Teacher journal archive (2008-2011)

Article Title

Fail to plan, and plan to fail? How goals unlock your potential or lock you right up


The best planning and goal-setting processes come out of consultation, negotiation and collaboration, not command, and they identify learning goals, not performance targets. In relation to school improvement, there is general agreement that the schools that improve are the ones that plan. The key in the school improvement literature seems to be that there is a first step, identifying the vision and shared mission, that then informs the next step, the planning process of identifying goals or objectives aligned with the vision and mission. The problem is that planning and goal-setting can sometimes lead to fragmented, uncoordinated programs with conflicting objectives that work against one another. The goal-setting problem depends on whether a goal is set by command or by consultation or negotiation. The bad news of government-mandated standards agendas is that there is a risk of a form of goal-setting that creates a focus on ends rather than means. The good news for schools, however, is that the school improvement literature puts a premium on one thing: collegiality. [Author abstract, ed]

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