Set Goals to Learn Chemistry

Came across this really good TedEx talk by Stephen Duneier on goal setting, watch it if you have the time.

Well, we’re reach the 3rd last strategy by Dr Lee in her book “Internal Drive Theory”. If you haven’t read the previous strategies, start here.

Strategy #9 – Set Goals to Learn Chemistry

Dr Lee starts by stating why it’s important to set goals. It helps the child/student visualise what they want to achieve. Due to the focus of time and energy on a specific goal. And when they’ve achieved the goal, they feel elated. 

One of my favorite speaker, Jim Rohn, used to say, ‘There are two kinds of people when it comes to facing the future. One with fear and apprehension and the other, with anticipation. The difference lies in the fact that those who anticipate, designed their future.’

Goal-setting then, is a simple exercise in ‘designing’ your future. There’s short term goals and long term goals. The point about setting goals is you have to be specific. There’s no point in setting a vague goal, you wouldn’t even know if you’ve achieved it!

Challenges of goal setting

Calibrating Goal Difficulty – this point has been brought up before but it’s good to remind ourselves that the goal has to be doable with some effort. If it’s totally out of their league, the child will be demoralized and give up without trying. 

Before setting the goal, have a sense of how motivated the child is. If he/she is low on motivation, give easy goals and frequently praise them upon completion of each task. If they are motivated, set goals which will stretch them. Only set those “impossible” goals when you have good rapport and available to give timely feedback. Doing these goals will help to build up his self-efficacy. Remember that if your child/student fails, both fails.

Second challenge is to set some grand blanket goal and use threats. You may achieve those goals, but at the emotional expense of the child/student. I remember as a student, i have respect for teachers who are firm but fair. I’m afraid of the discipline master because he is usually very fierce. I would do assignments from both but one is out of respect, the latter is out of fear.

At JC level, it’s amazing to note that many students still do not set goals. They are mostly drifting along, whatever score they can get, that’s it. I remember when i was in Secondary school, i had a close friend who would always compare grades after every test. I wasn’t a competitive person, so at the end of the day, i did not keep up. My wife tells me that she too had a friend like that, but the difference is, my wife was the top student in class. Sometimes having a goal (a person to beat), can motivate us to work harder. How can we foster more friendly competition at JC level Chemistry?

That’s it for strategy #9. Go to strategy #10!

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