Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Untapped Potential

"Ignogti nulla cupido" - Ovid (We don't desire that which we do not know.)

In the Washington Post, Jay Matthews comments on the spectacular rise in AVID programs - programs offering advanced / college prep classes to average-achieving students in assocition with encouragement and training in practical study skills to increase the likelihood of success.

The data look good:

The program has higher pass rates in advanced math classes, AP courses, and college acceptances. There does seem to be an amazing amount of human potential that goes wasted. The 7 UP series is still on our minds because we decided that it might be a interesting thing to watch with our 11 year old. What's remarkable about the series is how different children's dreams of the future were even by the age of 7. In answer to the question: "What do you think you might want to do when you grow up?", the differences in the children's answers said much about what impact they thought they could have on the world (agency), what they thought was really valuable in life, and what they felt others had in terms of hopes for them.

How many Ben Carson's are there out there - from class dummy to pioneering pediatric neurosurgeon who separates siamese twins. The success doesn't happen overnight, but success stories seem to share an outside source of inspiration or encouragement, a period of hard work (skill building, intellectual), and individual determination.

Escaping 'Average' -
ENL Blog: 49 Up: "Give Me the Child Until He is 7..."
ENL Blog: Mother's Day Flashes from the Past"
Ben Carson: The Big Picture
Motivating Students
Motivation: Attitude, Drive, Strategy
Effects of Parent Involvement and Expectations on Achievement
External Barriers to Achievement in Gifted Women
Parental Involvement in Education
Family and Community Influences on Achievement in New Zealand

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