Interaction with learners

The importance of teaching ambition – OpEd – Eurasia Review

In a recent discussion, I heard the question, “why do some succeed while others do not?” Ambition is a very important factor. Success is having positive results on the accomplishment of a goal. This desire to succeed is a trait found in most ambitious people. But can we teach ambition? The answer is yes; by stimulating this innate motivation in each of us, we encourage and encourage ambition. Identifying and promoting students’ self-interest and the benefits of ambition leads to greater engagement among graduates who will seek more in education for more success in life.

What is ambition?

Ambition is a strong desire to do or achieve something; it is a desire and a determination to succeed.) Every child is born with a natural curiosity and develops their brain and abilities through it. A child watches and tries to copy as he learns the behavior of everyone and everything around him. Success comes from seizing the opportunities presented by ambition.
But ambition is both positive and negative. With a positive ambition, the person and the society benefit from it. With negative ambition, the person is selfish and greedy, and society suffers.

Why is this a concern?

There are many opportunities for students to be successful, but few are seized and even fewer reach their full potential.
Start-ups and successful businesses succeed because founders are motivated to succeed. This ambition is stimulated and nurtured by families and schools (mainly outside Thailand).
Some international schools in Thailand place great importance on ambition. This disparity in school approaches partly explains why some families seem to be successful; Expectations and ambition begin at home. Therefore, schools must foster and develop the ambition that is already there and instill it when it is not.

Many Thai students seem to choose the first option presented or do as asked, and rote learning continues. Or they wait for someone else to take charge and bullies take advantage of it back to school. Yet when things go wrong, they blame someone else. The teacher is too hard, cannot teach and so on, even if the student has not read the class materials, prepared in advance, or done the required work. When in the workplace, they don’t accept any responsibility because they just follow what their supervisor or boss has told them. There is little will to do more.

Many countries encourage ambition, hence their academic and professional success. Americans boast, “If you have a dream, you can be successful here with hard work. Ambition in the workplace has changed as the pandemic redefines success. However, ambition is still seen as an essential trait in the workplace.

What can be done?

We must ask ourselves why ambition should be taught. Family life, and life in general, has changed. Thus, education needs to be more holistic as developmental gaps previously filled outside of school may no longer receive the attention they need.

Simply urge learners to ask, “If someone else can do it, why can’t I?” »Contributes to the learning process. Schools should encourage students to ask questions about things around them. Research shows that boosting early ambitions leads to career success. Questioning builds awareness, stimulates curiosity, and hopefully inspires learners to do more, explore and push their limits.

Ambitions require interaction. Schools should provide examples for students to follow. Some of these interactions are already happening with exchange and international students. But more needs to be done. For example, in 2018, while teaching at another university in Bangkok, I conducted a group interview with international students. They mentioned that most Thai students weren’t interested in interacting as it meant using English. English was the second language for many of these visiting students, but Thai students preferred to engage only when international students wanted to practice Thai. To be successful and ambitious, students should seek interaction with various people, disciplines and languages ​​in order to seek opportunities to improve themselves.

The continued identification and maintenance of individual motivation (and self-interest) helps students to think more about what can be achieved.

Can you teach ambition?

But how do you teach ambition? Critical thinking, curiosity, engagement, learning methods based on projects, concepts or just active learning methods are all part of the toolbox. There isn’t just one way to teach ambition. We start by educating about the environment through reading, observation, exploration and constructive discussions. Then we encourage questioning. Asking the questions of – why is it, what else can we do, how others do it, that’s all and so on. We can also show how things can change by using small class projects outside of the classroom, such as community projects. Possibly share these results at inter-school and national competitions or public relations events. Create an environment where students become aware of all the options, participate fully and act on their curiosity to become more ambitious. Schools need to be open labs of exploration so that students are encouraged to succeed in the way that works best for them.

Example of how ambition can work

In the aftermath of COVID-19, some higher education students have been pressured to be more curious. Scholarships are increasingly sought after, although an accessible national database is lacking. Students are not fully aware of the different scholarships offered at various universities. The opportunity exists for these ambitious students to create a database and use the database as a launching pad for entrepreneurship. Parents and students will benefit. Opportunities abound for the ambitious.

Call to action

Ambition is a natural capacity that family, school and culture help to nurture. Working hard is good, but combining that hard work with ambition can lead to even better results. Therefore, schools need to play a greater role in identifying, nurturing and developing student ambition by creating an environment and programs that support motivated individuals and encourage others.

If Thai students are more ambitious, society will benefit from the growth of innovation, achievement and opportunity.

In the words of US Senator Bill Bradley, “Ambition is the road to success. Persistence is the vehicle in which you arrive.

* Dr. Mariano Carrera, Lecturer, Dhonburi Rajabhat University, Bangkok, Thailand