Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga shared her plan to "reboot and rebuild the basic education system" earlier this year.
Among the strategies the minister hopes to implement to make up for lost learning was psychosocial support.
For Mark Smith, principal of Westerford High School in Cape Town, the mental toll the pandemic has had on pupils has been undeniable.
He added that the need for additional support is undoubtedly essential for ensuring learners "regain their academic momentum".
"Our pupils were resilient, and most seemed to cope with the changes that happened regularly; however, a number were adversely affected," Smith said.
'Positive and successful mindsets'
While the minister did not elaborate on the specific way psychosocial support would be applied in schools, Candice Preston proposes life coaching as one of the best supportive tools for school-going children.
"This beneficial tool needs to be accessible for the learners in our country," the teacher and school sports coach told us, adding that life coaching is especially powerful for confidence-building and creating achievement-based mindsets.
"If our learners are more confident in themselves and their abilities, if they are better able to set and achieve goals and if they can cultivate positive and successful mindsets, they will be more successful in life".
Reduced stress levels and improved academic performance
Preston hopes to give teens and young adults the upper hand as early as possible with her new book, Unlocking Your Superpowers – Keys to achieving success in school and beyond.
Inspired by her Master's research, which investigated the benefits life coaching had on high school pupils, particularly young girls, Preston says she's seen the positive impact life coaching can have on pupils.
From her research, Preston found that after being exposed to life-coaching, pupils experienced:
- Reduced stress levels
- Improved academic performance
- A more positive mindset
- Increased self-confidence
- New perspectives
- Increased confidence in their ability to overcome challenges
- Increased motivation in working towards achieving goals
'We need to give them all the tools they need'
The author says that mental support, in whatever form it takes, is vital now, given that life has become so much more demanding in ways that even adults do not fully comprehend.
"In order to help prepare them properly so that they survive, thrive, and make this world more effective, we need to give them all the tools they need".
We asked the author for her top tips to help teens pave their way to success. Here she provides insight to help them attain a success-orientated mindset.
Be aware of your mindset
Learn to create a mindset that serves you. Your mindset is your greatest superpower because everything starts in your mind.
This includes changing the way you speak to yourself.
Don't believe every thought you think
Most of us tend to speak quite harshly to ourselves. We are always listening and believing what we say. Teens should not believe every thought they think but choose what to believe. They should question their thoughts and then choose which thoughts will serve them.
This is not just about thinking positively but about thinking in such a way that they build themselves up. Too often they tell themselves they cannot do it and therefore never try.
Teen years are tough
I remember being a teen and being overwhelmed by my emotions. So much of our misery is self-created by what we are thinking.
I wanted teens to understand that they may experience intense emotions when they are younger but that it will pass, things will get better, and they can overcome anything that comes their way.
Build strong connections
It is very easy to create surface-level relationships, but true connection comes from really listening to others and working to see the world through their eyes.
Teens should build strong connections with people and grow a good network early on. Not only can this network be a source of great learning, inspiration and joy, but it can also be a source of great opportunities in their lives.
Action is the only way to see results
For most of us, we know what we should do, but we don't move into action. We know we should save more money, eat healthier food, spend more time with our family, watch less TV, but we do not always move into action.
That is why I include coaching throughout the book to empower my readers to take action and achieve success sooner in their lives.
Stop trying to please everyone and fit
Teens need to understand that what others think about them is not as important as what they think about themselves. Also, most people are not thinking about them anyway. Most people are too busy projecting their own ideas onto others.
Ironically, when we stop trying to please everyone and fit into their moulds, they like us more because we live true to ourselves. When we live authentically, we are happier and make those around us feel that they, too, can be whoever they want to be.
Ultimately this is your life
It is important to be true to who you are. I know, easier said than done.
If you spend most of your time pursuing other people’s goals or making decisions focused on what others will think, it will leave you feeling unfulfilled and miserable. This is a lesson many adults learn later in life, and I want teens to know this sooner.
Share your stories and questions with us via email at email@example.com. Anonymous contributions are welcome.
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