The practice of goal setting, and supporting learners to identify their next steps, lays the foundations for life-long learning and cultivates skills that extend beyond the classroom, including self-motivation, reflection, perseverance and a growth mindset. Implementing an effective process for this in the classroom plays a vital role in ensuring students can map out their individual roads to success.
Recently, Felicity Goodfellow (Hero Consultant), had the privilege of seeing Hero’s Goal Setting functionality in action at St John Bosco School (New Plymouth). Working alongside Cushla Young (Senior Team Leader & Teacher) and Felix Page (Teacher), and accompanied by Matthew Moorby (Deputy Principal), Felicity observed the management of this process, with the team supporting students to upload evidence, tag it to their goals and share their progress with caregivers in real time.
In this blog, Felicity unpacks this approach - exploring how Hero's toolset is effectively used to support pedagogy, make learning both meaningful and visible, and truly unleash learners’ potential.
About St John Bosco School
Located in New Plymouth, St John Bosco School is an integrated Catholic Primary School inclusive of Year 1 to 6 learners. With founding values that lie in providing a nurturing, caring and inclusive environment, students are able to thrive across all academic, religious, cultural, sporting and recreational programmes.
Community is at the heart, and as part of the learning journey, families gain visibility over their children receiving stimulating, creative and modern educational opportunities - as showcased in this blog!
Observations: Pedagogy and Process
The team at St John Bosco have fostered an environment that supports their pedagogical vision - that is, a space where learning is targeted, visible, understood, and celebrated. Shared learning spaces lend a hand to collaboration between teachers, with their learners, and amongst the learners themselves.
It’s a Wednesday afternoon, and learners are deep in the process of reviewing their maths progress, including mapping out next steps through goal setting. Teaching staff, Cushla and Felix, are joining forces to facilitate this session in their interconnected learning spaces.
Utilising Hero’s ability to create tracking groups, Felix sets about to support those students who could benefit from more targeted teaching and learning. In the meantime, Cushla monitors other learners as they work independently on goals, including supporting them through uploading their evidence of learning and tagging this to their goals.
To facilitate learner agency, the team have ensured that each goal has an exemplar attached to it, and this exemplar directs the students to their ‘Maths Hub’ - a handy Google site with videos and tutorials to drive self-directed learning. With this as guidance, students complete their tasks and upload their evidence to the relevant Hero Learning Page - in this case, the Maths Page - and tag it to the goal they are working on.
With completed tasks now recorded in Hero, students share their learning with Cushla. This is easily done by Cushla opening the student’s profile in Hero, and navigating to their ‘Next Steps’ area to view the uploaded evidence. If the provided evidence is appropriate and supports the identified goal, Cushla can then mark the goal as ‘Complete’ - or, alternatively, provide feedback to the student should they need to revisit the task.
This is all completed via the Hero app, with students benefiting from access to 1:1 iPads. Through a few simple clicks, they are able to log into Hero and resume learning exactly where they left off - providing targeted direction for the lesson ahead.
Outcome: Engaged and Empowered Learners
The team at St John Bosco have a deep understanding of how best to engage their students, and have tailored the structure of their lessons to enhance this. Through these collaborative sessions, in which Cushla and Felix ‘divide and conquer’, each learner is being met where they are on their unique learning journey.
With strong pedagogy driving this process, Hero’s smart toolset is able to soar. Through individual Hero profiles, students are provided with the agency to view their own goals and, therefore, clearly see the pathway of their learning. Upon completion of each goal, students meet with their teacher to discuss the next goal that they would like to work on. This gives students both choice and voice, so that they can take ownership of their learning - making for a more engaging experience.
Hero’s ability to add goal exemplars enables students to work through tasks and activities at their own pace, increasing self-sufficiency. Exemplars provide an alternative avenue for students to access support, without needing to go directly to their teacher. At St John Bosco, this means that each learner feels empowered to drive their learning, with the reassurance that their teacher is there for regular check-ins, or to guide them through any tricky intersections.
Subsequently, students feel motivated through the ability to constantly progress. When they complete a goal, they move forward - supporting teachers to differentiate learning based on where each learner, or groups of learners, is sitting.
Hero’s tagging functionality enables learners to align their tasks and supporting evidence with the goals they are working on. When posting evidence, students simply select the tags most relevant to the work and goals they are focusing on. Students can then make the connection between the work they are doing, and how it is leading them down the right path to achieve their goals - making learning more meaningful. This also provides a further layer of visibility for teaching staff. Tag data is automatically collated, and this can be analysed to give a snapshot of progress across groups, classes, and school-wide.
Each post made to a learners’ profile throughout this process, whether that be by the teacher or the learner themselves, accumulates over the course of their primary years. The outcome? A live, digital portfolio that can also be shared with caregivers - painting a rich picture of progress and achievement.
It was a real pleasure to witness the ways in which the St John Bosco team have harnessed Hero to support their pedagogy. Students truly are at the heart of their heroic work, and seeing this in action was a powerful reminder of why we created Hero.
About Felicity Goodfellow
As a former Secondary School Health and Physical Education Teacher in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, Felicity is well-versed in the unique pressures of diverse school environments. Schools love connecting with Felicity: her sparkling personality and sense of fun, as well as her ability to listen and solve problems, mean that she is always in demand and delivering value in her work with schools and leadership teams. Learn more about Felicity’s education experience, by clicking here!