As a new academic year ramps up, so do goals for student achievement, curricular reforms, teacher development, and more. Setting high expectations, though, isn’t enough to guarantee that those expectations are met. After all, many of us set goals for ourselves every year that we fail to achieve.
Here are five research-based tips to help convert goals to growth — for teachers, school leaders, and learners at every level.
Believe it’s possible. We all have dreams. Growing up I wanted to dunk a basketball and be the fastest human on the planet. However, as a slow, overweight kid, I never really believed either was achievable, so I put little time and effort into them. The research on growth and learning mindsets confirms the importance of believing that intelligence and ability are malleable in driving effort and persistence. As you set goals for yourself and others, use stories of struggle-to-success as reminders that achieving difficult goals is hard work, often involving many failures along the way. Setting the expectation for the ups and downs of learning can actually help sustain the belief in the possibility of success.