At the heart of Curriculum for Excellence is every teacher’s responsibility to develop our young people into confident individuals and successful learners, prepared to go on to be responsible citizens and effective contributors to society. Yet, each member of my group expressed concern at the general lack of confidence in some of the young people in our care and a sense of ‘learned helplessness’ with regard to their learning. Among others, Dylan Wiliam, defines those learners who are confident in their ability to improve and resilient when they encounter hurdles in their learning as self-efficacious learners. It therefore seemed clear to us that we were compelled to increase learners’ self-efficacy.
Research indicates that goal setting can lead to pupils developing a greater sense of self-efficacy in their learning (Zimmerman et al). It has been found that working towards specific goals can boost productivity and as a result, increase self-efficacy through the feelings of success and self-satisfaction generated through achieving these goals (Schunk).
Our aim was to discover what happened when goal setting was introduced to the classroom. More specifically, I wanted to monitor the impact of goal setting on pupils’ confidence levels and their own belief in their ability to improve.