What are targets and why do we set them?

April 15, 2018


Three times a year, I set targets with my students. We reflect on what progress we have made, and perhaps where we have not progressed as much as we would have liked, and we consider where we would like to be in a few months time. This process is so important for many reasons and can benefit our children in different ways.


As we enter the final term of the year, this week was target week, and there was one child who's response to this activity was particularly meaningful. He is a very bright student who has made steady progress throughout the year, but he has been struggling with his confidence. Every new piece is a battle, as he fights with himself to learn something knew whilst feeling extremely anxious about his inability to succeed. 


Every week the cries of 'I can't do it', and 'It's too hard' ring loud and clear throughout the lesson and I praise and push him to keep going. When we looked at his targets that we had set three months ago, he was visibly stunned at what he read. The target said 'get better at playing hands together and moving to differnet positions'. You could see the cogs turning, as he realised that not only had he got better at these skills, but he didn't even remember a time when he hadn't been good at them! Could it possibly be that three short months ago, these were the things he was struggling with? 


His smile said it all, and when I articulated how impressive it was that these were not even things we are concerned about anymore, he was visibly proud and impressed with himself.


For other students, looking at their targets can be a wake up call to get moving. For example, with one student we had set the target to practice 3 times a week, and she had really failed to meet this target. It was a great opener for a conversation about practice habits and how to move forward. We reflected on the speed she was moving through her book and she made the connection between the snails pace in her progression and her lack of practice. 


When children can take ownership over their learning it is a much more powerful experience and as a teacher I want to empower my students to take responsibility for their progress. We are now entering the final term of the year, concerts are on the horizon and decisions about wether to continue with lessons next year or not, are afoot.  If you haven't already, read your targets with your child, ask them how they feel about them and let's move forward together.

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