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Make use of these student goal setting tips for growth and academic success

Student goal setting - Goal setting is often seen as a practice for adults. However, kids and students should also set goals to help them grow up into a balanced adult.

It is natural for students and kids to want to spend time playing video games, watching TV, sports and hanging out with friends rather than studying or reading.

So unsurprisingly, kids do not see the importance of goal setting. This is where adults comes in. The role of parents and teachers is to guide children to set goals and teach them the importance of it.

The other thing is the current school education system places too much emphasis on grades and examinations. I would say that this makes the practice of student goal setting even more significant. Children should not just be taught to be book smart, rather they should be trained to become well rounded mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

student goal setting

Student Goal Setting

There are a few subtle differences between student goal setting and goal setting for adults. Human beings develop their core beliefs and understanding of life unconsciously during childhood. It is very important that during this period a child is guided and nurtured well.

Below is a list of goal categories for children/students.

1. Academic – When setting academic goals, make sure goals set are not just limited to scoring high examination grades. Rather place emphasis too on gaining knowledge and understanding the lessons, stimulating the brain, and the development of creativity and an open mind.

Apart from gaining knowledge, goals should also be set for developing;

- Analytical skills
- Problem solving capabilities
- Decision making abilities
- Communication (being able to effectively get the message across)

2. Social – School is the place kids develop their social skills. It is where they start to leave the comfort and protection of the family. Start by discussing with children on the appropriate way of interacting with others in various situations. Agree with them on what actions are appropriate and set goals for them to achieve it. (Make sure it applies both ways, how they should treat others as well as how others should treat them)

3. Self esteem / confidence - Confidence and self esteem is another area where goals should be set and progress monitored closely. Students should be supported to develop their self confidence, for example being encouraged to;

- Speak up and express their opinions
- Try new things and not be afraid
- Solve problems and not turn to parents for help at every opportunity
- Slowly learn to make decisions for themselves
- Gradually develop independence

Poor self esteem development can lead to various problems later in life particularly in self-acceptance as well as being able to clearly express oneself. Both of this can have a serious negative consequences for the child in the future.

4. Talents/Interest – This is a very important area which parents should help students with. It is important for kids to develop & discover talents and interests while growing up. It helps them develop a purpose of what they want to do in life. This interest and passion will keep kids away from indulging in non-productive negative activities.

It provides a healthy outlet for the kids' creative expression and energy. Apart from that, it also helps facilitate selection of school subjects to take up as well as societies/clubs to participate in. Help children discover their interests by exposing them to different activities and giving encouragement.

5. Health – Health goals should be set as children typically love junk food and spends a lot of time on computers/TV/video games. Agreeing to set one day of the week for only healthy food day and organizing frequent family outings for physical activity helps cultivate healthy living habits for children. student goal setting

6. Emotions – There are many cases of students failing to control their emotions and expressing it negatively. Encourage children to openly share their feelings. Then, teach and agree with children on the appropriate manner of communicating and releasing their emotions. Set goals for them to follow the agreed response to emotions on a consistent basis.

Be careful that they are not suppressing their emotions. Doing that is not healthy and may have more dire consequences in the long term.

7. Beliefs - Core beliefs are developed during childhood. The concern here is that students unconsciously adopt negative beliefs from others or through events that happened. Goals can be set in this area by explaining to students the importance of having empowering beliefs and that setbacks should be interpreted as learning experiences and not failures.

The goal would be to consistently gather empowering meaning from their experiences, and to focus their attention and energy on the positive. An example of how this can be done is to record down what they have learned from every experience, and how & why this experience is valuable.

Final thoughts...

It is important to involve students in their goal setting. Do not set goals for them, rather communicate to them why it is important to set goals, and guide them through the process. Doing this makes the students feel more involved in their learning and development. They will take responsibility and feel accountable for their results. This is infinitely better than trying to ‘make’ the child achieve something you set out for them.

student goal setting

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