The English Classroom

A GUIDE TO IMPROVING STUDENT LITERACY

The Situation

  • You want your students to be motivated and independent in their learning.
  • You want your students to understand that for big, life goals to be achieved, smaller, bitesized goals must be accomplished.

The Solution

The purpose of this task is to get students to outline their long-term goals and then backtrack, outlining all of the smaller tasks they will need to achieve beforehand.

For example, consider the following scenario: I am fifteen years old and I would like to be chemical engineer. Currently my grades for math are B- and for English I average a C Grade. Now, before I get to becoming an engineer there are a number of steps I will need to overcome the following:

  1. Improve Math and English grades.
  2. Complete ATAR Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and English. Check with teachers about other requirements.
  3. Pass Year 11 and 12 exams. Check scores required for university.
  4. Develop strong study routines.

The important thing here is to look at the smaller goals and work up. The purpose of this task is to get students thinking about the future and then plan what they need to do now.

Please note, this will look different from different year groups. Please adjust the way to tackle the content accordingly.

Goal Setting Task

I start the lesson rather crudely with the following video:

Now, the purpose of the video is to show the following: at some point in time, someone is going to ask you a question and it is important that you have a strong and articulate response; otherwise, you run the risk of looking rather silly.

This (should) fire up a conversation about the importance of education and where it can take you in life. From there, we jump across to our long-term goals.

  • What is something you would really like to achieve in your life?
  • What is important to you as a person?
  • If you continue to work at the current level you are now, will you achieve the vision that you have for yourself?

These are eye opening questions, but the goal is to get students thinking about where they are going. This might be confronting for some students. If, for example, you have a student on a low grade there is an added pressure.

However, low grades should not be a deterrent. The goal for this task is to encourage students to be motivated and self-driven, as this is the underlying life-skill. An A grade now does not instantly convert to a high-paying job and the house of your dreams; a motivated person, someone who is willing to overcome obstacles at every turn, has natural inclination to achieve their goals.

Show students the following information that you can convert into a powerpoint. Students should complete activities.

At the end of this task, students begin to develop statements about what they need to commit too if they improve. They may not be thinking about their career, but they may consider the lifestyle the want.

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