I’ve been thinking for a while now about students and why some achieve when others do not. This is becoming increasingly important for the education sector with the government now focused on the outputs of education (i.e. how many students pass courses and qualifications). There are many challenges involved in raising completion rates and this requires balancing a lot of different factors.
I have developed the following idea, in pictorial form, that student success depends on three main areas:
Natural Ability – We all have different natural abilities and aptitudes. Something that is easy for one student may be extremely difficult for another.
Motivation – Even the most naturally talented person in any field, will not succeed if they choose not to engage in learning.
Learning Resources – Quality learning resources (and I’m including educators in this category) help students learn effectively.
Good educators provide (and are) quality learning resources. And by understanding any gaps in a students natural abilities they may be able to compensate for them. For example, with students (like myself) who have difficulty remembering lots of information but are good at pattern recognition, showing them patterns and teaching them mnemonics can compensate for lack of brute memory power.
Great educators are also able to motivate students, to find ways to keep a student learning even when it is difficult for them. This could involve getting them to visualise what success will lead to, or to relate the learning to something the student enjoys.
I’d be interested in what other educators think about this three factor view of student success. It’s an idea I’d like to develop further if possible.