SMART Goal Planning


Knowing "where your students are" and "where you want your students to be after a session" is something that every PAL Facilitator should have outlined for a session. But what about the PAL Facilitator - where should you be professionally at the end of the semester? Even though there is a varied level of experience among the Facilitators in our group, there is still an opportunity for each person to advance by setting goals. However goals without methods to support them are often never reached. Instead of just setting normal goals, we are going to set SMART goals:

Specific - What are you going to do? Why is it important? How to do it?
Measureable - What can you do to see success occur?
Attainable - Know your capability; a little beyond is ok, too far and failure is eminent
Reasonable - Is my goal doable? Can I reach it given everything else I am balancing? Why?
Timely - Set a deadline for your goal and stick to it. What benchmarks are needed along the way?

Please take a moment before responding to think about a goal or two you would like to set professionally that is related to PAL. After coming up with a goal, describe how it is SMART, addressing each of the questions in the acronym.

Goals could pertain to techniques you will focus on, behavior in-class or in your PAL Session, increasing/maintaining attendance at PAL Sessions, etc.


One of the goals I have for this semester is to maintain a minimum of 5 people in attendance at each of my PAL sessions every week.
Specific: In order to get freshmen to come to my PAL session I am planning on talking to all the freshmen I can and talking them up. Also I am thinking of bringing some baked goods to the first few sessions just to get people to start to come to them. It is Important to have people coming to my help sessions because I am here to help them better understand the material, and that is hard to do if they don’t show up. Also I think it is important to have at least 5 at each session because I want the freshmen to help each other, and in order for that to happen there needs to be multiple people there.
Measurable: I am expecting the first few weeks to have fewer people in attendance because classes start off a little slower at first but by the second or third pal session I want to have at least 5 at every session. To measure weather I am succeeding or not, I will have to count how many student attend each session.
Attainable: I feel that my goal is attainable, the first few weeks it may be harder, but I believe that it is possible for me to achieve.
Reasonable: I believe that my goal is doable. When you think about it 5 out of about 175 isn’t too bad. I think that the first week or two may be harder than the rest but I still think it is doable. Even though I have a busy schedule I think I will still be able to promote my PAL sessions in the elevators or walking to classes. Also I think that I will be able to come up with some helpful tips and practice problems over the weekends.
Timely: The deadline for my goal is the end of the semester. I’m hoping that at the last PAL session there will be many more than 5 people there because that will be right before finals. However, each PAL session will be a benchmark along the way, because my goal is to maintain a minimum of 5 at each session.
Another goal I have for the semester is to set a good example for the freshmen and take a page of notes during each class period.
Specific: I plan on making sure that I pay attention and actively take notes even though I will feel that I know the material and won’t necessarily feel that I need to write it down. It is Important that I take notes because it will give me more to go off from during my PAL sessions, and it will set a good example for the other students. Taking notes is an important part of any class especially if is your first time learning the material.
Measurable: In order to see success I will have to see notes written down in my note book. My goal is to have at least one page of notes for every day we are in class.
Attainable: I believe that taking a page full of notes during each class is well within my capability, I just need to go in with the mindset of not knowing the material yet.
Reasonable: I think my goal is very doable, I will be in the class no matter what so taking notes should be easy. It will be easy to balance the rest of my schedule with this because it only takes up time when I’m in class and when I’m reading the pre-lecture.
Timely: This goal will go throughout the entire semester, and every day there is class will be a benchmark. After each day of class I will look back to see how many notes I have taken, and asses weather I need to take more or not to reach m 1 page per day goal. By the end of the semester I will hopefully have approximately 30 pages of notes.

One of my goals for this semester as a Pal, is to answer any questions to the best of my ability. To increase the amount of questions students may ask, I plan to be as available and approachable during class (and outside of class for that matter)as possible. I will also provide adequate amounts of time during my Pal sessions to ask for and answer questions. I also recently got an idea from a fellow Pal to create a Google Doc for each Pal Session and share it with the students attending. In this Google document, they will be able to type up any questions they may have about the concepts, and I will try to answer them as best as I can at the end of the session. I may also try to attempt a Google document where students can ask questions to be answered at the next Pal session. It is important to answer questions in order to better the students understanding of the subject. It will also help increase attendance to Pal sessions if my peers think of me as a reliable source for answers. This way, they also know they can approach me at any time about any subject they may be concerned with.

This goal is a little harder to measure, but having the Google document will help keep track of questions I've answered and what needs to be done. If providing answers to students does raise the attendance to my Pal sessions, then this can be tracked through the attendance spreadsheets. I will also know if I am providing good assistance because students will keep returning with more questions.

I believe this goal is very attainable as a Pal. I know that I will have many questions that I won't be able to answer or I may answer wrong. However, I do have the Professors and various other resources to aid me with this goal. Therefore, I believe it is attainable.

As for reasonable, I also believe this goal is doable. Since I already am taking the time to be in class or holding a Pal session, it is easy to answer any questions my peers may have. I have always taken the time to fix any misunderstandings, no matter how long the explanation may be. Answering questions is a very reasonable goal for me.

Because my goal is something I intend to work on the entire semester, it's hard to put an absolute deadline on it. When it comes to the Google doc however, I hope to answer any questions within at least two days of it being asked. This benchmark, along with addressing the questions during Pal sessions, will aid me towards a productive first semester as a Pal.

One of the goals I have this semester as a PAL, is to be helpful and informed about the activities we work on during class.
Specific: In order to achieve this goal, I will prepare the night before the class by reading the materials, working on the examples in the module and working on each activity that will be covered during the class time. This is important because when I arrive to class and the students begin to work on the activities, I will not only know the context of the problems but also have an idea of how to go about helping them find the solutions.
Measurable: In order for this to be successful, I will have to be able to recognize in which course material I need more explanation on. While preparing for these activities, some questions may come up and I can ask the professor or someone else how to resolve these questions before I attend class.
Attainable: The only way I can both be prepared for the class activities and not spend too much time on just statistics is to assign a specific time as to when I am preparing for class. At this time, I am able to spend 30 minutes preparing for each class. This means that I will spend 1 hour a week just preparing for class sessions and 1 hour for my PAL sessions.
Reasonable: I think that this goal is reachable because I have included my time restraints within the plan.
Timeline: I have started this goal this week and plan to stick to it until the semester because it allows me to manage my time wisely.

One goal that I have for this semester as a PAL facilitator is to improve on my participation during my PAL class section.
Specific: In order to improve on my participation in class, I am going to push myself to get up and walk around the room whenever students are doing activities. This is important because it will not only help me with conducting pal sessions but also my communication skills. I believe doing this will help me improve my communication skills. Other than myself, I believe by doing this it will help the students understand the material. By walking around and actually engaging with the class, every student will be able to get the help they needed.
Measurable: In order to see success, I will record my participation on a calendar or in a notebook. This will then tell me if I need to do better in the next class time.
Attainable: With recording my participation, this goal can be reached.
Reasonable: My goal is very doable. Given that I have a large course load this semester, I believe that I can do this much during my class times because there are times where the professor is teaching and that does not require me to walk around.
Timely: This goal will go throughout until the end of this semester. After class time, i will check my progress and see if there is any improvement that I need to do. If there is any, I will make sure to do it during the next class. I will also check with the students during my pal sessions if the material is becoming easier for them to understand and do. By the end of this semester, I hope to accomplish strong communication skills and good grades for the students.

One of my goals this semester is to leave students feeling as though my PAL sessions were helpful and prepared them for quizzes and exams.

Specific: I will reach out to the students and ask them what they think would be helpful to review in the sessions. This is important so I can see where the students are struggling and help clarify those concepts so they can move on to the next topic with sufficient background.

Measurable: I hope to see the students who regularly attend my sessions having a better grasp on the concepts and feeling as though they are succeeding in the course. Eventually I hope they will feel confident in their answers and how to do the problems which will be demonstrated in my sessions.

Attainable: my goal is attainable as long as some students attend my sessions on a regular basis. I believe that I can help them feel as though they have a strong understanding of the concepts.

Reasonable: As long as the students put in the effort to attend the sessions and are motivated to actively learn, this goal is very reasonable.

Timely: I hope to see the students who attend my session becoming more confident and involved halfway through the semester, but strongly showing these traits by the end of the semester.

One of the goals that I want to pursue the most is to provide students with the opportunity to help themselves, both in terms of personal and academic development.

Specific: One of the things that I want to iterate to the students I will be working with is that it is okay to be frustrated at times with the topic that is being learned. Some subjects like calculus and organic chemistry are not something that can be learned overnight. We all have struggles when learning something new, and that is part of the process of growing as an individual. If we make mistakes, we need learn from them and move forward. If a student did poorly on a quiz or test, I want them to feel comfortable approaching me and seeing what they can improve on in order to prevent the same mistake from happening again in the future. To do this, however, I need to be prepared myself. I would feel awful if I was teaching something completely wrong, and then they end up blaming me if they do it wrong themselves.

Measurable: In order to measure the success or progress of the students, I want to be able to make surveys on Moodle for them to take. I can then go back into the analysis of the answers and see where students might be struggling. These questions could be a conceptual question that is fundamental to solving problems, i.e. those dealing with derivatives. I can then address some of these issues in my PAL sessions and also present the situation to the instructor. He might be able to explain it in class, as well.

Attainable: I think this goal is definitely attainable. One of the great qualities I possess is being able to absorb a given piece of information and then word in such a way that is very easy to understand. Many concepts in calculus are very difficult, and I was the go-to person last year (it seemed like, at least) if someone needed a concept explained in a different manner. I brought the level of difficulty down to something that is much easier to grasp.

Reasonable: I definitely think that my goal is doable. I have a great relationship with the students in my area that I am a PAL for. Even though I am very busy this year with classes and now being president of an club that is growing rapidly, I have been able to maintain superb grades and a positive attitude. I don't want to complain to my fellow peers about the workload that I have because I know many of them have the same amount. However, I believe one of the skills I have best excelled at is managing my time wisely. I want to be able to share some of my personal habits in the hopes that perhaps they will pick up on them as well.

Timely: I don't have a specific deadline for my goal because it will be an ongoing task. Not everyone learns at the same rate, so it is hard to gauge when everyone is at the same level. As far as benchmarks are concerned, I hope that my Moodle surveys can give me some type of indication of where students are in their understanding of the subject.

From helping my peers, I believe that I can foster, and improve upon, a host of skills which include teamwork, organization, and communication. Being a Facilitator for PAL will be an immense confident boost, and the training gained during the year will prove invaluable throughout life.

One goal that I have for this year is to help improve study habits among the freshman class.

Specific: Using effective study habits will be the first step in succeeding in any course here at UMR. Being purposeful in how and when one studies is imperative. I intend to stress specific study techniques that can be used and adapted in my PAL sessions.

Measurable: This goal is measurable because throughout the year I want to be able to see that the students who come to my PAL session are there to review and practice more than they come to learn and re-go over topics. The more preparing the student does before class and before PAL sessions, the more they will understand and will want to invite more challenging problems.

Attainable: I definitely think that this goal is attainable because students will notice very quickly where there grade is going to be if they do not study effectively. I think that that realization comes after the first round of exams. They realize the effort they need to put in to get the grade they desire and will use the study techniques they learn at my PAL session as well as others to acheive that.

Reasonable: This goal is reasonable. This is because each and every student will have to develop better study techniques and habits if they want to do well at UMR. It isn't too lofty because they will have to start doing it at one point or another. My goal is to get them studying hard and effectively before they realize they should have started sooner.

Timely: I want to see my students becoming more studious by the time midterms rolls around. I want to stress study techniques so that they feel prepared for midterms. Leading up to that point I feel like they will be experimenting with which techniques work best with them, but at midterms they will have found what works.

One of the goals I have this semester is to keep the students that attend my PAL sessions engaged with material presented as well as to reinforce the concepts covered in class. My hope is that these goals will help the students achieve a more thorough and solidified understanding of the course material.

Specific: In order to help student understanding regarding the course material, I plan to select and present many types of practice problems during my help session. I plan to touch on each topic presented in my session at least once and have students demonstrate they understand the concepts.

Measurable: In order to measure my specific goals, I will be sure to complete the activities myself prior to dispersing them at my PAL session. This way I am completely confident in the concepts we are covering and will be able to test the student’s understanding level.

Attainable: I think the goals and ways of measuring said goals specified above are attainable. In order to ensure that the implementations of my goals are successful, I will evaluate my PAL efficacy on a weekly basis (i.e what is working/not working?).

Reasonable: I would say that my goals are reasonable because they are well-structured but also flexible. Thus, there is enough room in my goals for re-evaluation and refinement of said goals.

Timely: I would like to set a few different goals for myself concerning the topic of timeliness. First, in preparation for my help sessions, I plan to be fully prepared 2 days prior to hosting my PAL session. Since my sessions are on Mondays, I would like to have a cemented itinerary for my session by Saturday, complete with plenty of practice problems and examples. Second, I want to respect the student’s time during my PAL sessions by being flexible regarding the content covered; yet, at the same time, I want to structure the time of the tentative flow of my session so that the students receive optimal assistance and are able to review as much material as possible.

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This page contains a single entry by brigh042 published on September 2, 2013 9:29 AM.

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