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by Erica Fischer on Oct 10, 2017

Setting Goals in the World Language Classroom

Teaching individual goal setting can be a challenging, yet useful tactic to encourage growth in a World Language Classroom. This #langchat discussion looked at all of the possibilities, tools, and benefits to setting goals for world language students.

Types of Student Goals

World Language teachers want their students to succeed and aspire to gain proficiency in their target language. Helping students to make goals for themselves is a great way for teachers to instill motivation and a desire to learn. For example, French teacher @mmeshep is “VERY intentional about helping students set and monitor their success on proficiency goals.” @FrenchBear04 said, “I train students to write goals for themselves. Can Do’s and Performance rubrics are a big help for that!” Short-term and long-term goals may look different depending on the student and the classroom. @MllesrtaUrso described these goals by saying, “Short term = unit goals; long term = acquisition goals. For instance: Long-term: Have a conversation in the target language. Short term: Describe what’s going on in a soccer game.” One can start setting goals with students at “the beginning of year. Ask [students] about their strengths & challenges [in order to know] what to celebrate and what to work on for the year” (@SenoritaBasom).

Effectively Monitoring Students’ Goals

#Langchat teachers discussed the various techniques used to effectively monitor students’ goals. @Magistertalley “mainly [monitors] through in-class observation and verbal check ins.” @FrenchBear04 said, “look/listen for evidence while students converse amongst themselves. Goals [can be] visible during class.” Also, teachers recommended tools such as Google Sheets and Seesaw as helpful for tracking goals. According to @GrowingFrench, “monitoring goals is easy, getting every student to really work towards their goal is harder.”

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Tech Tools to Help Track Students’ Goals

Technology aids World Language teachers in tracking students’ goals.

  •      Spanish teacher @SECottrell shared, “Edmodo now lets you archive a class group and create a new one, so I can go back and see what kids were doing two years ago.”
  •      German teacher @FrauSMHS said, “I keep voice recordings of the [students] through the year. I’ll play them with the [students] as the year goes to show how far they’ve come.”
  •      @PRHSspanish advises, “Links, and docs, and blog posts, oh my!!”
  •      @ProfeTCBennett utilizes, “Google classroom and quizlet.”
  •      @Kelferg said “I use letsrecap for speaking, and showing parents at conferences.”

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Encouraging Students to See the Value in Goal Setting/ Personal Growth

How do teachers help students recognize how valuable personal goal setting can be?  Genuine praise + progress are miracle workers;” “[Giving] feedback, not grades, EARLY” is also a proactive way to encourage students to value their goals” (@PRHSspanish).  @tbcaudill said, “meet with [students] individually to set goals. Force them to evaluate themselves periodically against goals. Then do an exit interview.” @BThompsonEdu encourages students by “showing them success! When they see they can accomplish a goal it’s invigorating!”

Taking the time to encourage students to achieve their goals may prove to have long-term benefits in the World Language Classroom. @MmeBlouwolff shared, “I find [students] are very proud when we make time in class to reflect on growth. They seem shocked that they’ve learned a lot.”

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Coaching Students to Reach for the New Level

To conclude the discussion on goal-setting, #Langchat participants discussed ways in which they can coach students to reach for the next new level.

  •       @BThompsonEdu simply said, “Make a new goal. [Athletes are never done making goals].”
  •       @MllesrtaUrso shared, “Show [students] how we, as teachers, make new goals every year for ourselves. Model for them.”
  •       @SraWilliams3 agreed and said, “model being a lifelong learner. I learn new language all the time with the [students]. We can always grow.”
  •       @srtabrandt96 shared, “make sure [students] have an understanding of ACTFL proficiency, where we are, where we go, and that they have lots of support.”

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Thank You

Many thanks to all who participated in the #langchat discussion on Setting Goals in the World Language Classroom. Thank you to our lead moderator, Meredith (@PRHSpanish) for leading the group! Please let your #langchat leaders know if you have any topics that you would like to discuss by submitting your ideas to the #Langchatwiki.

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Erica Fischer
Erica is the founder and CEO of Calico Spanish. Her passion for teaching her own children to speak Spanish led her to create Calico Spanish. Our mission is to give all children the opportunity to learn to speak real Spanish for life.

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