Setting life-long objectives

I was thrilled to find this article in my ASCD SmartBrief last week on the importance of setting objectives. As one of the strategies highlighted in Classroom Instruction that Works, it’s often the first strategy we talk about during the workshop, and often one of the most important things a teacher can do to engage and motivate his or her students.

This article in particular focused on helping students to see how their decisions in school impact their future lives and careers. Students often go through the motions of “going to school” without realizing that decisions they are making at age ten, thirteen, sixteen, can hugely impact the options they have available by age eighteen. One question teachers often bemoan is the inevitable, “When are we ever going to use this?” If teachers can help their students to understand that learning to problem-solve, work through difficulties, prioritize, and network with others will greatly impact their adult lives, then teachers can help students move beyond their sometimes naive views of wanting to dismiss specific skills because they may or may not need them. Instead, the experience of learning itself becomes a lifelong skill and can help students to reach their future endeavors.

9 Comments

  • salma says:

    I do believe that students need to learn and practice to do better job in knowing themselves and take the correct decisions by knowing what is their objectives, so they can go on the correct track and do not be unhappy the rest of their lives regretting the decision they took early in their lives

  • wchambersq says:

    I completely agreed with the article on setting life -long objectives. As educators we are working constantly to teach our students to be life long learners. When we teach our students to problem-solve or work through a difficult problem. we are teaching them valuable life-long skills that they will use for the rest of there lives.

  • Penny Smith says:

    Students are more encouraged to learn when they know the reason why. Setting objectives at the beginning of a lesson allows the students to know exactly what they are going to learn. Once students see the value, they will be more willing to successfully complete the task.

  • Shari says:

    I have found it helpful to post the learning objective on the board each day. However, I am still struggling with making this a more student oriented activity. I’d like for the students to practice goal-setting but they have been so conditioned for “just tell me what to do” and they will decide whether to comply or not.

  • Meghan says:

    I also agree with the article on setting objectives. Our school has shown us proof that students who know where they are going in life are much more likely to get there than those who are just floating around. If we can connect where they want to go with what they are doing in the classroom we are much more likely to produce self-reliant learners and citizens.

  • Julie Kramer says:

    I am an elementary teacher and a graduate student at Walden University who is currently studying about all that is entailed with being a high-performing, effective, and professional teacher. How appropriate that I found this blog about setting objectives, as I agree fully with the article and find it relevant to students and teachers alike. Not only can students “go through the motions” with their educational experiences, in which setting meaningful objectives is imperative. But, teachers can also “go through the motions” of educating by not setting clear and purposeful objectives for themselves. It is crucial that we, as educators “walk the talk” when teaching! Being a reflective practitioner, setting objectives for our students, where we teach for meaning, only displays that we are doing a job that is so important–teaching with purpose! It does not end with teaching our students to be lifelong learners. For we too, as teachers, need to have the passionate objective to be lifelong learners as well!

  • Esther says:

    A former ballet student of mine, spoke at the new teacher initiation for a large school district (she is now 17!) She said that ballet motivated her to achieve and she has finally found a place and a voice that is hers alone.
    As a witness to what she was experiencing, my perspective is that ballet gave her a focus, outside of the barrio. She performed 5-6 times a year around the city, including with Colorado Ballet and took class 2-4 times per week. The work was demanding and the rewards, to her, were life changing.
    It didn’t have to be ballet. It only had to be difficult but doable. It had to provide avenues out of the barrio. And it had to make her see that she was a part of many worlds, not just one.
    Ballet was an avenue for her and it is the road she loved.
    Well, the tutus were pretty good too…

  • Elizabeth Hubbell says:

    Hi Esther,
    Your post is a great example of why I get concerned when schools & districts slash funding for the arts. Not everyone wishes to be an engineer, writer, teacher, financial advisor, etc. I know that I am personally grateful that we have dancers, musicians, artists, and actors in our midst…and we need to find a way to provide opportunities for students to experience these areas as well as language arts, science, math, and social studies. As with this student of whom you spoke, sometimes it opens doors to an amazing world.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Elizabeth

  • Margie Bainbridge says:

    I agree with you 100% this is a vital thing to do with our students and it is something I am constantly talking about and I feel a real need to plan something innovative that will challenge students’ perception. Thankyou you have made me think more about this.

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