Goal Setting - NSW Department of Education & Communities

March 2015
Performance and Development for Teachers in NSW Public Schools
Goal Setting
Professional learning for teachers and school leaders is one of the most
effective strategies for improving student outcomes. It is recommended
that teaching staff consider setting professional goals to improve their
teaching practice
Identify and plan professional learning needs
Demonstrate an
understanding of the
role of the Australian
Professional Standards for
Teachers in learning needs.
Use the Australian
Professional Standards for
Teachers and advice from
colleagues to identify and
plan professional learning
Analyse the Australian
Professional Standards for
Teachers to plan personal
professional development
goals, support colleagues
in identifying and achieving
personal development
goals, and pre-service
teachers in improving
classroom practice.
Use comprehensive
knowledge of the
Australian Professional
Standards for Teachers
to plan and lead
the development of
professional learning
policies and programs that
address the professional
learning needs of
colleagues and pre-service
Engage in professional learning and improve practice
Understand the relevant
and appropriate sources of
professional learning for
Participate in learning
to update knowledge
and practice targeted to
professional needs and
school and/or system
Plan for professional
learning by accessing and
critiquing relevant research,
engage in high-quality
targeted opportunities to
improve practice, and offer
quality placements for
pre-service teachers where
Initiate collaborative
relationships to expand
professional learning
opportunities, engage
in research, and provide
quality opportunities and
placements for
pre-service teachers.
NSW Department of Education and Communities | Performance and Development for Teachers in NSW Public Schools
Goal setting has yet to become personal, real and compelling
for us in our daily lives in schools. As a result we are missing
one of the most powerful tools for helping students achieve.
The loss to adults is just as profound. We are missing the
opportunities to experience empowerment, efficacy, and…
‘joy in work.’1
The basis for goal setting
The Great Teaching, Inspired Learning blueprint for action
requires all teachers to have a professional learning plan that
is aligned to the Professional Teaching Standards, career
aspirations and teacher development and school priorities.
A teacher’s goals, and collaboratively-developed professional
learning support, must take into account:
system priorities, such as new syllabuses
school priorities, such as strategic directions and whole
school professional learning plan
personal teaching and career aspirations
accreditation requirements, where applicable.
Setting, monitoring and reviewing
goals – three simple questions
Where am I going? What are the goals?
How am I going? What progress is being made toward
the goals?
Where to next? What do I need to do to achieve my goals?
Teachers can document, in collaboration with their supervisor,
short-term strategies that will directly support them to achieve
their goals over the course of the performance cycle. This may
include teaching strategies, capacity building, collaboration
and professional learning.
Teachers will also need to clearly nominate a range of
evidence that will demonstrate the achievement of their
performance and development goals. An agreement between
the teacher and supervisor should be reached about what will
constitute success (and what the evidence will look like
to demonstrate impact).
Using SMART to set goals
Specifically define what the teacher is expected to do/deliver.
Avoid generalities and use action verbs as much as possible.
The level of detail should reflect the teacher’s experience and autonomy in the role.
Identify how success will be measured - usually stated in terms of quantity, quality,
timeliness or cost.
Can the teacher successfully complete this goal with the skills, resources and time
available to them?
Are there factors beyond their control that need to be considered?
hile considering whether a goal is actionable/achievable, the teacher’s total
set of goals must be considered. While each individual goal may be achievable, overall,
the teacher may have more goals than they could reasonably be expected to successfully
complete in the time and with the resources available to them.
E nsure the goal is practical, results-oriented and within the teacher’s realm
of authority and capabilities.
Where appropriate, link the goal to a higher-level school goal, and ensure that the
teacher understands how their goal and actions contribute to the attainment of the
higher-level goals.
Specify when the goal needs to be completed.
NSW Department of Education and Communities | Performance and Development for Teachers in NSW Public Schools
A sample goal-setting scaffold
Goal (stated simply)
Improved skills in differentiating classroom activities to meet student needs
Evidence that will be used to
demonstrate progression and goal
Student surveys and school-based assessments (see specific items in year level
assessment schedule).
What actions will I take to achieve
the goal?
Peer observation, research, collaborative work with colleagues, trialling a range
of differentiated activities and evaluating the strategies used.
How does my goal connect to my
professional growth, my school’s
priorities and my students’
I want to ensure I am meeting students’ needs. Student surveys highlighted
the need for greater challenge. Appropriately challenging activities should lead
to greater student achievement.
Timeframe within which the goal
will be achieved
Within the first two terms.
Support that will be required from
the school to achieve the goal
Meetings with teaching and learning leader to improve understanding
of strategies for differentiating tasks.
Teaching and learning leader to scaffold development of classroom activities
and review planning documents.
Strategies for school leaders
Provide opportunities for professional learning that
enhances knowledge and skills related to specific goals.
Examine the potential risks in pursuing different goals
and be adaptable – this includes refining, adjusting or
developing new goals and/or plans if results are not evident
within a reasonable time.
Before assigning goals, give teachers the support and
resources to prepare them for the challenges they will
encounter in pursuing these goals.
Teachers should consider blocking out some time each week
to allow for self-reflection.
Some self-reflection questions:
Looking back at the past week or month, what activities
have you undertaken to work towards any of your goals?
– Did the activities help or hinder goal achievement? Why?
– How did the activities evidence progress against the goal?
– What are the key learnings? For example, is further work
required on these activities, or adjustments to the type of
evidence you are seeking?
Think about a specific recent situation in which you felt
very effective in relation to achieving one of your goals.
Words and actions should clearly convey that errors and
setbacks are transitory and part of the learning process.
– What made you feel effective? What did you do?
If a certain outcome or action is critical, set a goal for it.
– What are the key learnings from the situation?
Engage in frank conversations to bring forward beliefs and
values about the strategies needed for success.
Help ensure that teachers have the necessary level of selfconfidence to achieve the goal.
Reflecting on goal achievement
Self-reflection is an invaluable source of insight. To gain an
ongoing understanding into goal achievement, it is important
to regularly reflect on the goals set in the performance and
development plan. This will help to monitor progress toward
goal(s), assess the appropriateness of evidence, make changes
as required and prepare for the review phase.
Think about a specific recent situation in which you felt less
effective in relation to achieving one of your goals.
– What made you feel less effective? What did you do?
What hindered your effectiveness?
– What are the key learnings from the situation?
Think about the goals you set for this year in your
performance and development plan. Looking back at the
year so far, how far have you progressed towards achieving
your goals?
– What specific activities are required from here to ensure
that you will achieve your goals?
NSW Department of Education and Communities | Performance and Development for Teachers in NSW Public Schools
Further reading
Engaging in performance and development:
Australian Professional Standards for Teachers:
Performance and Development Framework for Principals,
Executives and Teachers:
NSW Department of Education and Communities | Performance and Development for Teachers in NSW Public Schools