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Focus on the Highest-Level Goals for Real World Success

Focus on the Highest-Level Goals for Real World Success

I wanted to share what I received in an email from Susan Kruger, author of the SOAR curriculum.  This is great information that falls in line with what the Gift of Failure book study group discussed, what our teachers are exploring in the Growth Mindset PD group, and what students are starting to hear more about here at CC.  Enjoy!

Focus on the Highest-Level Goals for Real World Success

Grades, test scores, and graduation often dominate the discussion in parent or staff meetings at school. It’s understandable because grades are the most readily available data points. Test scores are often on the minds of teachers and administrators. While, every parent of a junior high or high school child worries about graduation and what comes next.

However, if we are truly working in the best interest of the student, our focus would extend to the student’s success in the real world (i.e. career, adulthood, etc.). If we asked ourselves, “What kind of skills will he/she need to be successful in the real world?” we’d probably come up with a list like this:

  • Organization
  • Time management
  • Communication (written and verbal)
  • Problem solving
  • Accessing necessary information
  • Setting goals
  • Learning new skills/information

Unintended Consequences

If we shift our focus to preparing the student for the “real world”, there are some unintended consequences:

  1. Improvement in grades, test scores, and graduation rates. When we teach students the soft skills they’ll use in the workplace, we also prepare them to be successful in school.
  2. Increased engagement. “Why do I have to learn this?” This question is usually at the front of students’ minds and it is very valid. By teaching the skills listed above in the context of “real world success,” students don’t question their importance. Instead, they are more likely to implement these skills.
  3. Students gain confidence and motivation. Once students start implementing skills and experiencing success, there’s a snowball effect of confidence-building and motivation. Students begin to believe a rewarding future is within their reach.

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