Goal setting can be a powerful tool.
Research indicates that goal setting in teaching may influence both instructional effectiveness and professional growth (Camp, 2017).
Other outcomes of goal setting by educators include:
- Impacting the likelihood of a teacher seeking help when faced with teaching challenges (Butler, 2007)
- Resistance to burnout (Retelsdorf, Butler, Streblow, & Schiefele, 2011)
- Emphasizing growth rather than competition in classroom environments (Shim, Cho, & Cassady, 2013)
- Providing students with socio-emotional support (Butler, 2012)
Below are 6 suggestions for goals that will make you and your students’ experience as meaningful and enjoyable as possible.
1. Improve organization
I must admit to having a classroom that got messier as the year went on!
A practical goal can be to set aside time each week to declutter our classrooms.
Involving students in classroom cleanups is also a helpful way to support us, and to teach them responsibility skills.
2. Prioritize professional development
Professional learning is one of the best ways to continuously improve our teaching.
I try to spend at least part of my planning time each week reading through teaching blogs and teacher forums.
What time can you set aside each week dedicated to PD? What would you like to learn more about? How can you use social media to support your learning?
3. Make use of student feedback
Making student feedback part of your teaching can be a powerful tool for picking up where students need extra support, or where a concept went over their heads.
A few forms of feedback to try include:
- Exit tickets
Quick, lesson specific questions at the end of class to see what stuck.
Eg: “What was the most important thing you learned in class today and why?”
- Bell Ringers
Short activities that let you prompt reflection and check comprehension.
Eg: “What is one thing you found interesting from the previous class?”
- Confidence checks
Standard question to check how students are feeling about a lesson, test, topic, or subject.
Eg: “Do you feel ready for the test on Friday?”
- General feedback
Broader feedback about any issue related to the classroom or school.
Eg: “Are you clear on what is required to be successful in this subject?”
You can also explore some ideas in the Ziplet template questions in your Ziplet account or come up with your own based on the lesson content.
4. Avoid burnout
To be at our best and avoid running out of steam, it’s important to prioritize some ‘me’ time.
Find a few minutes for yourself during a break each day to check in with yourself and assess how you’re feeling. Think about what is going well, what you’d like to improve, and how you can make meaningful change.
5. Enhance student motivation
Students perform at their best when they are motivated.
As teachers, we can enhance student motivation by:
- Emphasizing the importance of proficiency, rather than grades
- Providing enjoyable and stimulating learning opportunities
- Teaching students self-motivation strategies
- Promote self-autonomy for learning
- Work on building respectful relationships with students
You can find a selection of helpful template questions in your Ziplet account. Consider trying some of the following with your students:
- “Explain what it means to be a good learner in this class?”
- “What's one thing outside of school that you love doing?”
- “What helps you to get in a good mood when you're feeling down?”
- “What goal are you currently working on with your learning? How did you work towards that today?”
Try setting setting aside a regular time to check in with your students with the focus on improving their motivation.
6. Incorporate mindfulness into your teaching
The Mindfulness In School Project in conjunction with The University of Exeter found mindfulness:
- Improves wellbeing
- Reduces worrying
- Improves sleep
- Enhances self esteem
- Brings about awareness and self regulation
Consider dedicating as little as five minutes per day for you and your students to pause, focus on the breath, notice the immediate surroundings and reflect on the day.
A helpful exercise for reducing anxiety and encouraging mindfulness can be to guide your students through the following questions:
- What are 3 things you notice right now?
- What sounds can you hear?
- What do you feel positive about right now?
Setting goals helps us focus on what we want to achieve and how we can do so.
Be sure to write down your goals and a couple of measures of success which you can reflect on at the end of the year.
What goals will you be setting for the year?
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