As students learn to set appropriate goals for the upcoming school year, it is equally important for educators to reflect and consider their own professional-growth goals.
As students learn to set appropriate goals for the upcoming school year, it is equally important for educators to reflect and consider their own professional growth goals.
Research consistently finds that goal setting positively impacts motivation, learning, self-efficacy and individual progress monitoring. Goals motivate us to exert the effort necessary to meet the demands of a challenging task and to persist over time. Studies of goal setting in schools reveal that students’ skills can be improved when they pursue goals that are specific, proximal and moderately difficult. These findings have similar implications for educators who are committed to their own goal-setting practice.
Goals in After School
After school programs typically have more flexibility in their curricular and program offerings than traditional school settings have, and they provide ideal opportunities for goal-setting initiatives. Programming in after school often includes nonacademic components addressing issues such as values, self-esteem, health and physical fitness, social skills, and emotional wellness. The development of educators’ and students’ goal setting is in alignment with the broader objectives of many after school programs.
Goal setting is not an innate skill. Adults and students who are successful at reaching their goals have learned to set goals that are realistic with a step-by-step plan to attain them. When setting professional-growth goals, educators can benefit by asking themselves the following questions:
- Do I have a strong personal commitment to my professional goals?
- Do my goals have relevance to the broader mission of my program and my colleagues?
- Are my goals measurable by clear criteria to determine if I accomplish them or not?
- Do my goals have a growth orientation? Professional-growth goals should emphasize growth and development, not simply the completion of a specific project.
As the academic year begins, educators should consider goals that will improve their professional skills, increase collaborative learning, and enhance communication between students and families. With actionable professional-growth goals, educators will be better prepared to start the school year and to support their students’ goal setting.