So week two at school has come to an end and while it has been lots of time and effort I am actually loving it. The values/ educational philosophy of the school align so nicely with me and my beliefs; it’s just awesome. This week I challenged my class to think holistically about their learning and set their own learning goals. It could be a goal about friendship, a goal about organisation, a goal about maths, reading, writing, or anything else they could think of. Not one of the children questioned my request for them to set their own goal but when it was their turn, they took a moment to think about what they wanted to get better at and then set their goal. I didn’t always accept their goal in its original form for example if a child said they wanted to get better at writing, we took a look at their writing book together, talked about the different elements of writing and then choose a goal that was specific and manageable. One child’s goal moved from, “I want to get better at writing” to “I want to get better at making the picture match my words in my writing.” (Their words, not mine.) Over the next couple of weeks I will keep bringing the child’s goals into the forefront of their minds so they can monitor their progress and we can all celebrate their achievements. I love to share the children’s goals with anyone who visits my classroom, especially the child’s parents and the reception has been great. Children thinking about and taking responsibility for their own learning. Who could ask for more? However a couple of my children choose relationship goals. One said “I want to get better at making friends.” and another said “I want to help my friends when they’re hurt”. Awesome goals that reflect the child’s experiences beyond their structured learning times. As I reflected upon these goals part of me became concerned that others, especially adults, wouldn’t recognise the value in these goals, especially since they sit alongside more traditional learning goals around reading and writing. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised that both of these goals are actually leadership goals in disguise. Let me take you through my thinking…
“I want to get better at making friends” on a deeper level is about developing influence over others, which is the very foundation of leadership! In fact to me if you don’t have influence you are going to be a very ineffective leader indeed.
“I want to help my friends when they’re hurt” on a deeper level is about becoming the person that others turn to in times of trouble. That’s a leader too.
I always knew these goals had value but now I know I can act as an advocate for these children by articulating to the important people in their lives why it is a valuable learning goal. I can’t wait to see how all the children’s leaning goals play out in the classroom and beyond. I think it is so important to give the children back the responsibility for their learning and this is just one of the many ways to do it. I will let you know how it plays out in the classroom.