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Developing Goals

Developing Goals

Author: Trisha Fyfe

In this lesson, students will be able to collaboratively identify goals and outcomes in a professional improvement plan.

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Welcome. I'm Trisha Fyfe, and in today's video lesson, we'll look at the lesson titled Developing Goals. As we learn about this topic, we will work toward several learning objectives, and together we'll use the following questions to guide our learning. What are the benefits of goal setting? What is collaborative goal development? And what are SMART goals?

Let's start off by diving into how we can develop goals for a professional development or improvement plan. The very first thing that should be done when thinking about goals for this plan is to think about how they can be clear and concise. What exactly would we like to see achieved? This is the purpose of the goal, to have a clear statement of what should be achieved.

If the goal is not well-developed, those individuals that are involved in the process will have a very tough time. The plan of action will not be clear if the goal is not clear. When we think about goals, goals should be created to address the problem or challenge identified by the teacher and coach, and they should also be clear and focused.

They must be aligned with the school and district priorities, as well as state and national goals. And it's essential for girls to focus on improving instruction, which will lead to improved academic achievement. Finally, goals should support increases in student achievement.

There's a difference between a goal, something that you aim or strive for, and a well-developed goal. These goals that are well-developed have many different benefits, including being a tool for teachers to set methods and markers for progress. Another benefit is that a well-developed goal is a way to increase alignment of individual and school and strict rules.

They also give the teacher something to work toward, some incentive. And they're associated with student achievement outcomes. This promotes higher achievement. Finally, well-developed goals support collaboration and drive changes in instruction on all levels.

So how can teachers and coaches work together collaboratively to develop goals? The goals must meet the needs of the teacher, and they must align with the team, grade-level, school, and district schools. It's important for teachers and coaches to work together to ensure that all of these criteria are met within the goals. It's also important for a teacher and coach to be on the same page as far as the ability to embrace these goals fully. They both must be on board, and have buy-in for the goals and the process that will need to happen for improvement.

The focus of both teacher and coach should be on improvement. Improvement of practices, strategies, and improving student achievement. And this is true for both professional development plans and professional improvement plans. Performance goals may be included as a result of an evaluation in which a professional improvement plan was put into place.

There are several steps to consider when working together in a collaborative nature to develop these goals. First, the teacher and instructional coach must address the question, how can we approach the changes that must be made in instructional practices? These two individuals will work very closely together and in a timely manner to establish changes that make sense to the teacher in their situation for that year or their group of students. Next, the teacher's previous performance must be evaluated. This should also be completed in a collaborative manner.

What was effective in past observations? What was not effective? What changes should be made according to what did not work in the past? The third step after data has been assessed is for the pair to begin prioritizing the changes. Coach and teacher should discuss the most essential goals the teacher has first and go from there. Along the way, it's equally important to make sure there are opportunities for feedback.

This is the next step in the process-- giving more feedback for the teacher. Openness and honesty are crucial here. Even when opinions differ or when negative feedback is given, the pair must find a way to collaborate professionally, keeping the end goals in mind.

The teacher and coach should consider the other's point of view when necessary, to create additional goals for this process. The final step in the process is reflection. What is important to the process? What changes have worked? What did not work? What areas need further improvements? Both the teacher and the instructional coach should spend time reflecting on these questions. This process is intended to continue as long as needed.

What this means is that the process and the steps we just discussed may very well be repeated several times. Student achievement should increase as the teacher refines and improves instructional methods, uses methods that are proven consistently, and determines what will work for that current group of students. This happens very quickly at times, and in other cases, the process continues for longer periods of time.

Let's say the issues stem from inadequate classroom management skills or strategies. It may take longer for the students' behaviors to match new expectations when new skills and strategies are used. If the changes are, let's say, related to methods that affect the delivery of lessons, things might improve more quickly, sometimes over the course of maybe just a few lessons.

SMART goals are the final topic we will discuss today, and these goals can be such a great tool for teachers and instructional coaches. They should be used to write goals in instructional coaching and there's many reasons for this. One being that they help overall success increase. They're clear and concise, and they identify how we can determine and measure success. SMART is the acronym for this set of criteria-- specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.

We can use questioning techniques to help guide us in the development of these SMART goals. What specifically do we want to accomplish, and what actions are needed to get us here for the S? How will we measure the attainment of that goal? M, or measure. Is the goal attainable? A, or attainable. Why is this goal relevant? R for relevant. And how long will we work on the goal before we measure and adjust our actions if needed? This is for the T for time-based.

Let's look at a few examples of SMART goals. These are written from a teacher's perspective after the instructional coach and teacher met. Example one-- during fall semester, in collaboration with other teachers in my department, I will create and implement and evaluate formative classroom-based measures that will help measure the growth of students over the course of this semester. You can see here it's very specific-- create and implement, and formative classroom-based measures. It's measurable-- during fall semester. And this teacher also identifies what exactly will be done.

We have to assume that it's attainable and relevant for this teacher, and it is time-based-- during fall semester. Let's look at example two. In order to facilitate inquiry-based exploration that's developmentally appropriate for young children, I will create weekly and daily schedules for the semester that designate time for inquiry-based exploration, as well as creative expression, large and small group activities, and child-initiated activities. This, as well, is very specific. You can see here that there is actually many different activities listed that this teacher is going to implement.

It's measurable-- weekly and daily schedules will be identified, as well as all of these activities during this semester. We have to assume that it's attainable and relevant for this teacher, and it is time-based-- these schedules will be created weekly and daily, and it is during the current semester. Here's some questions that you should consider when you and your coach are evaluating a goal.

What is it that I want to achieve? Do I believe the goal will yield the desired outcomes? Is the goal SMART? What evidence will be needed to demonstrate that the goal has been achieved? Remember, it's essential for goals to specify what is being measured, and we should always ask, how can we define success for the school?

Let's talk about what we learned today. We looked at the questions, what are the benefits of goal setting? What is collaborative goal development? And what are SMART goals? In this lesson, we looked at the benefits of goal setting, including use of a specific method-- SMART goals. We also looked at how essential it is for the instructional coach and teacher to work together collaboratively throughout the entire process. The goals here are improve teacher practices and higher levels of student achievement.

Now that you're more familiar with these concepts, let's reflect. What are the benefits and possible challenges to using SMART goals in instructional coaching? Thanks for joining me today in discussing the lesson Developing Goals. I hope you found value in this video lesson and are able to apply these ideas and concepts to your own teaching.

For more information on how to apply what you've learned in this video, please view the additional resources section that accompanies this video presentation. The additional resources section includes hyperlinks useful for applications of this course material, including a brief description of each resource.

Notes on “Developing Goals”


(00:00- 00:20) Introduction/Objectives

(00:21- 01:50) Identifying Goals for Professional Plans

(01:51- 02:47) Collaborative Goal Development

(02:48- 05:04) Steps for Goal Development

(05:05- 06:05) SMART Goals

(06:06- 07:33) Examples of SMART Goals

(07:34- 07:57) Questions to Consider

(07:58- 08:23) Recap

(08:24- 09:00) Reflection 

Additional Resources

Professional Community & Professional Development

This National Education Association report outlines best practices in establishing professional development goals and plans for teachers.

Recruiting and Retaining Teachers: What Matters Most and What Can Government Do?

In this article, Linda Darling-Hammond and Charles E. Ducommun stress the importance of systematic and on-going professional development for teachers.

Assessing Teacher Quality Through Goal-Setting: The Alexandria, Virginia, School District

This chapter from the book Linking Teacher Evaluation and Student Learning reviews the importance of teacher goal setting in continuous improvement and increased student achievement.

​AITSL Teacher Toolkit: Performance & Development

The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership provides a useful toolkit for helping teachers set goals. In addition, the toolkit guides the creation of professional development plans based upon those goals.