WHAT IS A LEARNING GOAL
When one hears about learning goals, they often think about the learning objectives and outcomes that are written by curriculum developers and or instructors when they design lesson plans.
There is an objective that the writer wants to achieve, but are they the goals of the student, or are they a set of goals that they want the student to have achieved?
Too often schools and instructors dictate what a students learning goal should be. Every student does not have the same goal in life; therefore the path in which they take to obtain their goals should, and will differ. However, it is not until a student’s college years, that they are able to somewhat take an active approach in their learning and learning goals.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF A LEARNING GOAL
If younger students are allowed to set their learning goals, they will become more engaged in their learning as well as it’s outcomes. They will see the relevance to what they are learning and how it will help them to reach their goals. When a student writes his or her own learning goals, it motivates them to work hard. they work hard not because someone has assigned a lesson, but because they are genuinely interested and vested in achieving what they have set out to do.
HOW TO ASSIST YOUR STUDENTS IN CREATING LEARNING GOALS
Show your students an example of your own learning goals; then have your students take a few minutes to brainstorm their own goals, and write them down. This is a great opportunity for them to also learn and practice the different methods of note taking, and/or creating charts, diagrams and outlines.
Once the students have completed their list of goals, allow them to talk about them with one another. Find out why these goals are important to them. You will notice a new passion in their eyes, when they tell you their goals in life. Next have your students create a second level to their learning goals. Have the students think about what they can do in order to achieve those goals. Setting a deadline can also be a way of motivating students to work rather quickly, and also reflecting on if the goal is realistic for the time line in which they have set.
AN EXAMPLE LEARNING GOAL
An example of a learning goal, for a fourth grade student may look like the following:
MEMORIZE MY TIMES TABLES- 1 month
o Learn one factor at a time
o Write each factor down, ten times each, every day
o Play multiplication games using those factors
o Test myself every week
o Make a rhyme or a song using the factor I am learning
o Study and practice with friends
THE BENEFIT OF STUDENT SET LEARNING GOALS
By not only allowing the student to create his or her own learning goals, but also deciding what they are going to do in order to achieve those goals, allows the student to take an active role in their learning. It allows them to gain and build on other skills such as organization, time management, creating an outline, communication, oral presentation, and much more.
Before you think that it is your job as a parent, or teacher to create learning goals for your children and or students, ask yourself. Would you like someone telling you what it is that you need to learn, and how to learn it? Education and learning is not a one size fits all. Our passions and purposes in life differ, and so do our learning goals. Even, if two students have the same learning goal, how one achieves it will differ. We all know that no two children are exactly alike, even twins. So, why take that approach when educating our students?
This method can work with students as young as 4-5 years old. You just need to scale things down, and probe with questions such as:
1. What do you like to do for fun?
2. What do you want to do after lunch?
3. What do you want to do tomorrow?
4. What do you like to learn about?
5. What do you want to be when you grow up?
The shorter the term of the goal, the better, and easier it will be for the student.
Teaching Effectiveness Program
Retrieved October, 12, 2010
University of Washington, Student Learning Goals
Retrieved October, 12, 2010