OjoOido’s Student Advice Corner: Are you a Student? Are you at Risk?

The OjoOido.com message to our Latino Youth is direct and clear: You are responsible for your own learning. Therefore, take control of your education, career and life.

Leave Nothing to Chance: Take Control, Be Responsible For Your Own Learning

The OjoOido.com message to our Latino Youth is direct and clear: You are responsible for your own learning. Therefore, take control of your education, career and life. This attitude provides the foundation to avoid being placed into someone else’s plan. It’s an American value and tradition. Allowing someone else to determine your life plan simply infringes on your individual self-determination. All Americans respect, value and defend the right of every citizen to come to their own realization that the second you take control and decide what you are going to do for yourself, everything will change—and it will change in an instant; that’s American Freedom.

The nation continues to engage in a long and drawn out discussion on what it takes to ensure that students at high-poverty and high-minority schools achieve. It’s a fact, an unconscionable fact, that in the United States high-poverty and high-minority schools do not offer low-income students and students of color an education that allows their students to achieve a level of competent, competitive independence in managing and controlling their destiny in adulthood. If you listen to the national dialogue on the current state of education for Latinos, and other minorities in the United States, the impression is given that your future is at the hands of the federal government, state government, school districts, principals, teachers and others. There is some limited truth in this.

Since the Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), the landmark case in which the Court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional. The “powers that be” have spent the last 60 years attempting to “identify” the factors for educating low-income and minority students to achieve a level of competent, competitive independence in managing and controlling their own destiny in adulthood.

Knowledge Speaks, Wisdom Listens

First, let’s be precise by offering a working definition of “student.” If you google “student,” you will come across various definitions. For purposes of this piece, I selectively and deliberately chose the following working definition: a person that is enrolled in a school and/or formal learning program and who studies, investigates, or examines thoughtfully.

Secondly, let’s also be precise and have a working definition of “at risk student.” Again, if you google “at-risk student” you will come across various definitions. Here is the working definition that best fits our purposes: a student, generally a student of color and in this context, specifically a Latino student from a low-income family background attending a high-minority (K-12) school who is likely to drop out of school before high school graduation and/or fail to graduate from a post-secondary institution.

Habits, Skills, Strategies

Are you a student? If so, what habits and skills are required to be a competent student? For purposes of this exercise, I will define a competent student as a student who knows the difference between study habits, study skills and study strategies and consistently applies those habits, skills and strategies in his/her academic program.

What is the difference between study habits, study skills and study strategies? It has been my experience that most people understand the difference between a habit, a skill and a strategy in the context of sports but have difficulty separating them when talking about academic study and/or in the context of education. The following is a primer on study habits, skills & strategies. It provides an overview of the most fundamental issues that arise for “at-risk students” during middle school, high school, and college in studying and learning.

For our purposes, let’s get started on discussing the differences between study habits, study skills and study strategies by pragmatically defining key terms.


Time Management:Time Management is a habit, not a study skill. A habit that must be learned to increase the time allocated to studying to improve learning.

Study Habits: Study habits are those regular practices that can lead to learning. Therefore, you need to learn the habit before you can do it regularly. Notice that study habits do not necessarily lead to learning. Surprised by this?

Example: Attending every class and taking detailed lecture notes does not necessarily lead to learning the class material. Within 24 hours, irrespective of going to class regularly, arriving on time, and taking detailed notes, most students forget most of the substantive material covered in class. Has this happened to you?

Study Skills: Listening, watching videos or online multimedia coursework, reading class materials (handouts, texts, class notes, writing class papers) and taking class notes are all forms of studying. It takes more dedicated practice (over the course of years not just hours) to develop effective and efficient study skills than it does to develop and master study habits. Again, study skills are not learning.

Example: Reading an assigned chapter in your history book and using a yellow highlighter to highlight portions of the assigned chapter, including re-reading the assigned chapter after you have highlighted it is still not studying. Study skills are simply the way you receive or “input” information, nothing more. Study skills only allow you to retain the information for a short period. In other words, studying is just the beginning, not the end of retaining or remembering information. More has to be done to retain the information long-term.

Clarification Tip: It is only once you have identified the relevant material that you have read and highlighted that you are in a position to begin studying. Not so easy, is it?

Study Strategies: The meaning of study. Study Strategies are methods that typically involve the following: organizing information, thinking deeply about what you are learning and utilizing numerous techniques that lead to pronounced understanding and long-term memorization and learning.

How to Study: Essential Study Strategies

Remember this quote, “[w]e remember what we understand; we understand what we pay attention to; we pay attention to what we want.— Edward Bolles

As you recall from above, “the stuff” you take in from reading and listening goes to your short-term memory. You have to do something with the material quickly, or else you will forget the material. Remember this, to learn “the stuff,” you need to learn how to study or “forget about it!”

Begin Studying Effectively: Understand, Organize, Think and Remember

1. Understand: You need to understand “the stuff” you read or hear because once you understand “the stuff” it is easier to remember. You simply cannot learn what you do not understand.

2. Organize: You need to organize “the stuff” in a way (or ways) that best serves your preferences, i.e. talking about it, drawing it, writing it down, etc.

3.  **Think: Thinking about “the stuff” (i.e. the study materials) is by far the most neglected area of studying because it takes time and it is taxing!  Remember, not all “the stuff” is equally important.

4. Remember: You need to get “the stuff” into your short-term memory and then move it to your long-term memory.

The Lesson: Study Success By Latinos, For Latinos

While the nation continues to engage in this on-going discussion to “figure out” what it takes to ensure that high-poverty and high-minority schools deliver on their job to ensure that their students achieve, you can begin, this instant, to take individual responsibility for your learning and therefore take control of your education, career and life.

Create your own future by learning to construct your own game plan. OjoOido.com goes beyond simply conveying information and inspiration. Our Role Model’s backgrounds and accomplishments demonstrate that they have “figured out” what made them successful and they know that all students can – and will succeed – with the opportunity to learn and grow; regardless of cultural or socio-economic obstacles that may stand in their way. Throughout their lives they have demonstrated a record of problem solving, creating, developing and executing tactical and strategic planning to successfully achieve their goals. All students are capable of creating this type of success for themselves by integrating OjoOido’s principles and techniques of studying and learning into their daily routine.

See. Hear. Learn!

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