As an adult, you’ve probably had many experiences in life that were the result of hard work, dedication and focus. This could have been starting a new enterprise, getting a promotion at work or achieving a fitness goal. Thinking back to these experiences, you probably recall that many of your achievements were the result of a lot of personal growth and goal setting.
Your child is learning these very same skills that have benefited you. In school, your child is learning to set their own benchmarks and work towards those goals on a daily basis. At OWIS, we encourage a culture of continuous improvement through personal benchmarking. Here’s what you need to know about this process.
What Does Personalised Benchmarking Mean and How Does It Apply to Students?
Personalised benchmarking is a tool for students to grow as individuals. Personalised benchmarks are based on the achievements and previous efforts of the individual child. Engaging in benchmarking helps your child develop intrinsic motivation. When students achieve personal benchmarks, they’re competing with themselves, constantly working to improve.
What Can Your Child Do to Set Their Benchmarks?
Children at OWIS are taught to use a variety of tools for self-reflection to set their benchmarks. SWOT analysis is one such example. SWOT is a helpful grid to evaluate one’s strengths and weaknesses, and this can be used to determine where your child can focus their academic energy.
Using SWOT analysis, perhaps even for every subject, children can determine where they are in that subject and how they can improve. This enables students to focus their energy on activities that will benefit them most. Performing a SWOT is also a way for students to achieve existing academic goals by focusing on improving areas of weakness.
SMART goal setting is another method that your child can use to set and achieve benchmarks.
Why SMART goals? Often, students who set goals for themselves do so without giving themselves a way to determine whether they’ve achieved their goal. Using the SMART method, children are taught to write goals that are specific and measurable. By setting a metric, the child knows when they’ve reached the goal line.
For a student trying to write their own smart goal, they must simply compare the goal to the SMART mnemonic. Is the goal specific? How will success be measured? Is the goal attainable? Will the goal help the student reach their benchmark? What is the deadline for the goal? By asking these questions, students can determine whether their goals are SMART.
How Do Students at OWIS Learn to Set Benchmarks?
Students have to own their learning and success criteria at OWIS. They are encouraged to set their own personalised goals and decide for themselves how to reach those goals. Teachers at OWIS provide personalised feedback to each student to help them set specific goals. During these one-on-one sessions, teachers at OWIS also help students develop SMART targets for them to focus on.
Through this process, your child will be involved in their own goal-setting and validation of their goals. Your child will learn to set their rubric to understand where they are and how they can move forward.
Starting at around Grade 4 and above, our primary students engage in productive self-reflection and goal-setting throughout their academic journey.
Should You Be Encouraging Your Child to Engage in Benchmarking?
Students (upper primary and secondary) can use personal benchmarking as a tool to grow and set new goals for themselves at every stage. Setting personal benchmarks helps students stay organised and focused as they develop their academic skills. Benchmarking also allows students to identify areas of strength and areas that can be improved.
Yes, it’s always a good idea to encourage your child to engage in personal benchmarking – but children enrolled in OWIS are already learning these skills in school. To find out more about how your child is developing their intrinsic motivation at OWIS, or to find out how your child can benefit from enrolling at OWIS, join us for a school tour.
(This blog was originally written in collaboration with Ms Salimah Hariyani, former Grade 2 Teacher, OWIS Nanyang.)