The New Year is a time when people are encouraged to make New Years resolutions. Instead of asking kids to make typical resolutions, they can be encouraged to set some learning goals that they would like to achieve in the coming year. Goal setting for students is a great way to incorporate the New Year’s practice for kids in a way that will motivate their learning and set them up for success.
GOAL SETTING FOR STUDENTS: SMART GOALS
In the work place goal setting is useful for motivating company members to have something to work toward. Some companies have instituted “SMART” goals. This is an acronym that stands for goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Students should also be helped to set SMART goals for themselves regarding their learning goals.
Guidelines for setting SMART goals for students
1. STUDENT SHOULD SET SPECIFIC GOALS
Goals should be specific and not general. For example if a student wants to improve their math skills they shouldn’t merely say “I want to do better in math” but instead they should set a specific goal like: “I will improve my test scores from a C average to a B average” or “I would like to receive a final grade of at least a B.”
2. GOAL SETTING FOR STUDENTS SHOULD BE MEASURABLE
Setting goals for students is a bit tricky because often times student learning is hard to measure. It is important for students to see their progress, and setting a goal that can be measured will allow them to determine whether or not their goal has been met. Making a goal to read thirty minutes every day is a goal that can be measured and even documented on a chart so that the student can see their progress on a daily basis.
3. STUDENT GOALS SHOULD BE CHALLENGING YET ATTAINABLE
Adults should help students to choose goals that are attainable within the time frame given. Perhaps one of the reasons that people give up on their New Year’s resolutions is because they set goals that are unattainable, and so they get discouraged when the goal is not met.
4. GOAL SETTING FOR STUDENTS SHOULD INCLUDE REALISTIC GOALS
One of the ways that goal setting for students is beneficial is for students to be able to see some results, which means that their goals should be realistic. The student should be able to clearly state whether or not they achieved their goals by the appointed time. Setting a goal of learning to drive is not realistic for an 8 year old, however they could set a goal for learning how to ride a bike or learning how to ice skate backward.
5. ALL STUDENT GOALS SHOULD BE TIME-BOUND
An important part of goal setting for students is to set goals that have a deadline. This will give the students incentive to get started on their goal in order for it to be accomplished by a certain time. If there is no designated end date for a goal some kids might never even get started on their goals.
Students should be helped to have a proper understanding of why they are setting learning goals and how they can get started to work toward their goals. There are even SMART goal worksheets that students can complete to get them started on their goals this year. Having the proper attitude and motivation to achieve their goals is healthy and will help to give them a push to get the year started right.