5 ways your children can establish SMART goals this new term. The new term is just a matter of days away, with so many pupils and students excited at the prospect of returning to school and meeting their peers they had missed during the Christmas break. Niw would be the perfect time to help your children establish goals for this new term. If you start quite early to train your kids on how to set goals, it would keep them motivated, focused and give them direction but defining goals that both you and the child agree on can sometimes be very tasking especially for parents that don’t have a conversational rapport with their children. Notwithstanding, goals setting has a checklist that you can use to set your children on the path of greatness. Your goals has to be SMART SMART is an acronym that you and your children can use as a guide in goal setting. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed. 1. Specific For a goal to be specific you must focus your child’s attention on what you want to be achieved. Instead of saying ‘I want to you to be better in English’, a more specific goal might be ‘I want you to be able to get an A in English’. Your child will still be learning English, but their goal is more specific. To help your child set specific goals, get them to ask questions such as – ‘What do I want to do?’ ‘Why do I want to do it?’ and ‘When do I want to do it?’ Broad goals: To know math To improve my multiplication tables To improve reading and writing Specific goals: To pass my math examination with an A To read a write 12 paragraphs in English 2. Measurable Every goal needs to be measurable, so you and your child or children can see and know when there is progress. To make a goal measurable, you and your child need to answer the question ‐ ‘How much/many do I need to do?’ ‘How do I know when I’ve reached my goal?’ This should be something visible or tangible. It could be increasing by a specific score, getting the exam grades they need to get into secondary school or higher institution, or solving a certain amount of questions of an English book. Measurable goals: I aim to read a chapter of chemistry every week I aim to practice my past questions for an hour daily 3. Achievable Goals must be achievable. This means your child or children must feel challenged about the goal but it must remain doable. To know if a goal is possible, look at if your child or children have the right resources available to them. For example, if they want to improve their problem solving skills at home, do they know which textbooks to use and if they don’t understand do they have a private tutor to guide them? What about practicing for computer based test, do they know tye right website to visit and do they have a plan of action? If passing an exam is the goal, do they have the correct preparation material like past questions to give them the best chance? If they don’t have the right resources, how can they access them? Other questions to be asked are: ‘‘Have other people in this same position done this before?’ ‘Can this be done realistically in the time frame I have?’ and ‘Am I able to concentrate and commit to this?’ Achievable goals: I will solve 5 new mathematics questions daily. (rather than 20) I will begin by reading a page daily (rather than a whole test) 4. Realistic Must goals are not realistic, a goal should be personal and realistic to your child or children. if it matters to them and very realistic they will be more likely to achieve it. A realistic goal is one that is done with a gradual increase over the last step or stage. Imagine asking a student that had a fail grade to come up with an A grade in the next exam, although its possible but the sudden increment can be paralyzing. Encourage students to ask questions such as, ‘Is this the right time for me to achieve my goal?’ ‘can this be done?’ and have the child to understand why it’s important to achieve it. Realistic goals: I love sports so I am going to spend 10 minutes every evening reading physical and health education 5. Timed Every goal should have a deadline or it is just a dream. You should consider discussing ‘the start and finish date’ and ‘the time you need to achieve this goal’. If your goal for the child is to complete a book and understand it, or practice past question papers, they should always have a finish line such as finishing the book or taking the exam. When you provide time restraints, it makes for action and creates this sense of urgency. Timely goals: I aim to take my SSCE exam in June next year I will improve my vocabulary by 200 new words in English in 6 months I will finish a chapter of my biology text book in one week. Examples of SMART goals for studying and passing exams. Eventually your child is left with a goal to focus on. To ensure it is clearly understood defined ask for a review of what is written and write a summarising SMART goal. Encourage them to record it as part of a bigger study and exam plan and ask to refer back to it regularly. Take a look at these examples of SMART goals to get you and your students thinking.