Teaching Goal-Writing to All Students

On the first day of classes two years ago, I had students in my professional and technical writing course send me an email with their goals for the semester. I discovered they had no understanding of goals, expectations, or objectives. I realized there are reasons why students typically can't do this without additional coaching: 1) they do not know the language, the cause-effect, the psychology of responsibility, or the careful determination involved in setting goals and making a plan; 2) they do not see the relationship between their success and the stating of goals; 3) they have not had repeated exposure to this task; and 4) they do not understand that goals are important in learning and in the workplace.

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