Are Your Children Reaching Their Potential?
“More than helping with academic success, Daryl Capuano helped transform my son from a going-through-the-motions type to someone actively seeking to make the most of his potential.”
Donna L., East Lyme, CT
The Learning Consultants’ expertise is derived from working with thousands of students from Shoreline, CT and beyond and then deducing successful patterns from those who do especially well.
Potential seekers are the somewhat rare students who are striving to maximize their abilities.
Beyond motivation, what separates these students from others?
The First Habit of Excellence
The first habit of excellence is the habit of seeking excellence.
When we set a new task for students to work upon, it becomes immediately apparent that a few in the group, without knowing what the task will entail, are ready to work hard and strive.
We recall one student from Madison, CT who was not necessarily naturally gifted academically, but had the excellence-seeker’s attitude.
He wanted to excel at whatever it was he did, and he possessed the mindset that he would achieve his goals.
Certainly, those that have had past scholastic success may have been conditioned to expect success.
But as with the aforementioned student, we also noticed that there are numerous students who are not particularly gifted academically, but still have confidence that they will do well.
Creating Successful Mindsets
Some parts of The Learning Consultants’ motivational work are proprietary in nature.
For that reason, we can only highlight certain aspects of our methodology.
One technique involves expectation shifting.
For example, we work with many math-phobic students.
One such student from Old Lyme, CT hated problems dealing with circles. She simply shut down with the statement, “I can’t do circle problems” whenever she saw a circle problem in an SAT math set.
We taught her various techniques to deal with different types of circle problems and followed by presenting her a reasonably difficult circle problem.
The student solved the problem — with a little prompting from us.
She was delighted. We then solved a few more circle problems. We could see that one small burden in math had been lifted.
More importantly, she understood that with proper training she could do better.
The Old Lyme student’s expectations shifted and that made all the difference as she eventually performed well above her expectations.
Energizing the Apathetic Student
Several years ago, we were working with a student from Essex, CT. He attended Xavier High School in Middletown and was finding himself motivated by sports but bored by his studies. Xavier is an excellent school with both highly competitive sports and academics.
He wanted to attend Boston College (as so many in the Shoreline, CT area do!) and had discovered that his grades freshman and the first half of sophomore year had limited any possibility of that happening. He then essentially gave up studying during the remainder of sophomore year and sunk any remaining possibility of his getting into BC.
We met him at the beginning of his junior year at Xavier when there were some thoughts of his transferring to Valley Regional High School (the collective school for Essex, Deep River and Chester, CT).
We discussed his athletic success. He brightened. What had made him so successful in sports? He was a natural athlete. But his success actually stemmed from his work ethic — his willingness to stay late at practice, to patiently learn new techniques, and to work hard to get into top physical shape.
These excellent character traits did not translate into academics. He never sought out extra help, was bored when learning something new, and simply had not worked hard in school.
Why? Boredom, as is often the case, was the main reason.
But big goals can often inspire someone to work, even in the face of boredom if the link between the goals and the work is properly established.
We discussed the students new goals: getting on the honor roll, getting into a “good college,” and learning to be a good student (ok, that last one was mostly our goal!).
The interesting part of the work to him was not necessarily our study skills techniques but rather how his “energy” could be moved from sports to school. As we presented the issue to him, he was the same person in both sports and school. The same character traits that propelled him to success on the baseball diamond could similarly be used in English class.
He actually grew fascinated with that fact because, in his words: “If I use those same character things, I can be successful in anything.”
He understood, applied himself, and raised his GPA a full grade level over the year. Our guess is that the lesson he learned will repeat throughout his life.