Students without academic goals tend to react passively when reviewing progress reports or graded work without much awareness about how well they’re progressing. Setting SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bound) goals for them can increase motivation and engagement with learning processes.
Start off by having students identify both personal and academic goals for this year.
Write Your Goals Down
As a teacher, you can assist your students in clarifying their goals by encouraging them to write them down. Doing so helps students focus and reduces distractions from competing for their time and attention; additionally it gives clear indication of their work objectives, increasing value of return on effort.
Researchers found in one study that people who wrote down their goals were 10 times more likely to achieve them compared with those who didn’t. This increase can be attributed to writing goals down forcing you to be specific; specificity helps narrow focus quickly while providing short-term motivation and clarity of direction for future goals.
By keeping your goal front of mind, you can remind yourself why it is so important and what benefits will result from reaching it. Writing down your goals also serves as a visual reminder that can encourage a more productive and creative mindset throughout your day.
An effective way of meeting goals can also be setting them in front of yourself. While mental plans might allow for easier adjustment, written goals force more specific results that make shirking out difficult.
Take it one step further by having your students write out and post their goals somewhere visible every day, this way they can look back when feeling overwhelmed to remind themselves why their efforts matter so much.
Encourage your students to review their goals at the end of every week and evaluate their progress toward them. This could involve something as straightforward as listing steps they took towards meeting their target goal, or it could involve discussing any obstacles they have come across and how they overcame them.
Set Some Rules
Setting written goals is helpful, but kids also require an effective strategy for reaching them. They must know how to measure progress and set benchmarks along the way. Furthermore, having a timeline that provides sufficient guidance should allow them to identify what tasks must be accomplished before reaching it.
Use of the acronym SMART can be an easy way for students to set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. This approach allows students to break large goals down into more manageable chunks while staying motivated by showing how close they are to reaching their ultimate goal.
Help students to identify potential obstacles that are standing in their way of achieving their goal, such as social engagements or spending too much time on other interests. Once identified, devise ways of overcoming those challenges; for instance if a student wants to do better on an upcoming test they could assist in planning when and how long to study, what distractions to avoid, and which resources may be necessary.
Make Goal Setting an Essential Part of School Culture Another helpful strategy is incorporating goals into school culture by including teachers in setting and discussing them at Professional Learning Communities or Faculty meetings. Doing this can also provide morale boosters when both teachers and students can share personal successes of reaching their own personal goals.
Vision boards can be an invaluable aid for helping students plan and stay motivated as they pursue their futures. Gather old magazines, newspapers or printouts from the internet with images that represent your students’ hopes and dreams for the future, then arrange these images on a poster or canvas near their workspace so that they can frequently refer back to it for guidance or change when their perspective shifts over time. Furthermore, regularly reviewing a vision board serves as motivation when undertaking challenging tasks.
Provide Some Resources
Giving your students access to resources they need in order to accomplish their goals can keep them on track with achieving them and remain motivated. This may include planners, studying spaces, websites and books that help with studying or research projects. It is also essential that students have somewhere they can track their progress – be it a journal, calendar, notes on phones or goal boards near their desk – this way you’re providing immediate feedback as to whether they are close or far off reaching their goals.
One way to keep students motivated is to encourage them to share their goals with others, including friends, teachers and guidance counselors. Sharing goals will give support and encouragement while holding students accountable: by telling others of their plans they may find it harder to put off taking action until it is too late!
Encourage your students to use the SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound) formula when setting academic goals. This can help them assess if their desired goal is truly what they desire as well as if it is within reach. Using this approach also teaches them how to break their goal down into actionable steps – for instance instead of saying they want to study more, instead plan 30 minutes each night after dinner reading!
Once they understand their goals, it is crucial that students understand the benefits of adopting a growth mindset and setting milestones for themselves. Furthermore, teaching students how to identify obstacles standing in the way of reaching their objectives would also prove helpful; for instance if a student wants to improve their grades it would be important for them to recognize why their grades may have dropped due to video games/social media/caregivers/working outside the home etc.
One of the key ways to motivate students is through celebration of their successes. Achieve goals feels great and builds confidence – this should be something done regularly with students by teachers; students who believe in themselves and work harder when praised often can feel more empowered by this praise from their teacher. Also important are celebrating small achievements as well as larger ones; examples may include passing an difficult test, receiving good marks on assignments or finishing school year successfully.
Recognizing students for their positive actions outside of class is also key, such as encouraging those displaying good manners in the cafeteria by shouting out praise to someone for going above and beyond in picking up trash – this can motivate other students and reinforce positive behaviours that can be repeated over time.
Celebrating students’ achievements doesn’t need to be expensive or elaborate; for instance, teachers could simply write notes for their students and leave them in their folders or desks as an encouraging reminder. When students need an extra push forward they can refer back to these notes when needed.
Schools also utilize bulletin boards to celebrate student successes. Some schools display “Zearn” in blocks on grid paper and color each block when classes achieve their goals. Furthermore, some have created “Zearn Kudos” sections within weekly staff memos that feature teachers who are meeting their Zearn goals.
Teachers should celebrate both individual and classroom achievements. This could involve anything from creating a class chart with students who are improving in math or writing to creating a celebration board where they post students’ achievements (if they achieve 100% on an Independent Digital Lesson for instance they can have their name listed there in a special section on the board).
Celebrate with parents. Doing so will allow them to feel proud of their child while providing much-needed support during his/her academic journey.