Peer Pressure and Students’ Perception of It
- October 13, 2017
- Posted by: Yorktown Education Team
- Category: Discovery Learning
While learning is the main reason students go to school, it’s not always their highest priority. Friends’ opinions and perspectives rank high with most students, even if they don’t openly own up to it.
Peer pressure is considered by most people to be just part of the social learning curve, but new studies shed light on how it can have a negative effect on students’ decisions about education.
In a study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, economists reviewed two different types of peer groups:
- The Cool to be Smart group
- The Smart to be Cool group
The Cool to be Smart group expressed interest in academics and were the higher achievers willing to work hard to realize their goals – the classic school standouts. But they were reluctant for their peers to know they might seek help to excel.
The Smart to be Cool group saw things like SAT prep as overstating their interest in education and would thereby cause their peers to see them as less cool and consequently unpopular.
It’s eye-opening to know that peer pressure can be perceived so differently depending upon the students’ values and what matters most to them. Helping students better understand the importance of an investment in their educational future, such as an SAT prep course, is a challenge shared by teachers and parents.
Probably the best way to work through such a challenge is to have open conversations about what your student (child) wants to pursue. At this stage of development, if they have not yet zeroed in on “doing what they love” it may take a bit more dialogue.
At Yorktown Education we rarely have the problem of our students ‘not’ knowing what they love to do. That’s because our philosophy is “Do What You Love” and we encourage them through every stage of learning to ‘do what you love’. We’ve learned that when students are passionate about learning, some of the obstacles, both social and academic, fall away, although not completely and not in every case.
Peer pressure can be a real stigma when it is allowed to go unmanaged. It should not be ignored. It’s a very real menace to many students and can exert a negative influence on healthy learning.