Setting Professional Goals to Grow By

August 19, 2015   |   By Laura Andersen

Organizations that seek to make the feedback process teacher-centered and growth-oriented lead with goals. Through goal setting, teachers have the first word about critical areas for improvement that year, which then guides the type of feedback they receive. If you're implementing goal setting for the first time, remember that goals should be:

  • Personal. Teachers set goals that are relevant to their classroom and students. The goal must be important to the person who will be doing the heavy lifting – the teacher.

  • Set by the teacher. Teachers give a peer, coach, or evaluator a goal to react to. The goal review conversation can then be focused on refinement of a goal that is meaningful to the teacher.

  • Action-oriented. The teacher specifies an action that s/he will take to spark improvement in the classroom.

  • Student-centered. There is an expected impact on student outcomes from that action. The teacher’s action should lead to a change in student behavior – be it emotional, academic, etc.

The end result should be concise and specific. Each goal needs a clear “what” (teacher action) and “why” (student outcome). Make sure it’s a short goal that can be remembered offhand.

Goal Setting

Warning: Often, we’re very good at stating the “what.” Of course grouping students differently for various activities is a good practice in the classroom. But what do you want to see from your students when you group them differently?



You might be grouping students differently to:

  • Improve academic discourse
  • Increase peer tutoring
  • Decrease negative student interactions
  • Allocate limited resources more effectively

Be clear about the change you want to see. There are many potential positive outcomes, so define success for your students.

Then sweat the details.

BloomBoard uses SMART goal prompts as a default to provide a space for teachers to establish a plan for moving forward. The goal and details should make it clear to a colleague when s/he should come to your classroom, what notes to take, and the best format for those notes to facilitate teacher reflection. Depending on the goal set, a teacher might request that an observer record:

  • What students say to each other during group work
  • Students’ answers to the teacher’s questions
  • How many students are collaborating during various parts of the lesson
  • The number of times students are able to resolve their own conflicts and how

Quality goal setting and planning will open the door for others to offer more targeted assistance. As Abraham Lincoln said, “A goal properly set is halfway reached.”

Goal Example

Take the next step.

As teachers take next steps toward goals – be sure to note the process of trial and error, and be sure to log progress. BloomBoard Progress Posts allow teachers to add open-ended notes about an advancement made toward their goal, and link resources or websites that they used to do so. These posts create a running log for those supporting the teacher to reference, so that they know what has already been done and can offer new, innovative ideas. In addition, by recording their progress, teachers can share with other teachers who set goals around similar classroom challenges.

For more on enabling successful goal-setting for teachers and for students, check out a collection of resources on goal-setting in our BloomBoard Marketplace.

View Goal-Setting Resources

Topics: News


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