Author and speaker Jon Acuff hosts a weekly podcast called “All It Takes Is A Goal.” I really enjoy listening as he talks with his guests – usually successful authors, entrepreneurs, and creators – about their work and how they came to be successful. The overarching theme is – you guessed it – setting a goal and working toward it. All of those exemplars reinforce his theme week in and week out, and they encourage others to set goals and work toward them.
Our students should be setting academic goals and working to fulfill them, and teachers can help make this happen. In the article Setting Goals That Work authors Nancy Frey and Douglas Fisher provide the following tips for helping set academic goals:
- Think about growth over mastery. Yes, mastery goals are important, but often they are big goals and they won’t be achieved for a long time. Establish growth goals that are incremental steps toward mastery and can be achieved over the short term.
- Think about personal best goals. Students can set highly individualized goals to help improve by setting “personal best” goals. They can reflect on their prior performance and establish growth goals.
- Think about resources available. Help students identify what they already know and have experienced. Make overt connections about how they can build on their prior knowledge. Identify classroom resources that can help students meet their goals. Identify resources from outside of school (family, community) that might be able to help students meet their goals.
- Think about momentum. As students begin to accumulate small wins with their incremental goals, use the positive energy to keep moving forward toward the next goal. Celebrate the little successes along the way.
As you prepare for next week, think about how you might help your students establish some academic goals. You and your students will be glad you did!