Foolproof Strategies for Helping Teens Self-Evaluate and Reach Goals
I like to take time to do this (sometimes in homeroom, sometimes in math class, and sometimes in advisory groups) before leaving for winter break. You can also do it when you get back in January, but the first semester sometimes feels like old news at that point. It’s best to do this while the past quarter and its struggles are fresh in their minds.
Start with a Self- Evaluation
Before you have your students set goals for the future, they must first assess their work from the previous semester. First, have your students write down their grades, comments, etc. from the past semester. Some other important areas to reflect on are effort and work ethic and their behavior in class.
Next, have your students identify their strengths; they should think about what they are proud of. This is so essential for determining goals. Not only does identifying strengths boost self-confidence, but also it can encourage reflection on why these are strengths.
After students identify their strengths, they should determine areas that need some improvement. It is important to keep things positive when going over this; remind students that although theses areas need attention, they possess the power to make improvements.
For an efficient, engaging self-assessment, you can download and print copies of this Goal Setting Doodle Note Sheet; it includes many beneficial goal-setting techniques. This sheet can be a great introduction to Doodle Notes too, if you haven’t tried them yet!
Teach SMART Goals
Once students identify strengths and areas to improve, they are ready to begin setting goals! Make sure they have an understanding of how to compose a good goal.
An easy acronym to teach is SMART. This means that all of their goals should have the following criteria:
-Reasonable and Relevant
-Timely and Trackable
Create an Action Plan
Arguably, the most important step of goal setting is creating a step-by-step plan of how to reach your goal! If your goal is to get from point A to point B, then you need to know how you’re going to get to point B.
Creating small steps to achieve a larger goal makes it all seem a lot more attainable, and less overwhelming.
It may be helpful to come up with a hypothetical goal and an example action plan as a class.
You can use this as an example:
Goal: Raise test scores from B’s to A’s
Step 1: Complete all homework on time
Step 2: Ask for help and clarification as needed
Step 3: Study uninterrupted for 45 minutes each school night
GOAL: Get an A on the test
Be sure to tell your students that SMART goals are not easy to write and will take some time. A SMART goal is not just a goal they want to achieve; it includes an specific action plan.
Identify Any Potential Obstacles
Sometimes setting and achieving goals can be easier said than done. We all have roadblocks that can keep us from achieving our goals, and it’s important to help your students recognize their roadblocks so they can overcome them. Maybe they continually miss a connection in the lesson? Maybe they have too many distractions at home, like social media, friends, or video games?
Once they recognize their obstacles and consider how to overcome them, your students can push through their action plans and achieve their goals.
Schedule time every week or two weeks for you students to reflect and evaluate how they are doing on their action plans. Which strategies are working and which ones are not? Are there any new obstacles to overcome in order to follow your action plan?
Be sure to remind your students that they are aiming for progress, not perfection. After all, achieving goals takes time, and progress lets you know you are heading in the right direction.
A great strategy to teach your students is accountability; teach them ways to hold themselves accountable.
For example, a little peer pressure doesn’t hurt. Pair or group students with accountability partners, or “accountabili-buddies.” Every few weeks, have the students meet for a few minutes to discuss how their plans are coming along.
Another way to help students be accountable is to include parents. You can send a paper home to parents, explaining the class’ goal setting and asking for their support. Parents can support you by questioning their child about his/her goals and plans, or give advice to help.
Celebrate Reaching Goals
Finally, after your set time to achieve goals you can hold a small celebration for all of the hard work your students have done.
Maybe that means bringing in a treat for the class or allowing them to bring in a snack, and giving them the opportunity to tell their class about their goals and their plans of action.
Do you have any foolproof strategies for setting goals? Please let us know in the comments below. Don’t forget to enter your email to subscribe to Math Giraffe!
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