Goal setting in school: A guide
The start of the new academic year signals a new slate in every student’s life. Here is a guide to help you and your child set achievable goals this 2013.
It has become common practice for school to conduct goal setting exercises with the students every start of a new term. Get yourself involved in this useful and character building activity with these tips and tricks to help your child set and achieve his goals in the classroom and beyond, this 2013.
As a former teacher, I’ve seen how goal-setting is done every start of the year. During this time, there are many students who do not actively involve themselves in the activity. Instead they just put down an ‘A’ grade beside each subject as they feel that is what we and their parents want.
However, this is not always effective so here is a guide on how you can get involved in setting this year’s goals with your child.
Step 1: Help your child determine what THEY want to achieve with a list of educational goals
Of course, at such an age your child might not be so clear as to what his goals might be and you can encourage them to explore different ideas. But remember to make it clear that it is something THEY want and not what YOU want for them, this distinction is important because if the goal is not something he really wants, the possibility of him not trying and giving up is high.
Step 2: Differentiate what are academic goals vs personal learning goals.
Academic goals are ones that involve measurable tests and exams such as the Mid-year, End of Year examinations and PSLE. Personal learning goals on the other hand are very different. For example it could be your child’s goal to finish reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy or do a sketch of fruits. Although these are not academically measurable, they represent progress in your child’s learning journey.
These can also be more satisfying when they are reached so it is good to encourage them to articulate these goals as well.
Step 3: Have measurable milestones.
This is an important step as it allows the goals that have been set to be broken down into smaller goals. For example, if your child’s goal is to get an A* for Math but he is currently struggling with his problem sums, setting down milestones in the quest for that A* would be useful. In this case, you could set a milestone such as ‘No careless mistakes for problem sums section’, such a goal is less daunting and much more reachable. Thus when that goal is reached, it would spur your child to achieve the next milestone.
Step 4: Reward them
While setting goals, also discuss rewards with your child. Rewards act as an incentive for children and might give them an extra boost when they are getting complacent or feel the need to procrastinate during school term.
An example would be allocating a certain amount of money for whichever grade or score they achieve. Get your child to decorate a bottle and fashion it into a piggy bank and mark what he or she want as a reward for achieving their goal. In this way, they can physically see how much harder they have to work to achieve that goal.
Of course, rewards don’t always have to be monetary, a pat on the back and a congratulatory well done is sometimes all your child needs to spur him onto achieving their goals.