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The Importance of Goal Setting

Goal setting is a critical part of self-improvement. Goals give our lives a sense of direction, provide us with motivation and give us opportunities to better manage our own behaviour. A new study by the New South Wales Department of Education and the University of New South Wales has further reinforced the importance of goal setting, particularly for high school students. The study of almost 62,000 students in the state found those who set goals saw improvement in areas such as school attendance, perseverance and homework completion rates.

This study has further highlighted the importance of our students setting goals as they work through the last years of their schooling and chase longer-term goals such as being accepted into university or pursuing their chosen career. While it’s fantastic for our cherubs to have such big aspirations, it’s also critical for them to understand the importance of setting smaller goals throughout their journey to these big life goals. There’s no better place to do that than in the classroom.

What goals can we help our students achieve?

There is a myriad of goals that teachers can help students to achieve. It’s best to start with small goals to remind our cherubs that it’s our small achievements that can help us meet those big, aspirational goals. Ask your students to consider areas they would like to improve in. Some of these could be:

  • Studying more frequently.
  • Studying more efficiently by minimising distractions.
  • Attending school more often.
  • Achieving better marks in a certain subject.
  • Completing homework more often.
  • Reading more frequently.

How can we help our students achieve these goals?

The best way teachers can help students achieve their goals is to follow the SMART goal framework. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. It can be easier to achieve goals that follow the SMART framework than setting goals that are wild and possibly unattainable. Teacher PD has a free SMART goal template that you can download for your class.

In addition to setting SMART goals, we can help our students to keep on track to achieving their goals by making time to check in on their progress. This can be as simple as giving your class 5 minutes during one lesson per week to reflect on their progress and make any adjustments to the goal that might be necessary to help them succeed.

Check in with your HSC students

The importance of goal setting has been made even more clear by the recent study by the Department of Education and the University of New South Wales. What more proof do we need to start our cherubs on their goal setting journey?

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