York St John University (YSJU) and the National Association for Able Children in Education (NACE) have devised a range of learning resources to help children understand the impact of perfectionist traits.
The university and the charity are developing research and resources to help schools support students with perfectionist characteristics, led by the YSJU Motivation, Performance and Wellbeing (MPaW) research group.
The charity warns that more able students are more likely to be perfectionists, a trait which could lead them to put unrealistic demands on themselves and harshly criticise their work.
[Perfectionism] plays a significant role in determining student achievement and mental health – Prof Andrew P Hill, York St John University
The resources aim to help students understand the impact of perfectionist characteristics and differentiate perfectionism from “doing things well”. The resources also help students to know when to seek additional support if the detrimental aspects of these traits impacts their work in school.
“Perfectionism is an important issue for all schools – it plays a significant role in determining student achievement and mental health. We think all teachers should know what it is and be able to provide students with support,” says Prof Andrew P Hill from YSJU. “In working with NACE we hope to reach as many schools and students as possible.”
Rob Lightfoot, NACE chief executive, said: “Increasing students’ perfectionism literacy is so important. We know students with high levels of perfectionist characteristics can sometimes outperform their peers academically, but they find setbacks difficult to deal with. They are likely to be more anxious and worried, and generally more vulnerable to a range of mental wellbeing issues.”
The project began with a review of research relating to perfectionism and more able learners, published in the journal Educational Psychology Review in April 2021.