Wednesday, July 15, 2015

How to Strengthen Your Student’s Success

In our last episode, we noted college officials’ comments regarding the increasing number of their students who do not ‘manage themselves’ well, i.e., time management, planning, rebounding from adversity, etc.

Here are five solutions to strengthen your high school or college student’s success:
1.      Dream often
2.      Negate nothing
3.      Celebrate failures
4.      Never accept “I just didn’t… (get it or get to it)”
5.      Explain and plan IN DEPTH & DETAIL.

DREAM OFTEN: too often, young people simply accept someone else’s thinking or some well-known person’s, i.e., a rock star or entertainer, or their parent’s suggestions, etc. To overcome that, the more they dream, the wider and broader their possibilities.

NEGATE NOTHING: negating anything shuts down thinking – and as you do listen to their thoughts, always follow up with a gentle, inquisitive, non-interrogating “why…?”  Why is that important, why do you think or say that, what led you to that, etc. Typically, this will instigate further thinking on their part – always a good thing!

CELEBRATE FAILURES: failure is the best teacher, far superior to success.  When failure or defeat occurs, explore what happened, strive to understand it, and “don’t lose the lesson.” If one accepts defeat as final, s/he has effectively quit.  But failing to learn from it wastes life!  No truly successful person has not failed – but they learn from their setbacks – and plan how to overcome them in the future.

NEVER ACCEPT “I JUST DIDN’T (GET IT OR GET TO IT)” - Either response avoids finding the cause.  “I just didn’t get to it” is a time management issue – strictly and totally a function of prioritization and decision-making.  One excellent approach: break the task into smaller units or blocks.  This increases the probability of success. 
“I just didn’t get it” – and giving up there – sidesteps learning what was to be learned.  If they ‘didn’t get it’ – explore, understand, go back to the teacher, find a tutorial, etc.  Carol Dweck, author of Mindset, would use the words “not yet” – meaning that learning isn’t complete yet, but not defeated – so the wisest approach is to keep at it.

Explain and plan IN DEPTH & DETAIL.  The teenage brain has an immense capacity to become confused and unable to balance differing non-equal factors in decision-making.  This is not simple ‘airheadedness’ – it’s due to the evolving but not yet completed maturation of their brain.  To overcome that, make no assumptions.  Spell out specifically what each action step is and what might happen if not performed. Then, ask him or her to explain back to you what actions they will take. You will be amazed at how often they missed an important detail.

And for further resources to assure and accelerate your student’s success, visit our website:

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

College Students Challenged Managing Themselves

Today’s college students are not well prepared in self-management and handling adversity.  Those are the trends seen by the chancellor of the State University of New York, the retired dean of students of Stanford University and local college professors. 

Further the University at Albany has recently appointed a vice-president of student success, tooversee and assist in creating a campus culture that promotes academic achievement and personal development for students.”  This new position and initiative inevitably came about to fill a weakness seen in today’s students.  These are not academic weaknesses – but rather how to lead, guide and manage themselves.

We’ve heard of helicopter parenting – parents hovering over their kids to prevent any negative circumstance harming them.  Whether or not you’re a helicopter parent, you do need to be aware of over-protecting your student(s) – at the expense of their future life success.

Failure is a necessary, even mandatory step toward success, as seen and reported by every truly successful person.  We hate to see it happen to our kids, but it’s a necessity.

But how does a parent know, and how can it be handled in a positive, constructive and learning way?  It often requires a significant shift or change in how you deal with these issues, perhaps even inviting or facilitating ‘failures’.

We’ll go into these issues in more depth with new week’s episode.
Steve Simons,