In today’s ever changing world of education, students need to be taught how to take ownership of their learning. Goal-setting is a tool which can be used to increase student’s responsibilities in creating intrinsic ownership in their own learning (Madden 1997). Dale Schunk, an education specialist (2009), found that when successful people had been interviewed about their successes, they attributed goal-setting and self-discipline as two of their major keys to success. The ideas of setting goals and attaining them as a form of success on a personal level are tangible. A psychological study conducted in 2007 (Baumeister, R. F., Vohs, K. D., & Tice, D. M.) demonstrated how intrinsic and personal setting and achieving goals are to the “self” which effects self-efficacy, self-image, and personal success.
Goal setting, however, is not typically taught in education. Goal-setting could prove to be highly beneficial to students at all grade levels. Many students, especially at a high school level are motivated by outside factors, such as grades, and teacher persuasion. There is, however, a lack of goal setting exercises found in education as a whole. Schunk (2009) stated that it is important to teach students how to set goals in a classroom, so that they learn how to set goals in their own personal lives. Starting goal-setting practices earlier in life, and especially in the education setting, will promote goal-setting as a life-long skill.
“Goal setting also is a key component of self-regulation, or the process by which students activate and sustain cognitions, behaviors, and affects systematically oriented toward the attainment of goals (Zimmerman&Kitsantas, 2009).”
The practice of goal setting can stimulate student cognition and behavior. As the students learn the skill of goal setting, they will learn to regulate their own actions, behaviors, and thinking based on the reflections of their setting and reflection of their goal attainment. Setting goals increases students’ motivation and teaches self-direction as well as the value or persistence and personal success (Johnson & Gramm, 1990).
When using goal-setting in a educational setting, an important factor to consider is the student’s self-efficacy. Self-efficacy refers to beliefs about one’s capabilities to learn or perform behaviors at designated levels. (Bandura, 1997). According to Schunk (2003), “self-efficacy is hypothesized to influence task choice, effort, persistence and achievement.” He concludes that compared with students who doubt their learning capabilities, those who feel efficacious for learning or performing tasks, participate more readily, work harder, persist longer, and achieve at a higher level. In order for students to successfully attain their personal goals, their self-efficacy has to be commensurate with the goals which are trying to be reached.
How can students’ self-efficacy be improved? One of the best ways to increase self-efficacy is to provide the students with...