Goal settings needs to be relevant and SMART. We implemented goals into student learning this year to improve performance. How does this work? Did the students benefit from this? Will we use SMART goals again? All relevant questions and my responses and views are below.
SMART goals are:
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R = Relevant, Realistic, and Results Focused
T = Timely and Trackable
Learning how to frame goals as SMART goals is an important skill that would help every student get off to a better start and have a better school year.
How does this work?
As mentioned above we tried this for the first time with our grade 3/4 students. At the beginning of each unit, students filled out their SMART goal setting sheet (see below) and we encouraged students to set a realistic goal for themselves. As teachers we gave them options on what goals they could achieve. We also reminded them not to choose a goal just because their friends chose that goal.
Once students have set their goals it's time to get to work. All students are different and have different needs and abilities. The goal setting chart allowed us to build small focus groups which enabled those students to focus more so on the goal they set for themselves. However this did not mean the students just focused on one learning outcome per unit, they still required to achieve the learning intention. This was something that was reinforced constantly.
Student goals are based on our unit's learning intention, so every week the students would identify the learning intention and if that was their goal that focus group would work that extra bit to ensure they could achieve their goal. Did they achieve their goal in one lesson (60mins)? No, but that was something students needed to achieve and also taken on responsibility to ensure that they could complete this at the end of the unit.
As teachers, we were given some simple yet effective advice to ensure students met their outcome. This was to hang the students goal onto the gym walls so they could visually see and remember their own goal (see below).
At the end of the program the students would re visit their goal sheet and complete a reflection and assessment on their goal. (See below)
The most important part of this was to see if students could achieve their goal, if not, why? This would then get them to think outside the square on what they needed to do better next time and also was the goal realistic?
Did the students benefit from this?
Absolutely! Anyone who sets themselves goals benefits and gains more valuable knowledge and experience.
Some students may of not achieved their goal, but as teachers we then need to work closely with those students to break down what happened and how can I achieve this next time? It was also critical to see whether students understood the importance of setting goals. For those students who achieved their goals and did not achieve it was evident that they knew how important it was to set SMART goals.
How do we know this?
1. Students asking questions
2. Students asking for assistance
3. Students more determined
4. Students constantly reviewing their goals which are hung up on the wall
5. Students supporting each other
Will we use SMART goals again?
Most definitely, if it helps student learning and students are in a good routine expecting to receive their goal sheets, absolutely yes.
And yes this could be done for all year levels.
These are my own opinions and experiences. I love to share and reflect.