The Importance of Goal Setting in Students’ Lives

The Importance of Goal Setting in Students’ Lives
By Ahmad Amirali

Yesterday, after-school session, one student (aged between 13 to 14 years) came to me and asked, ‘Sir, I want to become a doctor, but my friend want to become a football coach, so should I become a football coach, a doctor or an Engineer because my mama want me to become an engineer’. Well, I must say, the struggle was real. Kids at this stage, often, encountered such issues like setting up new year’s goals, future goals, career goals, what they want to achieve and how they make their goals.

Several types of research have been done in the past two decades about the relationship between students’ goal setting and their achievements towards their goals. The question is what role does the teacher play in setting up their students’ goals? One such research was carried out by Midwest Comprehensive Centre that says ‘Goal setting in isolation cannot be assumed to produce positive outcomes for students. Like most instructional practices and interventions, the outcomes associated with student goal setting will vary depending on how educators design and implement their goal-setting strategies’.

According to the research, the following five tips may help educator to motivate their students to set-up their goals on their own.

Mastery vs Performance Goals

Students who are focused on gaining new knowledge and skills (i.e., the intrinsic reward of enhanced learning or ability) are said to possess a “mastery” goal orientation. In contrast, individuals who are focused on the completion of tasks and anticipation of extrinsic rewards, recognition, or status are said to possess a “performance” goal orientation (Dweck & Leggett, 1988). According to the study, when teachers emphasised a mastery goal orientation, students were more likely to adopt a personal mastery goal orientation. Students in these classrooms were also more likely to have higher intrinsic motivation.

Let Students set their Own Goals

I observed in my classrooms that when students receive motivation from teachers, they not only perform extraordinarily in their classes but also take a keen interest in acquiring new knowledge and skills. Teachers should help motivate students to set their own goals. According to CEP (2012), ‘if students are helped to set their own goals, they may be able to establish motivation and boost their achievement’.

Help Students to take Ownership of their Goals

Teachers should help their pupils to not only set their desired goals for their future but also to take ownership of these goals. It is essential for the student to keep them remind by teachers that ‘Why does this even matter to me?’ student will achieve their goals only when they feel responsible for their future targets.

Write, Track and Reflect (WTR)

Reflecting over and over again on your set targets is very important if one wants to achieve them. If I ask today from my class, what they want to become? They might come up with a bunch of random thoughts. These are just thoughts; maybe tomorrow they come up with a different set of ideas and goals. Therefore, students who engage in the habit of writing down their daily targets and objectives have more probability of achieving their set goals.


Appreciation in any manner is important because it helps students to keep working hard towards their goal. Whether small or big appreciation even in the form of words from a teacher makes quite a difference in students’ lives.

Still, do these tips are enough to help students setting-up their future goals? let me know your views in a below comment 😊

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