Thursday, April 11, 2013

Success formula at school age is to maximise learning outputs

As we discussed in the blog, to succeed in life, each person has to find his/her own success formula because he/she cannot use other's success formula. He can take help from other's success formula, but he still has to find what is right for him in that formula.

While for a working professional, the success formula has to center around producing outputs in work-life, for a student, the success formula has to center around producing learning outputs in school-life. Sometimes these learning outputs can be achieved by getting high marks, sometimes without them.

Success formula of a student should therefore satisfy only one criteria: Maximise learning outputs of a student in a school life. But because each student has different abilities and faces unique challenges pertinent to his background, every student therefore has to go through these three steps:

  1. Step 1: Plan- Find learning opportunities to grow his 'chosen' abilities within his given background ( family and social conditions where he is born) and then
  2. Step 2: Utilise - those learning opportunities fully ( as we have seen in the same blog, the mind of the student determines how he will utilise those opportunities) to convert them into outputs and then
  3. Step 3: Re-plan - Depending on how he utilises his opportunities, he has to alter his plan. This may require choosing different abilities or using different methods to grow the chosen abilities.
So the plan continuously changes due to step 2. One cannot have a fixed plan. We are therefore calling it a continuous learning plan. CLP, in short. Ideally, CLP should be done at the fifth class so that the student sees the unfolding direction clearly by 8th class. The later the plan is done, less useful it is..

A student primarily faces three bottlenecks in creating a CLP  that will suit his abilities and conditions: 

Bottleneck 1: Ability blindness

Students cannot do this planning due to one basic reason: they do not have the lenses to view their 'abilities'.(Check out the typical 8 abilities that are tested in aptitude tests). They are ability-blind. They confuse subjects with abilities. For instance, Learning Physics and mathematics both develops logical abilities of different 'types', but the student does not know the difference between the two logical abilities. 

Bottleneck 2: Ability development ignorance 

Students do not know how to enhance their ability. For instance, physics requires experiments and live models to develop it, but mathematics requires abstract level complex problems to enhance one's grasp. While language development requires taking part in Elocution competition, Drama competition and others, development of drawing ability ( also called as visual ability) can be furthered by using computers. The biggest casualty of this ignorance is the insufficient attention to subjects like History and Geography, that are very critical later in life.

Bottleneck 3: Trait development arithmetic 

More importantly, students are not aware that lack of traits like concentration and patience can cause learning to grow slowly or even stop. Without these character traits, students are unable to utilise the opportunities that have been identified in Step 1. And character traits like concentration and patience develop indirectly, while cognitive abilities directly. For instance, arts enable child to develop character traits like concentration and patience. But ignorance of the indirect method to 'develop traits' either stops or retards student's learning even in subjects like physics and mathematics. During 7th or 8th class, the student faces the biggest emotional transition of adolescence. If the child is not ready for this emotional upheaval, his learning completely derails. 

Bottleneck 4: Domain confusion

Every year, in the month of April and May, you will find several announcements of career guidance seminars in a newspaper. Career guidance seminars explain the careers say in Engineering, Medicine, Accountancy, defence or public service. They really should be called Domain guidance seminars, because with a logical ability, say of Physics, one can enter in any domain for doing work: Engineering, Medicine, Accountancy or Defence. Ability is confused with Domain

In a school, a student should only think of identifying and growing ability, not how to use abilities in domains. However there are some exceptions to this rule. For instance, if a student has niche abilities such as in fashion, photography, painting, language, or ecology (which are not so popular abilities), he can confidently pursue growth of these niche abilities only if he knows that these abilities have 'market value'. For him, domain guidance seminars are very useful to help focus efforts. But for students who want to grow their logical abilities in Physics, chemistry, they have plenty of options. For them, Domain guidance seminars at a school age is like searching a key under the lamp just because there is light under the lamp. 


If you want to really help your child to succeed in his life, help him find his abilities, identify the learning opportunities to grow his abilities, and then help him utilise those learning opportunities fully. You can do this by having a CLP.

Be it a student with poor academic record, or a student with only right brain orientation like in language and arts, or a student with excellent academic record, a CLP ensures that he will be able to utilise his abilities fully and therefore succeed in life. This is the simple formula of success. As simple as that !