Delayed gratification pays off

This article by Håvard Tjora discusses inter alia the negative effects of children’s lacking abilities to delay gratification and how this can impact behaviour in the digital classroom – definitely interesting reading! Tjora describes how the presence of apps, games and social media in the classroom tend to interrupt teaching and learning – simply by being infinitely more attractive than “English vocabulary, the feudal system and algebra”.

Furthermore, research has shown that lacking ability (or willingness?) to delay gratification adversely impacts both academic results, job opportunities and health, emphasizing the need for learning self-regulation.

9563908_c1ccd68c21_zSelf-regulation, willpower and resisting temptation? Wow, that’s kinda hard, if you ask me!

In light of the fact that many adults seem to lack this skill altogether, spending much time on e.g. FaceBook during an ordinary workday, it might not be an altogether easy task to teach pupils the benefits of postponing rewards until the task at hand has been done. How teachers are to manage temptations and distractions in the classroom and teach pupils to stay focused definitely requires reflection and insight into the human psyche. New technologies and opportunities ought to make us more efficient, but in many cases the opposite seems to be the case.

Lai, Ryanne. Temptation. Downloaded 2 May 2016. Online image. Retrieved from

Tjora, H. (2 May 2016) Konsentrasjonsøvelse. In Dagbladet Magasinet


One thought on “Delayed gratification pays off

  1. This is very understandable indeed and it’s a challenge. When I want their attention in the classroom, I use the prompt: “Eyes in the room”. They understand what that means. This is a strategy which works and make them look at me, but I still haven’t found out how to make individual work unphased by the digital temptations.


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