Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Prioritising what's worthwhile in leading, learning and life

NASDAP 2013 Workshop #3, Eileen Piggot-Irvine.

Being quite a goal orientated person I have drawn to this workshop around goal setting. Eileen Piggot-Irvine is a kiwi working in Canada who has done significant research in education and in interested in neuroscience, particularly relating to goal setting. Key points from the workshop are as follows:

Goals are important. Setting goals is one of the key key components of successful leadership (IEL, 2011) and a core practice of effective educational leadership (Leithwood & Lloyd, 2009). Goals are linked to motivation and should be personally compelling, challenging and achievable (Aitken & Jantzi, 2006).

Two models from neuroscience have been discussed to consider when considering goal setting and appraisal. The first is the acronym SCARF (Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness
and Fairness) and stands for the conditions which allow for 'approach' conditions for the brain - the PFC of the brain 'lights up' in approach conditions. The second the AIM framework and here Berkman & Rock (2012) narrow it down to three key components of goal pursuit Antecedents, Integration and Managing rewards and anticipation.

The work into neuroscience is fascinating and will no doubt contribute hugely to our understanding of how goal setting but for me key applications to come from the workshop include:

1. Ensuring ownership of goal setting, allowing all those involved to be able to input into the setting of goals (e.g. staff into teh setting of school goals, not just management/BOT)
2. The importance of the relatedness component in goal setting (the R in SCARF)
3. The provision of a framework to set goals (useful for staff & students). The 4 steps of reconnaissance, planning for improvement, carrying out the improvement, review/evaluation aligned with the formative assessment questions Where I am going? Where am I at? (reconnaissance) How do I need to get there? (planning for improvement) along with reviewing and planning the implementation (adjusting goals and/or plan).

I have immediately used the framework with students following their return from senior examinations as we map out the coming weeks before NCEA externals. They engaged with the process effectively and I look forward to working with them in helping them implement their plans. Hopefully the find the goal setting process a useful strategy to help them with life and learning too.

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