“Every teacher needs to improve, not because
they are not good enough, but because they can
be even better.” Dylan Wiliam
The famous basketball player Michael Jordan wrote the following about
goal setting in his book, I Can’t Accept Not Trying: Michael Jordan on
the Pursuit of Excellence:
I approach everything step by step....I had always set short-term goals.
As I look back, each one of the steps or successes led to the next one.
When I got cut from the varsity team as a sophomore in high school, I
learned something. I knew I never wanted to feel that bad again....So I
set a goal of becoming a starter on the varsity. That’s what I focused on
all summer. When I worked on my game, that’s what I thought about.
When it happened, I set another goal, a reasonable, manageable goal
that I could realistically achieve if I worked hard enough....I guess I
approached it with the end in mind. I knew exactly where I wanted to
go, and I focused on getting there. As I reached those goals, they built
on one another. I gained a little confidence every time I came through.
...If [your goal is to become a doctor]...and you’re getting Cs in biology
then the first thing you have to do is get Bs in biology and then As. You
have to perfect the first step and then move on to chemistry or physics.
Take those small steps. Otherwise you’re opening yourself up to all
kinds of frustration. Where would your confidence come from if the
only measure of success was becoming a doctor? If you tried as hard
as you could and didn’t become a doctor, would that mean your whole
life was a failure? Of course not.
All those steps are like pieces of a puzzle. They all come together to
form a picture....Not everyone is going to be the greatest....But you can
still be considered a success....Step by step, I cant see any other way of
I Can’t Accept Not Trying: Michael Jordan on the Pursuit of Excellence is
published by HarperSanFrancisco, a division of HarperCollinsPublishers (ISBN 006-25119)
STUDY BACKS UP STRATEGIES FOR ACHIEVING GOALS
Psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews from Dominican University has
advice for those who put ‘stop procrastinating’ on their list of New Year’s
resolutions: Share your goals with a friend.
Research recently conducted by Matthews shows that people who wrote down their
goals, shared this information with a friend, and sent weekly updates to that friend
were on average 33% more successful in accomplishing their stated goals than
those who merely formulated goals. Matthews became interested in the study of
procrastination about 10 years ago after reading an article in Fast Company
magazine about the ―1953 Yale Study of Goals.‖ The premise of the study — that
people who write down specific goals for their future are far more likely to be
successful than those who have either unwritten goals or no specific goals at all —
has inspired the teachings of many self-help authors and personal coaches. The
only trouble is that the study was never actually conducted. The 1996 Fast Company
article debunked the Yale study as little more than an often-quoted urban legend.
However, Matthews’ research now backs up the conclusions long attributed to
the mythical Yale study. ―With the proliferation of business and personal
coaching and the often anecdotal reports of coaching success, it is important that
this growing profession be founded on sound scientific research,‖ Matthews
said. Matthews recruited 267 participants from a wide variety of businesses,
organizations, and networking groups throughout the United States and overseas
for a study on how goal achievement in the workplace is influenced by writing
goals, committing to goal-directed actions, and accountability for those actions.
Participants ranged in age from 23 to 72 and represented a wide spectrum of
backgrounds. Participants in Matthews’ study were randomly assigned to one of
five groups. Group 1 was asked to simply think about the business-related goals
they hoped to accomplish within a four-week block and to rate each goal according
to difficulty, importance, the extent to which they had the skills and resources to
accomplish the goal, their commitment and motivation, and whether they had
pursued the goal before (and, if so, their prior success). Groups 2-5 were asked
to write their goals and then rate them on the same dimensions as given to Group 1.
Group 3 was also asked to write action commitments for each goal. Group 4
had to both write goals and action commitments and also share these commitments
with a friend. Group 5 went the furthest by doing all of the above plus sending a
weekly progress report to a friend. Broadly categorized, participants’ goals
included completing a project, increasing income, increasing productivity,
improving organization, enhancing performance/achievement, enhancing life
balance, reducing work anxiety, and learning a new skill. Specific goals ranged
from writing a chapter of a book to listing and selling a house. Of the original 267
participants, 149 completed the study. These participants were asked to rate their
progress and the degree to which they had accomplished their goals. At the end
of the study, the individuals in Group 1 only accomplished 43 percent of their stated
goals. Those in Group 4 accomplished 64 percent of their stated goals, while those
in Group 5 were the most successful, with an average 76 percent of their goals
accomplished. ―My study provides empirical evidence for the effectiveness of
three coaching tools: accountability, commitment, and writing down one’s goals,‖
Setting S.M.A.R.T.er Goals
Goals are “wants” – targets that we wantto achieve.
For something to be a goal, it has to:
be important to you personally
be clearly defined
be within your power to make it happen through your own actions
be something you have a reasonable chance of achieving
have a specific plan of action
When setting goals make sure that your goals are:
Your goal is right to the point.
Know exactly what you want, what you’d like to see happen, what
you are striving for.
The more specific the goal, the easier it will be to get it.
You will know when you have reached your goal.
You can keep track of your progress and see if you are moving
toward your goal.
Ask: How much? How many? How will I know when it is accomplished?
Only you know that you want. It follows then that only you can
write your goals.
Your goal is something you know you will achieve.
It should not be so challenging as to be impossible to achieve, nor
should it be so basic that it can be achieved with little or no effort.
Can you see yourself there?
Your goal is something you know you will achieve and it won’t be
impossible to reach.
It is not beyond your ability.
It can be accomplished.
You have the knowledge, skills and competency to reach it.
Your goal has a clear “start” and “end” date.
There is a time frame.
The amount of time you have to reach your goal is reasonable
– not too short, not too long.
Apply the GROWTH model to your goals
Goal - What do you need to achieve?
Reality – What is happening now?
Options –Consider what you could do
Will –What will you do?
Tactics – How and when will you do it?
Habits – How will you sustain your success?
Your goals should be “SMART”
My Action Plan to get there
What went well?
Anything I’d do differently next time?
Some learning goals for growth to consider - One specific thing I need to do better to improve my students' learning
Generating Geography resources
Formative assessmentMeta-cognitive learning strategies
Classroom management skillsLesson starters and plenaryPositivity ratio in class