Did you ever stop and think about how many goals we work towards each day? Getting to work on time.  Finishing a To Do list.  Cooking a healthy dinner for the family.  There are multiple options for how we meet each of them, given our diverse learning styles and accommodation needs.  I may lay my day’s outfit out the night before to save me time in the morning.  I may take a shortcut on my drive in to avoid  heavy traffic spots.  I may need to use an app on my iPad for maintaining tasks that includes daily alerts to keep me on track.  I may use the internet to find a new recipe or video for steaming fish or stop at the market and talk to the butcher for cooking ideas.  

Did you also realize that goal writing is an art? Most of us understand the basic principle of a goal being a result or achievement we aim for.  One major problem of goal writing is how broad or narrowly they are defined.   “Goals that are too highly specified limit the possible strategies for reaching them, this suppressing creative solutions and limiting the number of people who can even attempt to attain the goals.” (Rose & Meyer, 2002). On the other hand, goals that are too disjointed and fuzzy confuse the person on how to achieve them. 

Through this week’s readings, I really began to question the complexity of goal writing.  While I’ve always been intimidated by writing goals with my daughters’s IEP team, Rose and Meyer broke down the process in a way that made such sense to me.  For example, I never thought about the need to use the whole brain to achieve a goal — our brains recognition networks to identify the who and what (the information); our strategic networks to emphasize the how (the process and skills); and our affective networks to connect the why (importance to me).   I remember in high school having to take tests on the civil war.  Sure, I could memorize dates of battles, and important speeches, but it wasn’t until 30 years later that I got the whole picture – the facts, meaning and importance – when I attended a Civil War exhibit at the Historical Society in Richmond.  It was a learning, living, interactive exhibit where letters home from soldiers were read aloud, firearms were available to touch and learn how to fire, recreated field hospital scenes were shown on screens, battle plans were available to read, and newspaper copies showed stories of life going on at home.   

So, based on what I learned this week, my task was to rewrite a goal.  I chose a work goal related to our emotional and informational  support to families.  

Original goal:  culturally and linguistically diverse families of children with disabilities will receive unbiased information from Family Navigators.       Looking back, I wonder if this wasn’t the outcome, rather than the goal.  

Rewritten goal:  Family Navigators will understand how to present, in a balanced manner, a variety of resources requested by culturally and linguistically diverse families of children with disabilities.   
This requires that the navigator define what each family is seeking (learn how to interview families to solicit needs),  search strategies (websites, brochures/guidance documents, workshops, applications, agency rep)  to find relevant resources (Medicaid, oral health care, child care, AT funding, support group, cochlear implants), monitor their progress (established in program guidelines), evaluate the quality of the  information (is it biased, is it family friendly, is it in multiple languages, is it current), keep track of resources collected (developing a binder or computer folder), and organize it into a meaningful, balanced presentation (how to keep personal biases and opinions out).

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4 responses »

  1. mcmahen says:

    Great introduction as to all the goals and daily decision we make as part of a typical day.
    The modification of your goal, as you pointed out leads to so many objectives/avenues in order to reach the goal.

  2. Dana Yarbrough says:

    I still have a long way to go in producing well written goals, but what and how the authors shared goal writing was the first time I really understood the process!

  3. Fran says:

    Nice summary Dana. I’m thrilled to hear that the readings are encouraging you to re-think how you are viewing past learning experiences and designing future ones. Your re-design of your goal is nice. I look forward to seeing how this continues to evolve for you. Keep in mind that APA formatting and citations that follow a direct quote need a page number after the date. In-text citation references, such as Rose and Meyer, also need a date to follow. Thus this should read Rose and Meyer (2002). Look back to your APA manual as a reference. Once you master this process, it will serve you well in your graduate work forward!

  4. dgarcia30 says:

    I find that the “connect the why (importance to me)”, is the one that educators forget or fail to present to the class. Teachers usually post goals, standards etc… but the why is sometimes not stated. In transition classes/programs the why is always stated as a motivation to learn and transition to adulthood but not so much in other subjects areas.

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