Setting goals for the New School Year: How to keep your children motivated?
Setting goals for the New School Year: How to keep your children motivated?
In their quest for knowledge, clear, measurable and achievable goals could make the learning journey exciting for children
It is the job of parents and teachers to help students plan, explore, discover and realise their potentials
There is hardly any better joy than the joy of learning. Since, human beings are primordially learning beings, acquiring new knowledge, unearthing new facts and uncovering new truths are the kind of experiences that come naturally to us and the process gives us an inexplicable pleasure and satisfaction.
Though, pursuit of knowledge is a lifelong journey, it is best acquired when young, when the mind is sharp and fresh and the heart is unblemished, and when the spirit is high!
Youth is the time when the energy levels are the highest, thirst for knowledge is relentless and the levels of curiosity are immense. Hence, it is the best time to learn and mould the characters and minds in the reflections of knowledge and set the foundations for lifelong learning.
It’s a mission through which we discover ourselves, define our existence and give meaning to our lives. The job of parents and teachers is to convey this in words and ways that learners can appreciate and understand.
Schools are in the best position to tap into this urge of the children to know, they are the platforms that facilitate our individual and collective quest for knowledge of the unknown.
Children are naturally curious and are excited by the prospect of new discoveries, hence the job of the schools is to ensure that the process of learning is exciting.
Schools should shape their environment and culture is such a way that the thought of going to school should excite the students.
As we enter a fresh academic year, full of possibilities and opportunities, the job of parents is to highlight to the children the exciting prospects of discoveries, exploration and realisation ahead of them.
If parents manage to do this and teachers maintain the level of excitement in the process of learning, then students will be motivated by the prospects, finding education enjoyable rather than burdensome.
Learning comes through constant efforts and consistent striving. It involves listening, reading and observing, application of heart and mind, processing of the information acquired and drawing meaning and conclusion.
Learning and striving of any kind needs planning and goal-setting. Without goals and plans, little progress can be achieved and without progress life becomes empty and meaningless.
Life is made up of collections of milestones such as hours, days, weeks, months, quarters, years and decades. In order to make each of these milestones worthwhile, we need to make clear targets and goals that will help us progress in our quest for meaningful and purposeful existence.
These goals could be anything from getting a better command over a language, mastering a subject or game, becoming a better speaker, developing deeper insights or achieving certain positions in our schools and society.
No matter how lofty or appealing a goal is, it is easy to lose track of its progress over a period of time. Plans and goals get derailed if we don’t make them simple, clear and measurable. In order to achieve any target, it is essential to give yourself a timeline or a deadline.
But, before we set out to make goals we need to know ourselves. Self-awareness is key to understanding oneself in terms of one’s strengths and weaknesses, qualities and characteristics as well as emotions and aptitudes.
This includes learning to accurately assess one’s strengths and limitations, having a positive frame of mind, and possessing a balanced sense of one’s competence and confidence.
Greater levels of self-awareness require the ability to understand how thoughts, feelings, and actions are interconnected, and how they could be harnessed to work together to achieve a goal.
As we step out on a new quest of acquiring knowledge, it is essential that we know our strengths and weakness and plan our journey accordingly. Our goals should be the reflections of our strengths and weaknesses.
Once we identify our strengths and weaknesses, we know what subjects we are good at and what needs improvement. This will make our job of setting goals easy.
In some cases, children may not be able to judiciously study their personalities and properly identify their strengths and weakness. In such cases, teachers and parents have a role to play in guiding, nudging and helping them make the best choices.
Every child is unique and their personality covers the faculty of intellect, inclinations, interests and aptitude and these should be considered when setting goals that are realistic.
With the right understanding of the child’s abilities and type of intelligence and personality, parents and educators can give the learner the right direction and help them define their goals.
Goals could be anything from further improving in a subject that have you done well in, but you know that you have the potential of doing better. It could also be the area you have struggled in, such as sports or social activities. You can identify a game and set a target of achieving a particular level of proficiency in it. These goals could be both short term and longterm.
You can have weekly and monthly targets of working on your goals as well as quarterly and annual. Breaking the process down and focusing on smaller milestones will help you reach your larger goals and realise your greater vision of where you want to reach in a particular stream.
Pursuing these targets and goals would require a high level of discipline. The pursuit will call for a great degree of sacrifices.
Training and nurturing in this regard help students regulate behaviours, which include the ability to delay gratification, manage stress, control impulses, and face challenges affectively in order to achieve personal and educational goals.
Having a goal is one thing and learning to set them and pursue them is an entirely different business.
Whatever their targets are for the year, putting in some thought and planning before school begins can help your child start school on track, with a positive mindset—and set them up to reach their goals.
This is where learning to set goal becomes important. Learning to set goals helps children have a sense of independence and control over their lives.
When children get the idea that they have the freedom to make their choices, then they are more likely to decide what they want to accomplish. When they have the freedom and responsibility they are more likely to be motivated to chase the goals and complete the targets for their own satisfaction rather than doing it for someone else.
This process and sense of purpose will also make them future-oriented, encouraging them to look beyond the moment.
So, what does the process look like?
The critical process of goal setting includes the power of intention, strategic thinking, planning, measuring, working, following up, and self assessment.
Pursuit of goals is a tough business even for adults, hence children will find it even more difficult, requiring constant nudging, monitoring and guidance.
Language is the key here. Beyond the simply understanding of what a goal is, make sure your child understands how to work towards a goal including learning how to strategise, organise, and prioritise.
Having a clear vision will give you clarity of the goal.
- Goals should be specific, measurable, practical, achievable and time-bound.
- Don’t be vague.
- Set easier goals first.
- Keep difficult targets for later.
- Plan and put the goals on paper.
- Design a working model.
- Take small daily steps leading towards the goal.