The Power of Goal Setting
“Moving forward” is an immensely powerful context for promoting growth. It teaches students to look forward to the future and remember that there is still time to work towards reaching a goal. Success takes time, so we want to make sure students understand that, by changing our words, we also change our mindset” (Fowler-White, 2021, p. 17)
To help students learn to track how they think, learn, and interact with the world. Adults must integrate these practices into our regular routines as well. How often do you reflect, track, and refine the goals you set for yourself? https://bit.ly/EdTips85 via @JjJj821Tweet
Educators: Tracking Progress towards meeting Goals
When was the last time, you reflected on your methods for tracking progress towards the goals you set for yourself. Over the years, I have learned that I am really good at creating goals. Where I often fall short is on building a routine for tracking my progress. Tracking progress keeps that goal in the forefront of your mind. Think about it. Most of us keep a To Do. A To Do List is essentially a list of daily or weekly goals that you have set for yourself. Do you currently write down your long-term goals/resolutions each year? After writing down these goals, how often do you go back and track your progress. Consider setting calendar alerts to remind you to check-in on your movement and remind yourself to look always forward to the future.
Other methods to consider as you move towards routinely tracking your progress towards meeting goals:
- Look for a daily planner/calendar with built in reminders to set and check goals. There are many of them available. If you haven’t considered which ones you like to use, consider the qualities of the Brandon Burchard’s High-Performance Planner or the My Next 90 Days by SavourBeautyPlanner.com. Each offers a unique perspective on goal setting.
- Create a Focus Wall with two-three goals that you want to accomplish this year. Under each goal add 2-3 action steps to use as milestones/markers for gauging your progress.
- Get an accountability partner. Find a friend who has similar goals and make a pact to mutually invest and hold each other accountable for setting and reaching goals.
- Create a Badge of Fulfillment in the space that you work to remind you of all of the past goals you have accomplished.
Students: Tracking Progress towards meeting Goals
After examining your own methods for tracking progress, begin to think about the benefits of teaching students about the importance of tracking their own goals. An important thing to consider before having students set goals is whether children have been taught metacognitive strategies. Metacognition involves teaching student to think about their thinking. Learning metacognitive strategies will help student to become more self-aware as they learn to recognize and assess who they are and how they fit into the world. Teaching students how to reflect on their live will help them begin to examine and process where they are socially, emotionally, and academically. This power set of strategies is a game-changer in the classroom.
To begin teaching students about tracking their progress consider using the following:
- Embed metacognitive strategies into instruction. Many of us are already using checking for understanding strategies which we use to gauge students’ progress towards mastering standards. To integrate these thinking strategies, give students 3-4 touch points/questions they can ask themselves and have them tell you where they are/or their level of understanding.
2. Use Touchpoints/Thinking Questions: Teach students how to read their own data. Encourage them to look at where they are after taking online assessments, working on intervention programs, when they get a task or classwork back.
3. Use Data-Tracking Logs/Goal-Setting Forms: Create classroom and student data charts. Have students track their own progress towards mastering skills, concepts, and standards. Use a data tracking goal-setting form which includes the goal the student is working towards and action steps they will use to help them accomplish it. Have short data conferences to check in with students on their progress.
Success takes time, so we want to make sure students understand that, by changing our words, we also change our mindset”
Success takes time, so we want to make sure students understand that, by changing our words, we also change our mindsetTweet
Partnering with Parents with Goal Setting
Parents want to help their children. Many just do not know how. When you meet with parents, show them their children’s data. Talk to them about the goals and action steps student have set for themselves. Enlist the parent’s support in helping their children reach their goals. Partnering with parents in these data conversations is essential if students are going to truly become reflective thinkers. As your students become more proficient at knowing where they are and understanding the ultimate goal they are aiming for, provide opportunities for students to lead the data conferences with their parents.
Continuing to Perfect Goal Setting Practices
These are just a few strategies that will help student to achieve metacognition and move towards self-motivated practices for setting and achieving goals. The most important things to remember are to set goal, reflecting and track your progress, celebrating your success, and documenting each accomplishment so they serve as reminders and motivators to help you continuing moving forward. Linked below you will find references and other resources that can be used to continue to strengthen your knowledge on this topic. Thanks for visiting Digital PD for you. If you want to learn more on the topic of data, I suggest you read Educator Reflection Tip # 73: Are You Using Data to Inform Instruction?
References/Resources to Continue Learning
- Ackerman, C. (2021). Goal Setting for Students, Kids, & Teens (Incl. Worksheets & Templates).
- Center for Teaching Innovation. (2022). Metacognitive Strategies (How People Learn).
- Fowler-White, J. (2021). Educator Reflection Tips, Volume II: Refining Our Practice
- Minds in Bloom. (2014). Teach Your Students to Set Their Own Learning Goals and Boost Learning.
- Price-Mitchell, M. (2015). Metacognition: Nurturing Self-Awareness in the Classroom.
- Wilson, D. and Conyers, M. (2012). How to Teach Students To Use Metacognition.