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Set Specific, Achievable Goals


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Set Specific, Achievable Goals

If your student sets goals that are either too easy or unrealistic or doesn't seem to have goals

Teach It!

  1. Objective: Students will set specific, achievable goals, which will positively impact their motivation, self-confidence, and ultimately, success.
  2. Instruction and Practice: Guide students in goal setting, rather than giving them a goal. (See next slide). If students create their own goals they are more likely to be motivated and committed to achieving the goal.
  3. Use Mindprint's goal-setting lesson plan and template for a step-by-step guide to individual goal-setting (excerpted from The Empowered Student, CAST Professional Publishing).

Teacher Takeaways

  1. Clear Goals: Goals should be specific with a measurable outcome and time frame so successful completion is clear. For example, "Getting my homework done" is vague. Alternatively, "Handing my homework in on time every day this marking period" is clear, specific and measurable.
  2. Small Goals: Begin with small goals and small rewards. (i.e. Teach students to separate homework into predetermined chunks. When the student finishes one chunk, he takes an appropriate break, having completed the first goal.)
  3. Achievable Goals: Goals should be a stretch but achievable. Consider the student's age, comfort with the subject material, interest, and attention. In other words, students' goals should be specific to where they are and their individual strengths and needs.
  4. Keep it Visible: Write down the goal where it is visible and easy to remember, perhaps placing it on the student's desk. Writing it down emphasizes the importance of the goal.
  5. Reflect: Schedule time to reflect if the student achieved the goal. This process could be formal if in school, or informal with a parent. If the goal was not met, agree on strategies for improvement. This step is essential -- without it you minimize the importance of creating goals.
  6. Feedback: Reflection should include feedback on effort as well as achievement. Good effort is essential for long-term success. If a student tried very hard but still did not meet his goal that is very different feedback from students who did not succeed because they did not try.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Research shows that when goals are proximal and seen as attainable, each completed step feels like an accomplishment which fuels engagement (Cohen & Garcia, 2014). Adults play an essential role in helping students learn to set and meet their own goals. Taking responsibility for goal setting is a critical step toward independence. Research on motivation and emotions shows that it is key to create goals that are specific and a stretch yet achievable to help students build self-confidence and apply the continuous effort needed to succeed.

Best-suited for students with weaker: Attention, Flexible Thinking, Inhibition, Metacognition (Source: Digital Promise Learner Variability Project)