feedback,  Goal setting,  peer coaching,  Student Reflection,  Teacher Reflection

Goal Setting and Reflecting w Students – new idea


I ask my students to set Goals frequently.  I often feel that this very important concept is greatly under used and not always used well in our PE classes.  Often we ask students to reflect on their work at the completion of a unit and ask them to set goals for the next unit or next time they have this particular unit and this can be difficult when most people find planning a few days in advance very challenging.  How do you grade or comment on this goal setting?

I have moved away from Goal setting as a long term exercise and moved more toward setting goals that will be reflected on in the same lesson or frequently in the same lesson.  My invasion games students are currently looking at group/team goals for every 5 min game that they play.  I am asking them to set a team goal (eg. communicate more clearly on the court – and define exactly what this might look like) and then after their 5 min game of 4v4 they then have 2 mins coaching time to sit and discuss their goal/strategy and what the next goal should be (and it could be the same one every time if they deem it necessary).  However I am also asking them to think about individual goals within their team goal.  So if communication is the issue, could it be that Johnny needs to work on calling out names; and Mary needs to work on her hand up to get attention.  It could also be that Simon needs to work on active listening in Coaching time and Jane needs to work on sharing and asking more questions to communicate her understanding of the game, but all of these fall under the need to communicate as a team.

I feel that we need to be careful about defining goals with kids and setting realistic goals for their individual needs.  I tell my students that if they meet every goal set than they set the bar too low, that they should be working on about 50% – that they shouldn’t meet every goal first time around.  They need to reflect and discuss the goals and they must have enough detail that they can actively explain it and be evaluated by others around them.  This is very powerful as we are looking at working in groups and how this can present opportunities but also be challenging.

Most professions are about team work.  We must continue to teach our students about how to set goals, define what is important and work on articulating that and then reflect and actively engage in this process with others.

At a recent PD meeting, we discussed Professional Growth as a staff at my school (Yokohama Int’l School).  The PD gurus here have come up with this chart.   This resonated with me as a learner and as a teacher for a few reasons, but the main ones were that I could come up with a common idea but create my own focus/goal.  I didn’t have to share this goal with others but under the common theme or umbrella, we could discuss our ideas and research or trials in our classes but be guided by different goals.  The second part is that our work/goals/reflection is not assessed.  The process is discussed and we obviously need to do the work!  But I am not being judged on the work that I do.  I feel that this resonates with me as a teacher, we need to guide our students to set goals that might fail and then look to see that they can communicate the process and understand where they are going.  I can assess to see that the goal you have chosen is a good one and that we can talk about it meaningfully, but if you miss the mark, that is not a fail.

How are you guiding goal setting and reflection?  I would be interested to know what happens in your PE classes, particularly MYP classes.

Image: Net Knot by BasicB licensed CC BY NC



  • mhamada

    Thank you Tania for taking the time to share. Do the children develop these goals in their classrooms with their teachers? Where do the goals come from? Possibly the goals could be wider and I would bring in the PE teacher to see what the goals of his/her unit are in relation to what your children are already looking at – maybe a wider concept? I have really benefited from having an overall theme or concept and allowing others to then spin off with their own goal making personal connections to their growth and interest. I hope it works out for you!

  • Tania

    As PYPC I work with our teaching teams to try to ensure that when social and behavioural goals are set, they are set throughout all learning areas. So if A’s goal is to develop listening skills and follow instructions – he is encouraged to work towards this goal in Art, Music, Classroom, and PE etc. Obviously some learning areas make it are easier to achieve certain goals than others – but our aim is consistency and the whole child. So when setting goals we talk to the child – so how in Music / PE can we make sure we are ‘working with different people’ / ‘ following instructions’ / ‘ being responsible for our belongings’ etc. That way we and the student has a path and direction to follow in all learning areas. If we then find there are problems in Music for example but fabulous steps forward in PE – we can work together to discuss strategies etc. to help work towards success. You now have me thinking though…possibly we should also be looking at gross motor skills, spatial awareness, and more traditional PE orientated goals….will chat to the team. Thanks!

  • mhamada

    Thanks for sharing Alison, I like the idea of continually referring to the task specific clarification and Unit question, I did write these out and then share them with kids along the way and they found this useful to, great to know we are in the business of aiding kids!

  • Alison

    MYP- I set goals using the IB learner profile- similar to the example you gave. If working with an AOI like community and service for example I may use the Unit Question to guide the goal setting process. I also use the MYP criteria early in the unit and the task specific clarification to help students define their strengths and weaknesses and then set appropriate goals too.

  • Alison

    Yep, I like it. Specific and measurable. Why do we try to confuse kids with these long term goals always. As adults many of our goals are pretty immediate. Good goals almost always shout the feedback to you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *