How are you today? I hope you are well. I want to talk with you about giving students some choice and responsibility in their learning. This also includes helping students set and reach goals. You may find this difficult to believe, but I even did this when I was teaching kindergarten.
Yes, even my kindergarteners had a choice in what their learning goals would be. I think I did this weekly. I would ask each student about his or her goals.
At first, some students weren’t sure what to say. Yet, as time went by, all students could tell me something. In the beginning, I might give them a few examples, like… “Do you want to learn a new letter or two or do you want to learn to count to ten?”
I didn’t start this from the first day. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks into the school year or more, when I had some idea what each student was capable of doing before I asked him or her to set a learning goal. I wanted to make sure that I had some idea how to guide him or her, before I asked someone so young to do something that some adults haven’t mastered.
After I met with each student to help him or her create his or her learning goal, I wrote a short note home. It went something like, “Dear parent, ___________ has chosen to learn ___________ for his/her learning goal. You can help him/her to do this by _____________. Thank you for your help in encouraging your child’s learning progress.”
Not only did I tell parents the goals their children had chosen, but how to help their children achieve those goals. Some parents may try to leave the teaching to teachers. However, they may be more apt to become involved in teaching their children if they knew how to do it. So, I gave specific guidance to the parents as well as the students in how they can achieve those goals.
If there were any learning aids that I had to send home to help each student achieve his or her learning goals, I did that as well. I wouldn’t send home a bunch of expensive things. Mostly, they were handmade flashcards or activities that I had prepared ahead of time.
Students and parents seemed to like this practice. It helped build relationships with them. It also helped to know that I was including the parents and students in the learning process. I wasn’t trying to dictate everything that is learned and how it is learn or by whom.
I really enjoyed having students choose some of his or her own learning goals and encouraging parents to help him or her achieve them. I enjoyed the relationship building and I enjoyed how much more motivated students and parents seemed to be. I also like that it was helping students not only academically, but also in the skills of goal setting and achievement.
Older students could write his or her their own learning goals. Then, the teacher could write a little note at the bottom as to how the parent could help him or her achieve those goals. When a student reached a certain grade, maybe high school, he or she can write his or her learning goals and do the work to achieve them independently.
Now, it is your turn.
I am glad you are here. Thank you for joining me. Do you help students set learning goals? What grade do you teach? What is your procedure? Do you get parents involved? Please, share your experience with us so we can learn. Please, comment below or contact me. I am always looking for your ideas, suggestions, questions, and requests. I am committed to helping others teach and learn. Please, check out all the education pages and educational resources that DUO Inspirations offers. Thank you.
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