|Students fail to do well in college for a variety of reasons, and only one of them is lack of academic preparedness.
Factors such as personal autonomy, self-confidence, ability to deal with racism, study behaviors, or social competence have as
much or more to do with grades, retention, and graduation than how well a student
writes or how competent a student is in mathematics.
--Hunter R. Boylan, Director of the National Center for Developmental Education
The Challenge for Today's College
You know the problem. Many college students today fall far short of their
potential. Pass rates, especially in developmental and first-year courses, are
painfully low. The consequence is poor retention and declining graduation
rates. Everyone loses--students forfeit their dreams, faculty are
frustrated, and colleges scramble to improve retention.
No panacea exists, but educators Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner
offered a valuable insight when they wrote: "Good learners are good
learners precisely because they believe and do certain things that
less effective learners do not believe and do. And therein lies the key."*
But, just what is it that good learners believe and do?
And, how can educators get students to believe and do them? The On Course
Success Principles offer practical answers.
The On Course Success Principles
Synthesizing the best wisdom from innovators in psychology, education, business,
sports, and personal effectiveness, the On Course Success Principles represent eight of
the essential "things" that good learners believe and do. Founded on these timeless principles, the
On Course text and
the On Course Workshops give students and instructors alike a collection of
practical success tools.
By guiding students to adopt these principles and tools,
them to become effective partners in their own education, giving them the outer
behaviors and inner qualities to create greater success in college and in life.
Here are the eight On Course Success Principles:
CHOICES OF SUCCESSFUL STUDENTS
SELF-RESPONSIBILITY, seeing themselves as the primary cause of their
outcomes and experiences.
||1. ...see themselves as Victims, believing that
what happens to them is determined primarily by external forces such as fate, luck,
and powerful others.
SELF-MOTIVATION, finding purpose in their lives by discovering
personally meaningful goals and dreams.
||2. ...have difficulty sustaining
often feeling depressed, frustrated, and/or resentful about a lack of
direction in their lives.
SELF-MANAGEMENT, consistently planning and taking purposeful actions
in pursuit of their goals and dreams.
||3. ...seldom identify specific actions needed
to accomplish a desired outcome. And when they do, they tend to procrastinate.
INTERDEPENDENCE, building mutually supportive relationships that help
them achieve their goals and dreams (while helping others to do the same).
||4. ...are solitary, seldom requesting, even
rejecting offers of assistance from those who could help.
SELF-AWARENESS, consciously employing behaviors, beliefs, and
attitudes that keep them on course.
||5. ...make important choices unconsciously,
being directed by self-sabotaging habits and outdated life scripts.
LIFE-LONG LEARNING, finding valuable lessons and wisdom in nearly
every experience they have.
||6. ...resist learning new ideas and skills,
viewing learning as fearful or boring rather than as mental play.
|7. ...DEVELOP EMOTIONAL
INTELLIGENCE, effectively managing their emotions in support of
their goals and dreams.
||7. ...live at the
mercy of strong emotions such as anger, depression, anxiety, or a need for
IN THEMSELVES, seeing themselves capable, lovable, and unconditionally
worthy as human beings.
||8. ...doubt their
competence and personal value, feeling inadequate to create their desired
outcomes and experiences.
How do your students rate in these eight principles of human
They can take an on-line
self-assessment to find out. (And so, of course, can you.)
The On Course Instructional Principles
On Course Workshops model current
understandings of how meaningful learning occurs. As such, they are designed to
engage learners in the active construction of knowledge. Instructional
methods in the workshop demonstrate how educators can address the varied learning styles of
today's students. The
workshops are guided by the following instructional principles:
learning primarily as a result of what they think, feel, and do (and
less so by what their instructors say and do). Consequently, in
formal education, the deepest learning is provided by a well-designed
The most effective
learners are empowered learners, those characterized by self-responsibility,
self-motivation, self-management, interdependence, self-awareness, life-long
learning, emotional intelligence, and high self-esteem.
the intersection of a well-designed educational
experience and an empowered learner lies the opportunity for deep and
transformational learning and the path to success--academic, personal, and professional.
The On Course Instructional Principles are
antithetical to the beliefs that the instructor's primary role is to profess knowledge
and that what the teacher speaks is what the student learns. Consequently, On
Course Workshops have
much to offer educators who seek innovative ways to engage students in active
them to relinquish learned passivity or defiance and once again become
and empowered partners in their own education and growth.
*Neil Postman and Charles Weingarter. Teaching as a
Subversive Activity. Dell. 1969.
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