This strategy may seem a little indirect – as if benefits the parents of learners almost more than the learners themselves. Remember the days when you were asked what you wanted to be when you grew up? And, you answered any multitude of careers. That was a form of goal setting. People were asking about your dreams, your goals.
The benefits of goal setting for youngsters can be incredible. The research is showing that the higher the expectations for students, the better they perform regardless of socio-economic status. In tutoring students from several local communities I find that to be the case. Students who set higher career goals for themselves also seem to set higher expectations of themselves. They work just a little harder and do extra to achieve their goals.
What’s even more amazing is that when my students set long term goals for themselves, their performance and their work ethic automatically changes. They become much more driven about doing what they need to. It becomes more significant when the practice (ie homework) begins to pay off and they see some success for themselves. Sometimes, it has just been incredible to watch the transformation in some of these students.
There are lots of ways to begin the conversation about goals and careers whether in the car, at the dinner table or any place. There are great books at the library about careers including What Color is my Parachute. Every kid wants to make a difference – it’s in their nature. Sometimes, they just need a little help figuring out what that difference is. Even if they don’t get to their specific dream, they will achieve something important simply because they prepared for something bigger.
(Kathy Stoughton helps people succeed at math and learn how to empower themselves. More of her strategies can be found at EmpoweringLearners.com.)