Gales view - 3rd April 2013
The latest education buzzword is, apparently, mindfulness”. Mindfulness will, it seems, remove the anxiety from the mind and allow the examination participant to concentrate clearly on the matter in hand with stunning results. Or words to that effect.
It is rather longer than I care to acknowledge since I sat, first, O-level exams and, subsequently, A-levels and managed to scrape together enough passes in the right subjects to enable me to go to the college of my choice and to gain a qualification that, in all honesty, I have never used since. That said, what I learned at college has seen me in good stead and I recognise the importance, for many young people, of the events that will take place within the next few weeks.
While many are enjoying an Easter break and looking forward to a Summer term that will, hopefully, offer some sunshine there are others sitting in darkened rooms poring over books and notes and computers and chewing the end off pencils while trying to engage brains to take and pass exams. It may be a while back now but I, like most of us who have headed into the examination halls at some time or another, can still vividly recall the have I done enough” self-flagellation of the process and the if only I had paid more attention earlier” feeling that comes with last-minute swotting in a hopeless attempt to turn back the tide of time and to try to do today what ought to have been done yesterday and in the preceding weeks and months.
If mindfulness”, which seems to be a sort of mental yoga, can help the process, then so be it. For the rest of us less-academic mere mortals it is likely, as always, to be a combination of affectionate and dedicated teaching, some absorption of the subject matter in the classroom, frantic revision and luck that will deliver the results. So to all those who are spending the run-up to the approaching examination season with cold towels around their heads, and with those charged with the duty of trying to ensure that their young families receive a sufficient intake of food and sleep, the best of good fortune. By mid-summer it will, for good or ill, be behind you – and that, at least, has to be something to look forward to!