Helping Students Reach Their Goals...One Step at a Time
At RootsEDU we work with students to set attainable and realistic goals.
It is easy to set an arbitrary goal for some point in the future; however, it is quite different to consciously choose a realistic goal to attain and develop an action plan in order to achieve it. Understanding how to set realistic goals and developing a plan to achieve these goals is essential in helping students understand who they are as learners and provides them with the opportunity to reflect upon their journey, instead of simply focusing on successes and failures. Students can set goals using three steps: first, students set realistic goals, then a step-by-step action plan is developed to help them attain their goals, and finally, students then reflect on their progression towards reaching their goals.
Setting realistic goals
Why is teaching students to set realistic goals so important? In our experiences, when we ask students to write down some of their goals, many of them quickly scrawl something along the lines of "Get an A in English," "Become Class President," or "Become a better student." These are great goals to have, but are they realistic for that particular student? Is the goal specific or is it too broad? Is the goal clearly defined? For example, getting an A in English is great, but does that mean an A on an assignment, on a unit test, or at the end of the term? These are three very different definitions of getting an A in English, so it is very important for students to clearly define what they would like to achieve. More importantly, is that A in English realistic for that particular student? If a child normally gets Ds in English, then it may be overwhelming to suddenly make that A. The fear is that a child who makes an unrealistic or poorly defined goal will not be successful and then feel disappointed in their perceived "failure." If a student receives Ds in English, then it is probably more attainable to first try to achieve a B on the next math test and then work towards the A after that. Set realistic and attainable goals.
Developing a Step-By-Step Action Plan
Once teachers have worked with students to set a realistic goal, the next step is to develop an action plan that makes the goal more achievable. We define a realistic plan to not only include a set timeline and end date, but also "mini" goals to reach along the way. Students need to ask themselves, "What do I have to do in order to reach my goal?" In our experiences, we find a monthly plan to work well with students, as they then have a weekly check in to reflect on their progress. Let's take "I want to get a B on the next Enlgish test" as the goal for the month. What are some things the student can do to work towards this goal? Perhaps completing all their homework, asking the teacher for extra help, and studying each night during the week of the test are the mini-goals. We can look at this as a step-by-step progression. Each week, students can reflect on their progression towards their goal. This makes students accountable for their success and provides them with the opportunity to understand what they need to work on next. Create a step-by-step learning plan.
Reflecting on the Journey
Students are to reflect upon their journey and whether or not they achieved their goal. It is important to understand that not everyone in the class may reach their goals—this may be due to lack of effort, difficulties along the way, or circumstances beyond their control. Too often, students only focus on the end point instead of considering the entire journey. The key lesson for students is that determination, hard work, and reflective thought is needed in order to recognize an area for improvement and actively work to accomplish a change. In order to help a greater amount of students with this endeavor, RootsEDU provides a unique curriculum and specificaly designed programs with preset goals and action plans that can fit individual student needs! Goal oriented, leveled, explicit and systematic programs that are proven to improve student test scores and class ranking. Please submit Student Application.