I got 101% !!!

Posted: November 13, 2012 in flash cards, Organization, study skills, Time management
Tags: , ,

Yep, that wasn’t a typo. That is the response I received when I passed one of my students in the hall and asked how his last test went: “I got 101%!” I have to admit, it was an unexpected response that stopped me in my tracks. This young man was taking a particular math class for the third time. I could tell he was a smart guy, but he was mostly lacking the self-discipline he needed to make satisfactory progress. I told him what I thought, and I asked him to meet with me once a week so that we could work on developing several vital study skills. In our visits, I showed him how to keep a planner, manage his time, set up a study plan for tests, and a new way to take math notes. He took those skills and ran with them, and was now surpassing the goal he stated to me a few months ago to “just pass the class!”

Juxtapose this situation with another student coming in the program. Ronald was also taking a math class. He had failed it once before, and his immediate goal was the same as Josh’s; He just wanted to pass the class. A few days ago, Ronald dropped by my office. “Hey, I just want you to know I dropped that math class. I was still failing.” What was the difference between this student and Josh? Both students received the exact same services in our program. However, Ronald attended study skills sessions begrudgingly. Every time I tried to coach him through using a new kind of study tool he would say, “But that won’t work because…” He would meet with his tutor every week, but he didn’t do much of anything on his own between tutoring sessions. When I asked him why he wasn’t implementing the skills he learned from me, or practicing what the tutor taught him on his own, he would say, “Because all I need is for my tutor to explain things to me again.” Ronald thought he knew what he needed, but his current methods were leading to failure. The bottom line is, he was resistant to change.

20121113-112327.jpgUnfortunately, I see more students like Ronald than Josh. It is frustrating because I sense that most of these students are fully capable of achieving success, They just haven’t reached the point where they are ready to change anything. This is especially true if we are asking them to put more time and effort into a class they hate and didn’t want to take in the first place. I’ve been there…. I have to admit that I really didn’t want to take Spanish when I was working on my associate’s degree. But, I was able to get through Spanish I without too much trouble. When I started Spanish II, I despised verb conjugation. I didn’t really “get it”. I began to struggle, big time. I had to meet with a tutor. I had to take Spanish flash cards with me everywhere I went, even when I took my daily walk. I had to write and rewrite verb conjugation charts from memory. In the end, I got an “A”. And believe me, it isn’t because I was smart, it was because I realized that the methods I used in Spanish I weren’t going to work for Spanish II. Sometimes, you just have to be willing to change, and that willingness can be the bridge between failure and success.

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