Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

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Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

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Article excerpt

''There are no shortcuts to anyplace worth going." -Beverly Sills

If shortcuts were not tempting, there would be no fad diets, get-richquick schemes, falsified résumés or CliffsXotes. People who want ito reach challenging goals quickly may seek an easy way to get there. Most often, though, taking a shortcut in something that traditionally takes time or is difficult leads to squandered resources, lost motivation and an increased risk that the prized goal will never be reached.

With Latino students, it is wiser to leach strategics and tactics for efficiency and effectiveness to inoculate them against the lure of shortcuts - slapping essential steps - in achieving their goals.

Efficiency is the ability to do tilings quickly; effectiveness is doing those same things correctly. Both are essential to success and can be learned. And both require focus, self-discipline and the willingness to do what it takes to reach a goal and sustain it across time.

Teaching Hispanic students organizational skills may be the primary way to teach efficiency. Learning to organize thoughts, materials and resources - including time and money - will help them learn to reduce errors and minimize redundancy. Students learn to save time and effort if they pull and keep together essential elements of their activities and streamline processes. Taking and organizing study notes, outlining and using a syllabus and planner to map out assignments and other responsibilities or deadlines arc some basic ways tliat parents and teachers can coach Latino student efficiency.

Effectiveness - doing things correctly - is the long-term goal of both teachers and students, and Latinos respond well to that if they are clear on the goal and how it fits into the context of daily living. Providing clear instruction, selling attainable and measurable goals, offering consistent feedback and positive coaching can guide the Hispanic student to consistently doing tilings correctly.

If efficiency and effectiveness can be taught, why are shortcuts so popular? How can we teach Hispanic students to persist in working toward a long-term goal when a shortcut seems easier?

Perhaps the drudgery of longer-term preparation entices students to take shortcuts. An exciting goal may lose its shimmer when attainment takes longer than anticipated. …

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