How can teachers create classrooms where the priority is student motivation, where engagement means that improved literacy is the outcome?
Mention 'goal setting' to your class, your multi-age tutor group, or even your staff in Faculty meetings, and you may well be met with a scene from the "Walking Dead"Why is that? We all know how much evidence there is to support the effectiveness of setting, and thus achieving, goals (Covey, 2009; Glasswell, Colwill & Singh, 2011; Dweck, 2013).
We've all been there: 9Q: 22 boys, 4 girls; 1 or 2 classroom Learning Support Assistants; and writing a speech about characters and themes in a text favoured by English teachers the world over [Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men]. Students in this class are struggling readers generally, their literacy levels were below National benchmark and their motivation and self-esteem had been caught up in what they could not do, rather than what they were, or could be, setting out to achieve. There's plenty we can do as classroom practitioners to create engagement and focus on raising reading levels of attainment with each of our students. Have a clear focus or purpose for a start: ask questions, pose problems, and generate inquiry. We could organise a range of challenging and interesting reading materials, at different levels and in different groupings to create visible thinking opportunities.
In our class? At the start of the lesson students could also be asked to share with the rest of the class what each intended to do for the lesson, and what these intentions were going to actually look like in action. Get your students to verbalise their overall goal; the skills they are working on; and what the product is going to be by the end of the lesson: and ask them who they will need to become to make all of that happen.
We all know goal setting works and personalising it with students is where the power lays. In our work, the School Based Researchers know about the power of setting goals when we work with teachers, and plans are made off the back of all types of data collected, both formal and informal assessment. Once teachers analyse their data, the power is when they go back into the classroom, setting intentions and celebrating the achievements of so many.
Covey, S., (2009 ). The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. Simon & Schuster, US.
Dweck, C., (2013 ). Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential. Little, Brown Book Group, London, UK.
Glasswell, K., Colwill, R., Singh, P., (2011). Literacy Lessons for Logan Learners: principals and teachers using data for school improvement, Curriculum and Leadership Journal, Vol 9, Issue 22. Found at: http://www.curriculum.edu.au/leader/ll4ll_october_2011,34126.html?issueID=12496
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