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Determination seems important! All kidding aside, the most important thing a child needs to succeed is the willingness to do the work. There are specific strategies that AVID requires that increase the workload beyond basic assignments. Some kids resent this extra work, but once they realize its benefit they will be AVID students!
Motivation is key. Study skills, organization, note taking can all be taught, but to succeed in an AVID program or any program for that matter, one must committed. AVID helps students who have academic potential to achieve that potential, but a teacher's hands are tied, if the student has no desire to learn, wants to sleep in class, or has no ambition in life. Motivation is what makes a student rise above average and what sets him or her apart from others who may be more talented or skilled. Teachers at an AVID school should be able to assume that the students are motivated to reach their academic goals. It is their job to help those students reach these goals with whatever skills they might possess.
It seems to me a level of commitment beyond the average would certainly be an advantage for those in this program. With that plus the determination and skills mentioned above, any student will be successful. Without these things, an advanced program is just a series of letters without much effect. Finishing what we start is key to success in every field of endeavor; sadly, it's not as common a characteristic as it once was. To me, tough, it's the separator between those who really achieve and those who just get by and maintain at "average."
In the students I have seen go through the AVID program and work well into life, I noted 4 defining characteristics:
- ORGANIZATION: In classes, you must be able to take information and put it in places you can easily get back to. In real life, if you can't find the documentation for a particular account for a client, you have just sunk your ability to work with them again. Organization includes the abilities to prioritize and categorize.
- NOTE-TAKING: Often in AVID, teachers work quickly to teach a few different skills, note-taking is one of them. This ability gives students the chance to take what teachers verbally express and refer back to it later. We remember about 5% of what we hear. When we review information we retain information.
- STUDY SKILLS: Speaking of reviewing information, there are several ways to do that, creating acronyms is one of them. In the workplace, before I interview for a job, I try to learn as much as I can so I can fit their school. I answer questions knowing their mission and vision. This takes me hours to know, but I have had as many jobs as interviews.
If we examine the acronym, the answer might be present. The idea of "Achievement Via Individual Determination" is a powerful concept in helping to determine one's success in school. The idea of being able to commit oneself to a particular goal, a particular end, is something that requires discipline and sense of dignity to be able to see something to its natural end. In this light, I think that one can see how individual determination plays a vital role or ingredient in this formula for success. The personal characteristics that one has much be aligned with this determination for success. If it's not there, then the chances for success will be lessened. In the end, it seems to me that being able to carry within oneself the will to do what is necessary to find success and make the personal commitment to both that end and the means to achieve it are needed ingredients for success.
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