Most of us don’t necessarily pair “academic success” and “goal setting.” It seems too obvious—we want our children to have academic success as their goal. So, this is their goal. Right? The problem is not with the goal, but with how the goal is set.
The concept of children having personal goals—for academics and for other important areas of their lives—has been a subject of interest for Dr. Lori Desautels, Professor at Marian University. In an August 19, 2014 article for Edutopia she writes about the importance of having children make an emotional attachment to their goals. Let’s face it: our kids are measured for success based on goals that their parents, teachers, or coaches have set for them. How much “emotional attachment” can they possibly have?
If children are going to become academically successful, they need to feel ownership of their education. As parents, what can we do to set the stage for our kids to develop their own, very personal goals? The key is communication. Asking them how they feel and what they want —and then really listening to them.
Dr. Desautels includes a Self-Assessment chart in her article. Print it out as a guideline for the ways your children can measure how they are progressing toward their goals. This way of looking at academic achievement might seem radical, but when you really think about it, it makes sense. It gives kids a feeling of power and control over their schoolwork; it builds responsibility by learning to set small goals, measure progress, and assess their strategies. It helps them explore creative problem solving, if they aren’t progressing at the rate they want. Because these are goals they set for themselves, they have an emotional attachment to them.
LEARN MORE: For more information check out The Learning Habit. It is packed with information about GOAL SETTING and building skills essential for children’s success.
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