It’s no secret: students learn best when they are happy, engaged and have agency over their own learning.
Having the tools to be able to achieve this, in a way that is realistic and sustainable for both students and teachers, is fundamental. That’s where growth goal setting steps in - an empowering way for students to pioneer their learning journey, in collaboration with teachers and family. It’s the self-directed, step-by-step recipe for success - helped with Hero!
Growth goal setting is fundamental
Having clear goals and objectives to work towards underpins any good success story. It’s no different in the classroom. Growth goal setting provides students with a sense of direction, and helps them to recognise the steps needed to progress along their unique paths to success. Sharing these goals with parents adds a further layer of ownership for the students.
As the road to success looks different for everyone, it’s only natural that the stepping stones towards achieving goals will differ too. When goals are set effectively (i.e. when they are specific, personal and challenging), it is proven to have a positive impact on student achievement and wellbeing (NSW Department of Education, 2021, p. 5). Motivation is increased, as students focus their efforts toward goal-oriented activities that are realistic and well-aligned with their ability.
The research supports this. A recent study on Year 5 and 6 students by The Australian Association for Research in Education showed, in summary, that those who set growth goals in mathematics improved more than the students who didn’t (Ginns et al., 2018, p. 13). Though this study only captures one core curriculum area, our time spent as educators paints a very clear picture of how goal setting in the classroom is fundamental to student success. You can read the full study by clicking here.
Helping students to help themselves
Making a difference to student learning remains front and centre for the Hero team. Our unique product was designed to help enable student agency, and support students to easily understand their growth, achievement and next steps. With the help of Hero, goal setting can become a valuable learning exercise in its own right - a tool that encourages ownership and, in turn, fosters student engagement with learning.
So, what can we encourage in the classroom to support students with launching into learning, understanding their progress and ultimately growing?
There’s no ‘I’ in team! Working collaboratively with students provides guidance for self-directing, whilst also keeping goals realistic. With Hero, teachers can tap into each student’s rich learning history to identify exactly what they excel at, and what areas of the curriculum they may need some extra support in. This, alongside learning conversations in the classroom, helps to identify any hidden barriers (Te Kete Ipurangi, NZ), so that students aren’t hindered in their progress.
Over time, students will build the self-efficacy needed to fulfil goals that they set for themselves, making for a more passionate, driven and future focused learner. (The Education Hub, NZ).
Providing timely feedback along key points in the learning journey plays an important role in academic outcomes (NSW Department of Education, 2020, p.12). Hero makes this a simple task for teachers, by providing visibility over which goals have been achieved, and what a student is working towards. Regular check-ins also ensure that students are on track, whilst still preserving what ultimately underpins growth goal setting: student agency.
“Feedback helps reduce frustration and risk of failure, and supports students’ engagement with the goal by directing them to appropriate actions.”
The Education Hub, NZ
Encouraging regular reflection helps students to recognise where they faced challenges, how these were overcome, and what learnings can be applied in order to reach their next goal. Hero’s posting functionality allows students to post reflections, at any time, for both teachers and parents to see and comment on, if the school chooses to enable this feature. This promotes a three-way conversation between the student, their teacher(s) and their parents. It also enriches their learning story - demonstrating a true understanding of their goals, and the steps they had to take to reach them.
Less talk, more action: using Hero to set and achieve goals!
Here’s the good part. Now that you’re wondering how to get students flying with goal setting, monitor their progress, provide timely feedback, and prompt regular reflection... Hero swoops in to save the day! One of Hero’s clever features is our goal progressions toolset. This flexible feature enables schools to customise their goal sets against any curriculum or subject. Schools can build their own set of goals, or make use of Hero’s wide array of preloaded progressions.
Hero schools have adapted a variety of curricula to reflect their own school values and expectations. These progressions are mapped to the school’s expectations for key milestones, so that data collection and analysis is seamless.
On top of progressions, Hero has the ability for students and teachers to add personal learning goals within categories selected by the school. This invites collaboration in the classroom and encourages students to have agency, which has been proven to provide a more engaging learning experience (NSW Department of Education, 2020, p.3).
Hero also provides space for Goal Exemplars to be added within goals. This supports the goal setting process by painting a clear picture of expectation, as well as being food for thought around how a goal may be achieved. Independence is increased, and students are empowered to problem solve with a helpful scaffold to refer back to at any time.
In keeping with our online, real time philosophy, teachers and students can set Hero goals collaboratively, either together in the classroom or remotely. This means that teachers and students, whether working in groups or individually, can together identify the best next steps and update goals live - to keep everyone in the learning loop. Hero also has the ability for goals to be tagged to student posts, so there is snapshot visibility over what a child is working towards at all times. This is an absolute game changer for busy teachers!
One size does not fit all and so personal goals can be created for students with Hero’s personal learning plan options. As this can be shared with caregivers, via the Hero App, it is easier than ever to build a shared understanding and language around learning - strengthening 3-way partnerships.
Hero’s Digital Badging Functionality
One of Hero’s super powerful features is our Digital Badging functionality. Goal sets can be grouped together as micro-credentials, so that digital badges can be awarded to students at the completion of all goals within each level. Students can select the badges they wish to work on, set their own goals and then share evidence accordingly.
Digital badges are not limited to the core curriculum. They can be created for a wide range of purposes, including the likes of values or service, to truly capture the holistic learning journey. We often see, and encourage schools to take creative license in their use of digital badging, to provide a fun way for students to celebrate and see a visual mark of achievement.
Keep an eye out for a deep dive into the world of Micro Credentials and Digital Badging, coming soon to the Hero blog!
Let the deeper connections to learning unfold!
Effective growth goal setting is a powerful, and collaborative way in which we can make a positive difference to learning in the classroom. Hero is designed to make this a simple and streamlined process for students, teachers and parents alike. Instead of goal setting being a generic exercise, Hero helps to make learning relevant, meaningful, and interesting to the learner - so that they can easily map their learning journey through school.
Now, the power is in your hands - how will you harness Hero to get your students flying with goal setting?
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