Having students set goals is a powerful way to help them create a purpose for their learning. Students also create a learning identity that enables them to have agency and productive power. Each year, I have my students set goals for themselves and at the end of the quarter, we review our goals and think of ways that we can operate as agents for our learning needs and learning preferences. As a result of having students set goals, I notice that students are forward thinkers and they consistently predict where my lessons are going in search for relevance and connection to their learning goals. This is good, and I encourage it.
Goals are linked to the student’s Zones of Desirability. Zones of Desirability is defined as the gaps between the students’s knowledge and his or her desire to know. This gap becomes an irritant, thus creating a strong urge to fill his or her knowledge gaps with missing knowledge. As a result, the learner seeks information and self-designs learning experiences that can possibly fill those knowledge gaps thereby creating new knowledge. Moreover, Zones of Desirability limits knowledge fragmentation and is a part of the knowledge building processes and the learning processes that the learner gains. Figure 1 below, shows the flow of knowledge within the Zones of Desirability.
Goal setting permits the student to think about what he or she already knows and what he or she desires to know, thereby enacting the zones of desirability. Much like a young babe exploring his or her environment in order to satisfy curiosities, the learner seeks out experiences and resources that will quell his or her learning desires and fill the knowledge gaps. Finally, goal setting encourages learner ownership and self-directed learning.
To help me set goals with my students, I created the ABCs of Goal setting. It is kid-friendly version of SMART goals. Students are walked through the process with scaffolding pages that will help them to shape their forward thinking and convert their ideas into learning goals.
You can find this product in my TpT store: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/The-Literacy-Butler