Roisin Toal

Primary Teacher

St. Bernard's Primary

  • Digital Learning: Methodologies

What happens when goal setting is introduced to the virtual classroom?


During a particularly challenging period in Education, it could be argued that motivation in
the primary classroom has decreased due to the reduction of continuity within the context of
teaching and learning (Tan, 2020). Ensuring that pupils are motivated and engaged in their
learning is vital in ensuring that attainment is met and that successful learners are developed
in line with the capacities of the Curriculum for Excellence (Education Scotland, Online).
Engagement during the period of online learning has highlighted challenges that may impact
the quality of education that the pupils receive. Health and Wellbeing has been a major focus
across education to ensure that pupils are nurtured and their wellbeing is considered through
all curricular areas. We, as a group, believe that setting goals may have an impact on
motivation as it challenges the pupils and gives them something to work towards as a focus
for their learning. Valerio (2012), notes that goal setting is an intrinsic part of instilling
motivation in the classroom. Further to this, she states that allowing pupils and teachers to
think about motivation in the classroom aids in developing life-long learners as well as to
develop effective practice. Goal setting also allows pupils to acknowledge that they are
aiming to ‘achieve’ something rather than simply completing a task (Wentzel, 2000). This
sense of accomplishment allows pupils to acknowledge their work and be reflective as well as
providing the motivation to be successful. Wentzel (2000), further states that goal setting can
be reciprocal and hierarchal in nature, therefore, this can alter a pupils’ belief about how to
achieve academic success. This in turn could lead to assisting the closing of the attainment
gap, as pupils would be more motivated to learn.


The aim of this enquiry was to evaluate the impact that teacher and pupil goal setting had on

pupils’ motivation in both remote learning and physical classroom context.

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