Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The mindset behind your teaching goals

Each class you teach should have some desired outcomes.  Most often, we focus on student outcomes.  Certainly, students outcomes cannot be under-valued.  However, each class should also present you, the teacher, with opportunities for attaining certain outcomes as well.

Think of it as "real time" professional development.

Do you know what YOU want to achieve as a result of teaching your class?  Have you set personal/professional goals for yourself that are linked directly to your class?

If you know what those goals are (or even if you are making them now), the mindset behind your goal will provide an interesting guide for how to best approach attaining them.

Take a look at your goals.  Generally, they will fall into one of two different categories: promotion or prevention.

Promotion Goals

  • try to attain, achieve, or accomplish something of note
  • goal is to maximize gains
  • optimism is a motivator
  • usually accepts some risks
  • values speed or accuracy
  • achievement of these goals gives you a rush
Prevention Goals

  • these goals are items you "ought to do"
  • safety and avoiding losses is the focus
  • achievement gives you relief
  • pessimism helps more than optimism
  • more conservatively focused and more attention to details
Reflecting on your goals and reviewing if your approach matches the type is a useful exercise.  It is also one of the exercises I do when working with students in thrivapy sessions.

A promotion goal that is perpetually stuck on the details and taking a pessimistic approach will likely lead to frustration and failure.  The same is true of a prevention goal that you approach too optimistically and try to achieve too fast.

For more about promotion vs. prevention goals and their impact on your work, check out Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals by Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson.
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