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Report On How Goal-Setting Lesson Went

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Yesterday, I posted about a goal-setting lesson I was going to try today (see Student Goal-Setting Lesson I’m Trying Out On Monday).

I’m happy to say that it went quite well in both my ninth-grade English mainstream class and my Intermediate English class.

The only changes from what I described in my post were that I skipped the poster-making project because of time constraints, and I read portions of the hand-outs to my English Language Learners.

Students for the most part were quite realistic in the goals they set, and I was particularly impressed by what some of them wrote under “Three Things You Are Going To Do Each Week To Accomplish Your Goals.” Here are a few samples:

I’m going to focus on my main goals and if I don’t accomplish it that week, I’ll accomplish it the next week until it is accomplished.

Stop talking in class so much.

Read more to improve my fluency score.

Help others when they don’t know what to do.

Many wrote generic actions like “work harder in class,” and that’s okay. In addition to getting students to think more about their goals, these sheets (which we’ll revisit weekly) will give me some “ammunition” to agitate students instead of irritate them. That’s an old community organizing analysis. Agitate means challenging someone to do what they say they want to do. Irritate means challenging them to do something about you want them to do. I write about this concept both in my book on parent engagement and in my upcoming book on teaching English Language Learners.

Now, with these sheets, I can challenge them to push themselves to achieve goals they have identified and challenge them to take actions that they have said they want to take. It’s not “coming from me.”

I’ll keep you posted.

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

One Comment

  1. I’m lovin’ the concrete approach to student goal setting and appreciate you sharing your method to the madness! I serve as an intern in a 6th grade class in a very diverse community. Outstanding supervising teacher who worries about our kids moving into junior high (public schools–both). She’s tough love all the way and continues to tell them that we’re just trying to “make hard workers out of you so you’re prepared for junior high”–which, by the way, is quite a bit more challenging than elementary school. In the past we have verbally set goals with students related to reading/writing challenges (in-class assignments). Some kids just stall out…unable to think for themselves how to put one foot in front of the other. I will share your ideas with my teacher, as I’m sure this is much more effective for action and follow-through…and it becomes the students’ concerns, rather than falling on teacher shoulders!

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