Setting goals to achieve success at school is usually dependent on several factors like the child’s ability, age, strengths and aspirations.
However, learning how to set realistic goals is what helps to motivate your children to reach their fullest potential at school. Goal-setting charts should not be focused on only academic results. It should also reflect habits that your children would like to inculcate as well as skills that they would like to improve over time.
In most Singapore primary schools, teachers often create opportunities to do goal-setting with the children at the start of the term to create a positive learning environment in the classroom.
At home, you should endeavour to do the same with your children to demonstrate the importance of this exercise. Goal-setting teaches them to be responsible for their own behaviours and learning. It also promotes an attitude of perseverance when they hit a low point in their school life. This lifelong skill can be used throughout their lives so why not start them off young?
How to begin the goal-setting process
Allow your children to decide on the goals that they want to achieve at the end of a certain period. Goals can be short or long-term, depending on what they hope to gain at the end of it. For children who may be struggling with some aspects of their academic learning, short-term goals may be easier for them to start off with as these motivate them to work towards meeting their target.
Then, sit down and discuss the purpose of their goals. There is a reason why these goals have been chosen by your children. Could achieving these goals cause them to be viewed differently by their peers? Are they influenced by how others view them thus these goals were decided based on changing other people’s perception? Will they be able to help others upon meeting their goals? Understanding their intentions will guide them better in their path to realising their dreams.
Break down their big goals into smaller steps for them to see that they need to work in progression in order to reach their destination. You can use this opportunity to encourage your children to think about the possibility of meeting obstacles along the way and ask them how they would like to overcome these possibilities. This allows them to work on problem-solving skills whilst planning their goals.
Most importantly, set these goals together with your children so they will feel supported by you.
Success Criteria for Primary School Children in Singapore
1. Academic Goals
Academic goals are focused on making improvements to meet or reach a specific milestone in their learning process. At the primary school level, these goals can be targeted in bite-sized components, like weekly spelling, to bigger tasks like the school’s assessments. Rather than to compete against their peers, your children’s targets should be based on their ability in achieving said goal. By creating an environment where they have room to develop a positive work attitude, they will be able to see the difference it makes to their academic journey in due time.
Grade-based academic goals should always be realistic, measurable and achievable:
- I will improve my English spelling by ____% next week.
- I will achieve ____% on my next examination for _______________ (insert subject)
- I will work on _______________ (topic) for _______________ (subject) for 20 minutes every day to achieve ____% at the next assessment.
2. Habit-based goals
As the goal title suggests, these are focused on habits that your children want to inculcate or break. Such habits could range from not talking in class to setting aside time at home to read every day. Habit-based goals are necessary in order to support academic-based goals better.
When a good habit towards learning is developed, it naturally lends a foundation to boost their attitude in wanting to do better academically. They also equip your children with the necessary tools, or life skills, to improve themselves for better confidence.
Habit-based goals are actionable, individualised and specific, such as:
- I will read one chapter of a book every night before bed
- I will raise my hands to contribute my answers to the discussion in class
- I will set a timeline for each big project that my teacher assigns to me so that I can finish my work punctually
Review, Readjust, Rewrite, Reset
As with every goal-setting activity, what happens next when the target has been achieved or what happens if the target has not been achieved after the set period of time?
At the start of this activity, you should come to an agreement with your children that a review will take place after a period of time. This review is not the time for you to dish out consequences for unmet goals, but rather, to help your children readjust their goalposts after a period of observation on their struggles at school. Perhaps their expectations were too high. Perhaps there were several unforeseen circumstances that impeded your children’s ability to meet their target.
Sit down and rewrite the goals after your discussion to alter its achievability and then prepare your children to reset their mentalities in order to hit their target in the new term.
How MindChamps enrichment programmes can help
With encouraging and supportive teachers, children will be inspired to improve the quality of their work through the fun-filled and hands-on activities in class. This could be a consideration for parents who are looking for successful programmes to help their children in their primary school journey.
Written by Danielle Hee