Successful people will tell you that the ability to do meaningful and ambitious goal-setting has been the key to their success. Start each morning thinking about what is happening that day, what it will require, and what you need to have to be successful. Turn that thinking into a goal for the day using the Self-Directed Learning Cycle. It’s a tool used in schools that can be replicated at home, and provides structure while building the really important skill of self-direction. This is the opportunity for parents to empower their kids to plan their time themselves and includes:
- Set Goal: Set a goal.
- Plan: Develop a plan to achieve that goal.
- Learn: Learn what you need to know.
- Show: Show evidence of what you have learned.
- Reflect: Reflect on the process.
A great way to start is to think about what you need to work on for today. List the top priorities in order to stay on track. If it’s one big task, then break it up into smaller chunks so that you have a specific plan.
This is not about the outcome. The self-directed learning cycle is process-driven. And the fifth step, reflection, gives kids the opportunity to reflect on that process. Reflection lets them dig deep and is facilitated by you encouraging your kid to consider the experience, not review any facts learned.
The science of learning is pretty clear that almost any student can master similar levels of material, but they do so at different paces and using different processes. The self-directed learning cycle allows kids to design their own learning process and make a plan for the day. When they use it they set a goal, make a plan to achieve that goal, implement the plan, and show what they have done. This process isn’t complete without reflection, so take a moment to talk with your kids about how it’s going. In this case, what are they learning about setting goals for the day? What are they enjoying about the process? What strategies are they developing that they can use again?
If this doesn’t go perfectly, that’s okay. Don’t think about it as a failure; it’s an opportunity and next time they can adjust. Read more here.
Download our Self-Directed Learning Cycle parenting tool to help your kids set and achieve goals.