Liz Kelly discusses the approach that the Visual Arts team takes in setting personalised goals for their learners:

Exploring principles of motivation, we have been exploring methods of setting up student success and considering how success can be effectively rewarded in order further motivate the individual. One strategy that we regularly apply in Visual Arts, is personalised goal setting as a motivational strategy. This involves providing structured tutorials with our students in order to listen to their thoughts and then consider appropriate next steps for them. In each case, we need to carefully consider the size and type of goal to motivate the particular student and modify feedback accordingly. It is a careful balance of trying to stretch and challenge the student whilst ensuring the feedback feels student led and to ensure the student is not de-motivated due to ineffective goal setting and feedback on our part.

Students may be working towards a long-term target of producing a final piece but we provide regular tutorials that provide a series of achievable targets that structure their sketchbook to the desired outcome. As they progress with their work and the sketchbook transitions into a body of work that they feel proud of this sets up a pattern of positivity that encourages students to seek feedback and goal setting in order to progress further. We are also very clear that the targets we provide them with can be changed and developed according to their progress. I also think it is important to review the sketchbook from the beginning as this is an opportunity to reflect upon their journey and efforts which can be an opportunity for further positive reinforcement and motivational feedback.

Tips for goal setting:

  • Write goals down
  • Avoid vagueness be specific
  • Split big goals into smaller, bite-sized ones
  • State how the goal is going to be achieved
  • Visualise the accomplishment of the objective with the student and articulate what it will feel like for the student when they have achieved it.
  • Plan gratification: identify a reward for achieving the goal or identify the benefits of achieving the goal.