Research Paper By Renee Erlich
(Leadership Coach, UNITED STATES)
According to the Head of School at Frankel Jewish Academy in West Bloomfield, Michigan, a successful student, is confident and knows how to create a plan and set goals.
Students and the teaching of goal setting and creating a routine
Children enter kindergarten wide eyed and excited about the future. They are taught to read, count, write and play. Within time children create a pattern for themselves. This pattern either becomes an opportunity or a challenge. Strengths, weaknesses and habits begin to develop. Developing a healthy routine can potentially benefit a child his entire life through.
Children and teens find themselves having to juggle and set priorities. They set goals and make plans and make critical decisions that could affect the rest of their lives. Where do they learn these skills? At what point do children and teens have the opportunity to learn the fundamental skills of setting goals and making plans?
It seems simple. Teach children and teens to set goals so they can plan today and well into the future. One Virginia public school system has embraced this approach. They have implemented the SMART goal system within their school district. This school district trained their faculty whom then taught their student body. The example below showcases how a young student in this school district wants to improve her dance skills. She also uses this tool to improve her math grade.
Renee Lamarque’s goal-setting form mapping out learning to dance en pointe: Renee is 12 years old and attends Glascow Middle School in Alexandra, Va. (To get an A in math, she also filled out a SMART goal-setting template.)
S My SPECIFIC Goal – To get on Pointe
M How will I MEASURE my progress? My teacher will tell me
A This is an ATTAINABLE goal True__ False__
R These are the steps I will take to meet my RESULTS
- Do 6 min of stomach work
- Do diff jumps every class
- Practice balancing on feet
T This is the amount of TIME is will take me _____
Routine establishes many aspects of healthy living, instilling confidence, helping to create good habits, including goal setting skills. Creating structure is necessary in day-to-day life.
Dr. Laura Markman states that children need structure and routines. Below are six benefits of using a routine for children.
- Routines eliminate power struggles
- Routines help kids cooperate
- Routines help kids learn to take charge of their own activities
- Kids learn the concept of “looking forward”
- Regular routines help kids get on a schedule
- Schedules help parents maintain consistency in expectations
The above benefits provide similar if not the same benefits as goal setting. Goal setting is a technique that is learned. It is a habit. If children can pick up the routine / habit of setting goals at a young age, their opportunities will be endless.
Why do kids need routine and structure?
Because routines give them a sense of security and help them develop self-discipline.
Dr. Laura Markman
Goal setting is an important component of child / teens motivation, self-regulation, self-confidence and achievement in academic and non-academic settings. Goal setting can become a routine and or healthy habit. Goal setting can have positive effects on achievement by directing student’s attention to important activities, rewards and away from distractions. If goal setting is added to the classroom learning environment, it is important that students set goals that are attainable. It would also be beneficial for the child / teen to be rewarded for their accomplishments. This brings in a motivational component. The best prize for accomplishing goals is confidence they will gain.
Goal Setting and the Importance in Everyday Life
Simply taking the time to set goals in everyday life can set children / teens free. Free to explore and take hold of possibilities the future may hold. Without goals, there is no direction and no balance.
Goals this week:
Study for math test / TEST: THURSDAY
- 1 hour with math group Monday
- Teachers office hours Wednesday
- 30 min review Wednesday night
- Clean closet out
Pack summer clothes away/ put in basement
- Pack items to give-a-way to charity
- Unpack and organize winter clothes
Spend quality time with Grandma
- Call and make a date
- Put date in my calendar
Every day is an opportunity. Building self-confidence, setting a routine, and making plans will allow for future growth. Self-confidence comes from having a sense of self-understanding. Healthy self-confidence means that a child or teen knows where he excels, and also knows his limitations. To nurture these traits of self-acceptance and self-confidence, teachers and parents should celebrate the areas in which a child is strong, and encourage him to take on leadership roles in those areas.
For example, if a child or teen is good at math, encourage him to help his siblings and or possibly become a math aid at school. If a child is good at sports, encourage her to include fellow classmates who may not have the same skillsets or encourage her to ask the coaches if they need assistance. Parents and teachers become key role models for children and teens. Children follow examples made by adults.