Setting Growth Goals

If you’ve spent any time in the personal development arena, you will see a multiplicity of references to setting goals and growth. Many of those references put goals and growth at differing ends of the spectrum making each appear as a mutually exclusive aim. The truth of the matter is that both can peacefully coexist in a mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship.

In the book Growing Positive Mindsets: Principles and Practices for Maximizing Students’ Potential, authors Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers provide the following five strategies for helping students set and reach growth goals (pp. 87-88):

  1. Have students clearly articulate what they hope to accomplish. Write the learning goals in simple language and have the students review them daily. 
  2. Have students think through the process of accomplishing a goal from start to finish. Identify what markers for success will be used. 
  3. Reinforce the concept that big goals are accomplished by small steps. Help them “see” how each step leads to the next and how the succession of steps will help them achieve the desired outcome.   
  4. Employ graphic organizers at the beginning of a unit or project. Visual maps that show how all of the parts work together to complete the whole learning sequence are powerful tools that help keep students focused and motivated. 
  5. Celebrate wins along the path. Acknowledging little victories motivates students to continue toward the big goal. 

As you prepare for next week, think of how you might use these strategies in your classroom practice. You and your students will be glad you did!

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