We need to learn to change our views and learn to be motivated and passion for our long term goals. This paradigm shift needs an educational system that teaches kids to be gritty and passion, to look at the whole life as a long procedure rather than district moments, and to do their exercises every day like a marathon runner!