Learning Spanish can be an exciting and enriching experience for students, but it can also be a challenge (read about investing students in Spanish class here). It’s essential to set achievable and meaningful goals to help keep students motivated and focused.Need to cut to the chase? Get this grade and goal reflection worksheet with everything you need to support your students in setting and reflecting on their goals.
Why bother having students set goals in Spanish class?
When students have clear and achievable goals, they are able to focus their efforts and see tangible results. For example, a student who sets a pronunciation goal can hear the difference in their pronunciation, and see that their grades are higher or their feedback is positive. This can be incredibly motivating, as it provides a sense of accomplishment and encourages students to continue learning. Goals also give students a sense of purpose and direction, helping them to prioritize their studies and stay focused on what they want to achieve.
Seeing their Growth
Additionally, having specific goals can help students to track their progress and measure their growth over time, which can provide a sense of satisfaction and pride. Ultimately, setting goals in Spanish class helps students to stay motivated and invested in their learning, which can lead to improved outcomes and a deeper understanding of the language.
One of my students consistently asks grammar questions (I’ve mentioned him before in this teaching grammar post). He often sets goals to use verbs correctly, remember the emphasis or accent marks, etc. When he uses a verb he’s struggled with correctly in class, his eyes go wide and he is truly so excited to have said something right. He sometimes even writes notes on his own work about his verb use. All in all, it serves to help him notice his own language use and focus on his own growth.
Tips for Investing Students in their Goals and Boosting their Success
1. Realistic and Achievable Goals
Encourage students to set goals that are attainable within a reasonable timeframe, such as correctly pronouncing vowels by the end of the quarter.
2. Personal Goals
Urge students to make their goals personal and relevant to their needs, such as communicating with Spanish-speaking family members, coworkers, community members or traveling to a Spanish-speaking country. These aren’t options for all of our students in the communities we serve, but encouraging students to focus on understanding music or their favorite Netflix show can also work as personal goals.
3. Measurable Goals
Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’ve all heard of SMART goals. The purpose of “measurable” goals is to allow students to see their progress. If we can’t tell they’ve hit the goal, then what’s the point?
4. Active Involvement
Let students take the lead in setting their goals to keep them encouraged and motivated. I have my students set and reflect on their goals after every unit, which helps them stay focused on where they’re headed and write down action steps to help get there.
5. Celebrating Success
Recognize and celebrate students’ achievements, big or small, to keep them motivated and focused. I don’t love public celebrations for all students because some of them don’t want this attention, so definitely consider how your students might want to celebrate their little wins. I love post-it praise (writing positive feedback on a post-it to stick on their paper or desk).
Investing in students’ goals in Spanish class is crucial for their success and motivation. With these tips, teachers can help students stay focused and engaged in their Spanish learning journey.
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