Educational Spaces 21. Open up!
on-line course


Module 4. Fear is your enemy

Researchers say that students are more motivated when they feel that they can do what is expected of them. They see a connection between the effort they put and the achievements they are able to make. They appreciate the importance and usefulness of the things they learn and they think that lessons, teachers, peers and the school help them learn.

There is also a lot of evidence documenting the fact that when students experience negative emotions, such as fear, embarrassment, sadness, anger, hopelessness or resentment, they cannot concentrate on learning and are unable to work efficiently.

Both research and our life experience show that students are sensitive to criticism and failure, and that they can be easily hurt and discouraged from learning. It is also claimed that at least some part of school failures results from fear of being unsuccessful regardless of the effort. Students prefer not to even try than make an effort and be evaluated poorly. Besides, teachers are also sensitive to failure. They really worry about what they do and how students, parents or colleagues treat them, even if they won’t admit it.


An open school is a place where you can freely talk about your weaknesses or sadness; where you can find consolation and understanding. In such a school we can find support for those who are on sick leave, organise charity actions and, most of all see that everyone cares about other members of the school community and their wellbeing. It is best if everyone can be part of both sides: a person in need and the person that provides support. Such situations arise often enough to become a part of the general atmosphere of the class, and the school as a whole.

What is special about the open school is that it encourages cooperation. Group work can be organised here at all levels: between students, teachers, in cooperation with the parents and the whole local community.
This school rejects individualised work and competing with everyone by means of which the child is supposed to show that they are better than others and this makes parents proud. Teacher are also not separate unit – they talk to one another about their teaching methods, share their problems, engage in joint projects and learn from one another.

This sharing approach is implemented both in class and in the staff room.

In this way, the school ceases to exist as a closed, guarded tower. Parents are always welcome and invited to join student undertakings, often asked for their opinion on school matters or for help.