Inspiring Aspirations - Helping children aspire to be the best they can be

It is extremely important for a child to have aspirations. Aspirations are what drive a human to be ambitious, work towards something and feel they have a purpose in life. Children who have goals are more likely to succeed in achieving them as they have something to work towards.1

It also gives them a sense of purpose and boosts their confidence. Unfortunately, for some children – especially those who come from a lower-socio economic background, they tend to have lower aspirations than other children. Their confidence is lower and the ability to believe in themselves can be somewhat compromised due to their home life.

One of the seven aspects of One Goal’s ‘Be a Star’ service framework is ‘aspirations’. One Goal wants all school children to feel confident and they help them by mentoring children so they can set themselves goals and develop their aspirations.

As a teacher, you want your students to have goals and work at being able to achieve them. As Aristotle once said: ‘Man is a goal seeking animal. His life only has meaning if he is reaching out and striving for his goals’.2 There are three main positive aspects as to why it is so important that children set goals for themselves: developing a sense of purpose, developing focus and motivation. From developing a sense of purpose, comes confidence, self-belief and a high level of self-esteem. With developing focus comes the ability to make sound decisions and also helps move children closer to their goals. Once a child reaches a goal or works hard at achieving that goal, this sets motivation in place. Usually, a goal that a child has set them for themselves is a personal goal and is close to the heart of the child, so the motivation that comes from that is internal and helps them realise they can achieve whatever they want, as long as they set their mind to it. Children often associate goals with dreams so encouraging them to achieve their dreams from a young age is very helpful for the child at a later age.3

 

Tips to help children in the classroom set themselves goals:

  • Reflect with the child

Perhaps a child in your class has done a task really well. Sit down with the child and reflect together on what went so well with this task. Talk about how it made them feel and what steps they made to achieve this task. Brainstorm and write the points down. This is a great start at helping the child set goals.2

  • Help children set realistic goals

It is important to make sure that when children start setting goals for the first time that they start off with smaller goals. Completing small goals sets them up properly to set larger goals and be able to work towards them in the right way.4

  • Teach children the art of not giving up

Just as with adults, people can become deterred from their goals when things go wrong or get too hard. It is important to remind children that having perseverance is very important when setting goals and to teach them in a ‘solution-focused’ way so it sets them up to be successful in achieving their goals and aspirations.5

  • Let children choose their own goals

A child will most likely choose a goal that is important and relevant to them. It helps the process of goal setting by sitting down with the child and asking them what they are interested in or what they want to be when they grow up. If, for example, they say ‘a veterinarian’, then perhaps they work on a goal now that has something to do with animals.6

  • Make their goals special

Have a ‘goals’ board where children can write down their goals and stick them up on the board. By honouring their goals and aspirations and by making them special, this encourages the importance of the goals in the eyes of the children. Refer back to the goals on the board and discuss them openly from time to time.6

  • Celebrate achieved goals

The biggest success for children is when a goal is successful. As a teacher, make sure you celebrate it and give positive praise to the goal achiever. Perhaps you can make a positive example out of the student so that the child is encouraged to keep setting further goals and that the rest of the children are also encouraged to achieve their goals. However, it is important to set a limit on the prizes or rewards you give a child when achieving their goals, otherwise the reward will become the motivator.7

At the end of the day, if a child has a solid concept of aspirations and goals and how to achieve these, they are growing into a confident and focused young person. It is an integral part of an all-rounded student. For more tips and strategies on how to help children set themselves goals and aspirations in the classroom, download our free E-book.

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.omo.com/za/dirt-is-good/parenting-tips/goal-setting-for-kids.html
  2. https://proudtobeprimary.com/teaching-children-to-reflect-and-set-goals/
  3. http://www.brainy-child.com/articles/goal-setting-for-children.shtml
  4. https://www.parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/style/how-to-teach-kids-perseverance-goal-setting/
  5. https://www.kumon.co.uk/blog/helping-children-learn-to-set-goals/
  6. http://www.gfalls.wednet.edu/Insights/goals.pdf
  7. https://www.oxfordlearning.com/help-your-children-set-goals-for-success-top-ten-t/

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