Lesson 13 - Goal Setting and Lesson Planning Illinois State Library


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Rick, a 35-year-old drop out with very limited reading and math ability, came to the literacy program wanting to improve his reading. Initially, Rick indicated that he wanted to improve his reading because it would help him at work. Of further goals, he was unsure or unable to verbalize. He has a family and a job as a laborer. He worries about what his family would do if he lost his job. He thinks a GED might help.

Questions for consideration as you work through this lesson

How do Rick's goals inform the tutoring session? How will you, as a tutor, assist Rick to set interim and long term goals? How will you assist him toward those goals and recognize his progress?

Key Point

Learners come to adult literacy tutoring with goals in mind. An adult learner decides to pursue educational goals for adult reasons. These reasons vary widely and may include such goals as wanting to get a GED, wanting to read to their children or wanting to become eligible for a promotion at work. All of these goals are incredibly important.

These goals are as important to you as a tutor as they are to the learner. Goals give both the learner and the tutor a reason to study together. Goals give both the learner and the tutor an end to work toward. Goals give both the learner and the tutor a measurement of progress so that both participants will know when goals are achieved. In this lesson you will learn about goal setting, using goals to inform lesson planning and using goals to measure achievement.

A long-term goal is a destination, like the mountains. Short-term goals are signposts along the way that measure progress toward the long-term goal. One of your jobs as a tutor is to translate these goals into objectives for lesson planning and to facilitate learning so that the student will progress towards their goals.

Goal Setting

A tutor can help the learner identify and work toward realistic learning goals. However, the role of the tutor is to facilitate the identification of goals. A tutor needs to be cautious that the goals are truly the learner's goals and not the tutor's goals. Listen to the learner to discover what their goals are and which goals they wish to pursue first. The learning goals need to be owned by the learner.

Goals change as achievements take place. As a learner works toward one goal, a new goal may surface. Revisiting goals and refining goals will be a continual process during tutoring. Achievement of short-term goals is a measurement of successful progress towards the long-term goal.

Goal-setting was discussed briefly in Lesson 3. You may find the Motivation and Goal Setting Worksheet cited in the Goal Setting - Reflective Activity helpful at this point in your training.

Additionally, the Goal Setting Guide by Arina Nikitina could be used to help adult learners identify achievable goals. Ms. Nikitina advises using the SMART process. Goals should be:

As you work with the adult learner to set goals, be specific. Specify what the goal is. Specify why they have that goal and how they intend to achieve the goal. Help the learner to be specific by using action verbs such as learn, increase, research, develop, plan, or build.

Learners are often unrealistic because of their unfamiliarity with the length of the learning process. Tutors may need to assist the adult learner to break their goals down into smaller steps. The steps may help the adult learner see that it takes time to reach goals.

Goal Setting - Reflective Activity

Take a minute to reflect on the information you just read about goals and submit a reflective email addressing the statement below.

Establish one long term goal you imagine an adult learner might have. Identify several short term goals that address that long term goal. Identify some overall topics you will need to teach on the way to meet that goal.

Compose an email to your trainer. Put the title Goal Setting - Reflective Activity in the subject line. Copy and paste the paragraph into the body of the email. Then type in your answer and send it. Completing this assignment is a requirement of your training. Your trainer will respond to you through email.