Why learners should set personal goals

The holiday is a few weeks to the close and most students have already started preparing to go back to school for the first term. The new academic year means that most of them will be moving to the next class, depending on the curriculum at their school.

The holiday is a few weeks to the close and most students have already started preparing to go back to school for the first term. The new academic year means that most of them will be moving to the next class, depending on the curriculum at their school.

As such, education experts say students ought to set personal goals to cover their daily, weekly, monthly or annual routines to ensure a successful academic journey.

Diana Nawatti, the head teacher, Mother Mary Complex School in Kibagabaga, Kigali, advises that as students, drawing a plan to include all activities ranging from studies, to co-curricular activities, is the key to success.

How to go about it

As the year begins, Valens Mushinzimana, the deputy headmaster in charge of discipline at Lycée de Kigali, says students should come up with what they want to accomplish in the first term.

He explains that, for instance, coming out with clear targets in all subjects is just one way of ensuring that one becomes successful within a set time span.

“Developing a positive relationship with teachers can be another strategy to excel as it helps students work on the set academic goals with the help of teachers,” he says.

Mushinzimana adds that learning how to manage time is another key aspect when it comes to achieving the set goals.

He says a good plan starts with students setting annual or monthly expectations.

“For instance, regarding performance, the work-plan should clearly reflect how they plan to reach their goals,” he adds.

For Lilian Mbabazi, a teacher at Little Angels in Kicukiro,Kigali, setting a personal timetable, which includes the schedule from early morning to the end of the day, is key in achieving one’s goals.

However, she points out that for this to be successful, students should get the input of a teacher or mentor as they are well versed with the former’s strength and weaknesses.

Importance of planning

Nawatti says a plan helps students to be organised in whatever they do, thus saving time. She adds that drawing a work-plan also prepares them to become independent.

“When a student has come up with a plan while at home during the holidays or at school, it guides them on prioritising what they should be doing in order to achieve the goals set,” she says.

On the other hand, when a student develops a plan, it eases a parent’s role in guiding and supporting them towards following what they have come up with.

“This comes by way of giving them time to revise, as well as guiding them where they find a challenge,” she adds.

Eunice Uwamahoro, a community leader and a parent is of the view that through strategic planning, students who have been performing well are enabled to stay on course, while weak ones get a chance to improve.

She notes that in most cases, developing a plan helps students to value time and limits them from involving themselves in vices which always come about due to idleness.

“With the help of parents, children can be assisted so that they strictly follow the set plans. This means that students will always have time for everything since the plan includes all the activities to be covered in a specified time frame,” she says.

Uwamahoro says the work-plan helps students create a healthy balance between academics and co-curricular activities.

Mushinzimana, however, notes that it’s also important for mentors, teachers and even parents to be able to regularly assess students after some time, be it after a month, term or even after one year, to find out if they are still on course or are facing any challenges.

“Whenever the problem is found, it’s an opportunity for them to work closely with students to make sure they remain on track,” he says.

Mushinzimana adds that setting goals and coming up with clear work-plans does not only apply in school but also empowers students to be successful outside the school environment.

For instance, he says for entrepreneurship students, after school they can apply the same approach to run their own business or even at work places.

He adds that developing a plan improves critical thinking, which is one of the most thought-after skills on the job market.

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