Students’ Goals, Hopes, and Dreams

It seems that the most trendy, popular method for setting classroom rules nowadays is for the students and teacher to have a discussion where they co-create a list of rules to be followed.

I propose we back up a step.  Why do we need to have rules in the first place?

Begin by asking your students, “What are your goals, hopes, and dreams for this school year?  What would a successful school year look like for you?”  Your students’ responses will be amazingly varied: making lots of friends, becoming a better writer, getting a good report card, making the school play, learning to like math, overcoming shyness, and so on.

Once you’ve talked about those goals, the next logical step is to ask your students, “What do we as a class need to be like to make these goals come true?”  Then, get even more specific:  “What is your job as a student to help make this happen?  What is my job as the teacher?”

Voila!  You’ve just set the stage for a great conversation about classroom expectations without making those expectations sound like a bunch of stifling rules that you’ve set up just to make your students’ lives miserable.

4 thoughts on “Students’ Goals, Hopes, and Dreams

  1. I think this is a great way to approach setting rules in the classroom. In my pre-service college classes we are learning the new way of letting student and teacher co-set the rules; however, I think it is an even better idea to have students first address their goals for the school year ahead. By doing this, students are not forced to follow rules that might not even make sense to them. Instead, they are following rules/goals that will actually improve their learning and help them feel like they have a place in the school.

  2. This is a great idea. By allowing students to set their own goals they are indirectly setting behavior standards for themselves. Setting their goals early in the year gives them something to be continually working towards. Teacher could also incorporate achievement charts or graphs so students could track their progress. Although I agree with students setting their own guide lines, I still think there should be some written rules in the classroom. Sometimes students lose track and they need a visual reminder of just what is expected of them.

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