"When students create their own long-term goals, their work in school instantly becomes more purposeful. Teachers, parents, counselors and other stakeholders can tie lessons, projects and other experiences to those goals, demonstrating how work in school directly connects to future success."
Teachers and administrators understand that the goal of education is to prepare students to thrive and find success in the adult world. Unfortunately, however, this vision is frequently less clear to learners themselves. This disconnect is one of the major reasons students often feel school lacks authenticity or connection to their lives at home and in the world. Although it’s not an explicitly stated part of the Common Core or any official curriculum standards, connecting academic learning to real life outcomes is one of the most important jobs teachers today face. If we don’t get better at doing this, and fast, we risk losing a generation of hungry, capable learners.
The importance of school can be opaque at times to students because they get so focused on the content directly in front of them that they can’t see the forest for the trees. For learners to fully invest in their education and see the value in each and every learning experience, content and skill targets must be tied to overarching, personal, student-set goals. When students create their own long-term goals, their work in school instantly becomes more purposeful. Teachers, parents, counselors and other stakeholders can tie lessons, projects and other experiences to those goals, demonstrating how work in school directly connects to future success.
Of course, for this goal setting exercise to work effectively, it must be highly structured and grounded in accountability. That’s where the SMART Goal setting framework comes into play. SMART methodology makes students think about every aspect of their goal: Is it specific enough? How will they measure success? Do they have a reasonable chance of achieving it? How is the goal relevant to their short- and long-term outlooks? What’s the timeframe, and how will they hold themselves accountable? By coaching learners through this robust, high-accountability structure, teachers and parents help students imagine a successful future for themselves and build metacognitive skill.
Modern Learning Relationship Management platforms (LRMs) provide online toolkits to simplify and curate this goal setting process using a highly visual interface. Using an LRM, students can draw on feedback from peers, family members, teachers and administrators to set and track their progress toward meaningful SMART goals. Teachers can tie lessons, skill targets and learning experiences directly to aspects of student goals to make every moment in school transparently valuable and directly connected to long-term, student-centered outcomes. In this way, LRMs provide incredible support to boost student engagement, accountability and long-term success.
To learn more about how an LRM can support student goal setting, engagement and achievement, schedule a demo of Epiphany Learning today!