If you are a parent that sets personal and professional goals for yourself, you know how powerful goal setting can be. Goal setting is essential to academic success. When helping your pre-teen or teen set academic goals, there are a few essentials to keep in mind to increase the likelihood of success.
The first step is to remember the 3 P’s of goal setting.
· Positive: Goals should be phrased positively so that they help your children feel good about themselves and what they are trying to accomplish.
· Personal: They must reflect the dreams and values of the child, not those of family, friends, teachers or even popular media.
· Possible: When setting goals, it’s important to look at what is possible and within the reach and control of your child.
· S – Specific: It is important that when your child writes their goal, they are clear about exactly what they want to achieve.
· M – Measurable: It’s essential that progress can be tracked on the written goal. In order for this to happen, the goal has to be measurable.
· A – Achievable – Although any goals written should challenge your child, be sure that it is also realistic for them to achieve.
· R – Relevant – Ensure that the goals that they are writing are in harmony with their current condition and visions that they have for themselves.
· T – Timed: It’s very important to set deadlines. In order to stay motivated towards reaching your goals, a clear timeline is needed.
Let’s look at a few goals that are quite common, but need some work.
1. I want to do better in school this term.
Although this may seem like a great objective, there are a few things missing here. This goal isn’t very specific. What is ‘better in school?’ Are we speaking about all subject areas? How will your child know if they have achieved it?
2. I want mom and dad to be happy with my academic progress so they will stop harassing me.
Although we can see where this goal may be coming from, it lacks positivity and is more about mom and dad and less about the student. It’s important that the student write a goal that is personal to them. The goal I previously mentioned suggests that the student wants to do better in school simply to get their parents off their back!
3. I want to do better in math.
Like the two goals above, this goal is also weak. What does doing better look like? What is the time frame within which this student would like to do better in math?
Now that we have looked at a few goals that need work, let’s take goal number three and make it a S.M.A.R.T. goal that reflects the 3 P’s.
In order to receive at least 70% in math this term, I will spend 30 minutes each day reviewing current math concepts and commit to attending extra math help classes at least once a week.
Setting well shaped academic goals is a great first step towards a year filled with academic success. It is important to remember that when we set goals, they are not cast in stone. Evaluate your goals and do not be afraid to change them if necessary. In our math example, if your teen is struggling to get 50% on math tests despite the efforts and following of the nightly practice routine that has been put in place, perhaps 55% or 60% may be more achievable. Similarly, if they are managing to achieve 70% with ease, perhaps the percentage may have to be increased to 80%. Do not be afraid to evaluate and adapt goals. Just ensure that when they are being adapted, that they are being adapted for the right reasons.
Happy goal setting!
Thank you for tuning into this week’s episode of A Child’s Life. To find out more about Learn and Lead Educational Center, be sure to visit us online at www.learnandleadec.com.