Setting goals and breaking these down into manageable steps is a key life skill. This is how Red Bird uses goal setting with learners to help them own their own success.
Ready, Set, Action!
At the end of a Red Bird session, all learners are asked to complete an Action Sheet. We spend the last 5-10 minutes on this and give it a lot of importance.
This is why!
Like many of our learners, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with homework my whole life.
It can be great to embed learning done during the school day, therefore concreting the learning. But sometimes, it can get in the way of home life, interrupting precious time with family and friends, robbing relaxation time for the body and mind. It can also become a tick box exercise rather than anything beneficial.
And sometimes it causes chaos and angst in the home, destroying relationships and tipping already fragile personalities into crisis. So we don’t add to that!
Any action taken after our sessions are either a gentle suggestion by the tutor or a small step generated by the learner. There is no failure on the part of the learner if they don’t do their actions, but instead encouragement and discussion about what got in their way and how they could achieve the following week.
Attach a Reason
Humans are more likely to achieve their goals if there is a really good reason for either doing them, or for not doing them.
The population is divided into those of us that work towards a benefit or work away from a failure.
For example, you are much more likely to exercise if you can pinpoint either how it will prevent you getting ill (away) or that you will be able to fit into that dress (towards).
So all of our learners’ goals need to reflect this.
Lots of New Year’s Resolutions fail early on because people try to get from from start to finish in one leap without taking small steps through the year.
Each week we ask our learners to do something small to help them reach their long-term goal, and that is their focus for the week. These small steps in the right direction will add up to success.
There are plenty of reasons why learners might not be able to complete their weekly actions.
Some of them are real (eg. their family had plans the student didn’t know about), but some of them are avoidable (eg. they lost track of the time on their X-box).
Part of the Action Sheet asks learners to set an exact day and time to complete their actions that fit in with their week. This helps to make these actions real. We also help them to set a Plan B if their initial plan doesn’t work out.
Most importantly, the student is in charge of their learning and setting small, regular actions can soon become positive learning habits.
Make it Emotional
Attaching an emotion to success makes the action worthwhile in the learner’s mind. It’s even better if it works against a negative emotion that is they’re currently feeling.
Suddenly, achieving their goal might be worth the effort if they realise it will stop them feeling sick in maths lessons. Having positive emotions has a massive effect on our well-being. The more positive emotions we have, the brighter our outlook on life.
How did it go?
At the beginning of the next session, our tutors help learners to reflect on their successes. Progress towards their goals and actions is included in this.
If learners haven’t been able to complete their actions, the tutor can explore what happened and help the student weave that into their next Action Sheet.
This process helps reinforce many things: that lessons can be learnt from everything we do; just because you had one blip, it doesn’t mean that this will carry on; maybe you learnt something about the way you learn and can alter it for next time.
Owner of Red Bird Tutoring
Sue launched Red Bird Tutoring in 2018, combining her 20+ years experience as a teacher and school leader with her interest in coaching.
Since its launch, Red Bird has helped hundreds of learners achieve success!
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