By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
Carol Wood

How to reach your academic potential!
By Carol C. Wood
Founder & CEO, Total Learning Concepts, Inc.

During my years of working with students, I have often been asked, “Why are there so many students in need of tutorial services? 

Are teachers doing a poor job or is the county curriculum lacking in quality?”  Having previously taught in the public schools and in industry and worked with literally thousands of students over the past 28 years in a tutorial environment, I have come to the conclusion that many students do not reach their academic potential due to a lack of proper study orientation, better known as study skills.  In order for students to reach their academic potential, it is critical that they have optimum study orientation.  Working harder is not as important as working smarter!

STUDY ORIENTATION =
Study Habits    
Work Methods   +  Delay Avoidance     
Study Attitudes
Teacher Approval + Educational Acceptance

STUDY ORIENTATION is comprised of two components; Study Habits and Study Attitudes.

Study Habits can be broken down into Work Methods and Delay Avoidance.  Study Attitudes consist of Teacher Approval and Educational Acceptance.  Work Methods are a student’s use of effective study procedures, efficiency of doing academic assignments, and methods of study used; such as techniques and strategies to take notes, listen, memorize information, and take tests, just to name a few.  Delay Avoidance is a student’s promptness in completing academic assignments, lack of procrastination, and freedom from wasteful delay and distractions; such as working and studying every day versus just the night before a test or assignment is due.  Teacher Approval is a student’s opinion of teachers, their classroom behavior and teaching methods; such as acclimating to and accepting a teacher’s style of instruction and personality.  Educational Acceptance is a student’s approval of educational objectives, practices, and requirements; such as accepting and abiding by a school’s policies and procedures, whether the student agrees with them or not.  In order for a student to have optimum study orientation, all of these areas are to be properly executed by the student.

To further describe the importance of good study orientation and what is necessary to enable students to reach their academic potential, I often refer to the three legs of a tripod.  One leg of the tripod represents previously taught academic concepts, another leg represents current course work, and the third leg represents good study orientation.  Regarding the first leg or previously taught academic concepts, in order for students to be successful on today’s course material, they must master the material presented in school during earlier months or school years so a solid foundation is formed.  Regarding the second leg of the tripod or current school material, students need to stay current with their school course work in order to further strengthen their academic foundation and earn good grades so as to lay the groundwork for a competitive GPA for college acceptance.  Lastly, regarding the third leg of the tripod or study orientation, this leg is often the one students neglect or forget and they shouldn’t!  When students have good study orientation, they are able to stay current with course material, learn more in less time, improve their retention of material, perform better on tests, improve their grades, and broaden their base of knowledge. 

Additionally, all three legs of the tripod will be in place so it will not topple over like it would with only two legs in place; rather stand on its own.  This analogy is representative of students who are caught up on previously taught material, proficient with current course material, and have solid study orientation so it is likely they will be able to work successfully and independently on their academics and reach their maximum potential.  If any three of these areas are neglected, it is probable that students will find themselves not reaching their potential or requiring assistance from a tutor or others year after year to make it through their course work.  If you want to change your child’s academic situation, then assess, repair and maintain all three areas mentioned to enable him or her to reach their academic potential!

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