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Comparing Educational, Academic and Life Success

By Reg Adkins

When examining instructional models we are offered a multitude of models focusing on the curriculum and the best instructional approach for the teacher based upon his or her particular style. Less often we find materials which target the learning style of the student. A recent "google search on instructional models yielded no less than 7.5 million hits.

When examining counseling techniques the number of models from a search result is slightly less plentiful 5.5 million, but hardly less varied.

Many of these models and techniques are considered key to achieving educational success. I have taken the long way round to bring you to this elemental question: If all these models are important to educational success and many of them seem unrelated, then what is "educational success"? Is educational success the equivalent of "academic success"?

Because academic success is more definable, for the purpose of this examination we will postulate that educational success and academic success are interchangeable.

How educationally/academically successful one is may be measured by how well one is able to perform in the following proficiencies.

1. The ability to gather, interpret and usefully apply information.

2. The ability to effectively communicate both verbally and in written form.

3. The extent of knowledge in geography, history, mathematics, science and technical skills.

4. The ability to work effectively with others.

5. The ability to complete multi-phase projects.

6. The ability to make competent decisions.

7. The ability to "read the current social and political environment.

8. The ability to incorporate personal ethics and values with those of society.

Here again, we face the question, why do these criteria indicate success?

We prove these are characteristics of success by the impact they have on other realms. For example, the National Alliance of Business, Inc provided a study which stated individuals who demonstrated the above characteristics were:

a) more stable in their employment;

b) more likely to have health insurance;

c) less dependent on public assistance;

d) less likely to engage in criminal activity;

e) more active as citizens and charitable volunteers; and

f) more healthy.

Indications are, as these are surface evidences we must look more closely into the temperament of those perceived as successful. Do the external trappings of success contribute significantly to how successful one considers themselves to be.

Such will be the topic of the next article.

About The Author
Reg Adkins

The author has devoted over twenty years to the field of education; spanning the gambit from elementary to adult education, including special education, adult education and counseling in the department of corrections. Much of this exprience has been in the development, implementation, evaluation and modification of behavior management and effective instructional practices.


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