Academic Innovations

search
Twitter Facebook
 

Ability to Visualize One's Future: Key to Academic Success

We live in an instant gratification society. Our motto has become "Just charge it." The average savings rate in the United States is less than half that of other industrialized nations. Long-range planning is such a frightening notion that many families refuse to discuss the future. It's no wonder that the average high school student cannot see much beyond next Saturday night.

When award-winning author Fox Butterfield probed to learn why Asian students achieved higher academic goals than Americans, he found two important differences. First, young Asians had a clear vision of their adult roles and, secondly, they embraced the concept that hard work - not innate talent or intelligence - was the key to success.

The inability to visualize their futures and have clear goals for their adult years affects our young people more than is widely recognized. For instance, students who have no vision of their future are far more likely to become teen parents, according to researcher Michael Resnick, Ph.D., author of one of the most respected studies on teen pregnancy prevention. According to Dr. Heather Johnston Nicholson, director of the Girls Incorporated National Resource Center, "There is little evidence that sex education by itself makes any difference in the adolescent pregnancy rate." Studies do show that there is a strong relationship between a girl's career aspiration and the prevention of adolescent pregnancy.

The ability to project into the future and understand the consequences of today's actions is critical to dropout prevention for both college and high school students. Studies show that college students who have a clear career goal for themselves as freshmen are much more likely to graduate than those who don't.

What can schools do to help a student become a long-range thinker in an instant gratification society? Long-range thinking and planning can be taught. Curriculum, classroom discussions and academic projects must be used to present themes that help students visualize their adult lives and understand the consequences of today's choices. Career Choices, Possibilities and Lifestyle Math are examples of curriculum that accomplishes these goals.

Request a Review SetAwards/EvaluationsFundingCareersJob Application