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10-15 minutes


Weekly / Monthly


Paper and writing materials


To help students keep their focus on why they are doing certain things, thus helping them to maintain their motivation towards achieving their goal

  • Provide context for the practice (see “Evidence” section).

NOTE: simply working hard is not all that is necessary for racialized and marginalized students to overcome historical/colonial barriers.

  • Discuss the importance of goal setting.
  • Choose a goal for the week, month, semester or term. Students creatively record this in an image (accompanied with an inspirational sentence or two). This can be done through drawing or images from the Internet.
  • Ask students to put it somewhere to remind them of the goal they are working toward when they feel unmotivated (such as their locker, binder or elsewhere that is accessible during the school day).

Taking a growth mindset appears to be a helpful tool for facing challenges. It provides a space for learning through difficulties, and for thriving in spite of hurdles (Dweck 2006; Dweck, 2008; Boaler, 2013). Though the evidence base is young in this area, encouraging a growth mindset seems to hold promise for reframing negative life events and inspiring positive action. Using practices that model expectations for adolescents and allow them to self-monitor their own behaviour has been shown to increase academic engagement, attention, social competence, recall and long term memory, and improve behavior (Embry & Biglan, 2008). Additionally, Embry & Biglan (2008) report that using a graphic organizer to chart goal-based behavior, that is supported and guided by status individuals, like educators, results in increased rates of goal completion.

Boaler, J. (2013, March). Ability and mathematics: The mindset revolution that is reshaping education. In Forum (Vol. 55, No. 1, pp. 143-152). Symposium Journals. Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Random House.

Dweck, C. S. (2008). Mindsets and Math. Science Achievement, 2, 1-1.

Embry, D. D., & Biglan, A. (2008). Evidence-based kernels: fundamental units of behavioral influence. Clinical child and family psychology review, 11(3), 75–113. doi:10.1007/s10567-008-0036-x