New School Year, New Learning Goals
After an enjoyable summer break, we are already jumping back into a new school year! Most students are (hopefully) settling into school, catching up with their old friends, and making new ones. To help students maintain enthusiasm for school and discover new skills, consider creating a list of educational or learning goals for students at the beginning of the school year. Learning goals acts as milestones and help children navigate their way through the academic year.
What is a Learning Goal?
An educational or learning goal is a list of skills and levels of competency one can be expected to attain upon completion of a course or an academic year at school. Goal-setting is a three-step process that involves:
- Identifying the objective
- Making a plan to achieve the objective
- Defining the outcome of the goal
The best learning goals are those that are unique to a student and are designed based on the student’s learning needs, strengths and weaknesses. It is important that the goals set are realistic and attainable to help sustain motivation and build confidence.
Consider breaking the long-term goals into smaller short-term goals so that the student continues to move towards their mission at their own pace while still hitting milestones. Short-term goals help students celebrate small successes along the way and encourage them to continue on their learning journey. It is especially helpful in the case of younger students who are not ready for a 6-month to a year-long commitment. An example of a short-term goal can be reading for an hour before bedtime for a week to finish a book.
Long-term goals on the other hand are spread out over a semester or an academic year. Continuing the above example, a long-term goal can be reading five books before a semester ends to improve your vocabulary.
What are Learning Goals Important?
Goals provide a structure to help achieve dreams. They motivate students to take the first step towards achieving their mission and lift them up when they experience setbacks. In a study conducted on university students who had failed, it was observed that setting clear goals significantly improved their academic performance. Having new learning goals help students become self-motivators.
What are Some Examples of Learning Goals?
At the start of a new school year, students are often excited about doing something differently, trying something new, and achieving something big. It could be as simple as improving their scores in Math or as complex as fighting the fear of public speaking.
Keeping this in mind, as students go back to school, parents can discuss possible new skills their children are interested in learning this new school year. Here are some examples of learning goals to get you started:
Learning Goals for Improving Performance at a Particular Subject
No one is good at everything. Especially not effortlessly. Each student has their own strengths and their unique interests. Someone excellent in math might not be so gifted in literature or vice versa. So, when a student goes back to school, one of their new learning goals can be to improve their performance in a particular subject that they might have formerly struggled with.
It is important to be realistic while setting this as their educational goal. One can not expect to improve immediately. While grades are an important benchmark of a student’s performance, they are not the only one. It is better not to set goals around grades, instead focus on the understanding of the subject. For instance, if a student struggles with trigonometry, they could aim to solve 5 or 10 problems correctly every day so that they progressively get better at understanding the subject.
If a student chooses to make this their learning goal, encourage them by enrolling them in after-school classes that teach subjects that they wish to focus on.
Learning Goals for Better Time Management
Perhaps Oscar Wilde was a student neglecting his studies when he said, “I can resist anything except temptation.” Just when one decides to work on themselves, polish their knowledge, or acquire new skills, out creeps a lazy voice whispering, “do it later.”
Procrastinating can really reduce the quality of work and impact productivity. Moreover, it can lead to missed deadlines that can be stressful and harmful for one’s mental health.
If a student finds themselves working on a project, or studying for their exam the night before, time management is a good goal to have. One way of doing this is setting personal deadlines that are a day or two prior to the real ones. This way the work is completed before it is due leaving the student time to review it before sharing it with their teacher or professor.
Learning Goals for Becoming a Self-Motivator
Self-motivation in education stems from the desire to learn more. It is fueled by an individual’s passion and curiosity about a particular subject of interest. For instance, if a student enjoys coding, they may have the passion to learn more coding languages, use coding to design an app or fix a product. This desire will compel them to speak to other fellow coders, read articles, take up after-school activities and go beyond the coursework. A long term learning goal in this realm can be something like – code a website for my father using HTML and CSS.
Learning Goals that Strengthen Social Skills
Social skills are an important part of our daily lives. Communication brings people closer and helps one understand the ideas and interests of others. It is no surprise therefore that improving social skills can benefit a student greatly in life. Whether it is working on team projects at schools, universities, or after school activities, sharpening social skills will always help in the long run and open up several career opportunities such as those in PR or HR.
Encouraging students to build learning goals such as volunteering to participate in team academic projects, enrolling in a team sport, joining a book club will help them interact with peers and build their social skills.
The new school year is packed with potential for new learning opportunities. However, the transition from a summer break to a new academic year isn’t always a smooth one. Any additional support is incredibly helpful for students to ease into their new academic environment, set learning goals, and prepare themselves to achieve them. To help students in this process, SkoolofCode has built a range of after-school courses that offer the students practical skills as well as soft skills to achieve their goals. The teachers at SkoolofCode are geared towards aiding them in their holistic development while focusing on making learning fun.