M.A.T.H. Tips: Vol. 12

Are Your Students’ Goals SMART?

217872049At the beginning of the term we often encourage students to set goals. One suggested scheme is SMART goal setting. First discussed by George Doran in 1981, the acronym stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measureable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time Dependent

A goal like “study hard” is replaced by a SMART goal would be expanded to say something like “spend at least 3 hours a week outside of class on homework and studying.”  Most of us cannot realistically have a goal of being a 7 ft. 4 in center in the NBA. We might be able to practice to a point where we can shoot free throws at a 75% success rate. As you help your students create their goals for the term, keep the above in mind. If they set SMART goals, it will be much easier for them to know if they actually achieved them!

Another good idea with respect to goals is to try to make behavioral goals rather than achievement goals.

Some goals are not in our control (like being 7 ft. 4 in). Goals like passing boards, getting an A in a class, even getting a degree are not directly in students’ control. However, attending class, doing assigned work and reading, and studying for tests are all things a student can do. These behaviors often lead to their outcome goals. So if there is an outcome goal, like getting an A in a class, it needs to be followed up with the behavior goals that will support it.

In setting behavior goals that are also SMART your students will have a clear idea of what they need to do to be successful in your class. You can meet George Doran on this video here.


September Time Savers!

371601100At the start of the semester it can sometimes seem like there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. In this Tips and Tricks we present time saving strategies to increase your efficiency.

  1. Don’t over prepare – Trust yourself! Use what you did in previous semesters and adjust in small increments. Reuse material by changing values and numbers or mixing up the variables.
  2. Try a problem-solving day –To reduce prep time and cut down on grading try spending a day working with the students in class on problems and having them present and solve during the class period. This gives students time to digest and work with material and provides you with insight into where individual students are struggling.
  3. Name the goal of the day –Identify the one goal that needs to be done before everything else, or that will make everything else easier to accomplish, then tackle that goal first.
  4. Do one thing for tomorrow today—At the end of each day try to identify one small task you can complete to make the next day run smoother, even if it is identifying the Goal of the day.
  5. Try Time blocking – Often time can get away from us if we have too many tasks on our to-do list. Scheduling time blocks to complete routine tasks such as updating the gradebook, lesson planning, photocopying, can help us better manage our time over the course of a week and prevent that last-minute rush before class to get things done.

How Growth Mindsets differ from Students to Teachers

BLD121564It is well documented that a student’s perception regarding their ability to learn directly influences their academic outcomes. It turns out the instructor’s perception also plays apart in the outcome. This study examined growth mindsets between teachers and students. The results show that how instructors engage students plays an important role in how students perceive their ability to learn.

Read the study.