Student-Led Goal Setting Inspires Ownership of Learning

ICS Primary School students are very active in their learning by setting goals for themselves and managing their time effectively. The students monitor their own progression, getting to see first-hand their accomplishments and what they are capable of.

Student-Led Goal Setting Inspires Ownership of LearningSetting goals helps youngsters become active learners and achievers, in addition to assessment capable. Positive academic benefits include an increase in students’ self-motivation to further their learning. Routinely in ICS classrooms, distinct goals are established, and thus, students are better able to take ownership of their learning. 

According to a Grade 5 student, “We have these class goals, which we work on together as a team, as a group, so we can all be focussed and together as one class. But we also have individual goals to work on for ourselves”. The individual goals are those selected personally by each student, “We’ll write the goal, we’ll pick an ATL, then we’ll focus on it all week; and write down little things, like how it feels; how it looks; how it sounds. Then at the end of the week, we reflect on it”, another pupil noted. Our Grade 1 students are also keenly active in establishing their own goals, “We choose our own goal and not something somebody has decided for us”, commented one. 

Self-assessment is an invaluable facet of the programme. Establishing benchmarks is to measure performance outcomes and academic attainment. According to a student participant, “During the week we get evidence of whether we did the goal good or bad; we will write a report saying we did good and have evidence on each day”. 

Research on children setting personal and academic goals has revealed how they are more apt to gain a sense of mastery and build healthy self-esteem, along with improved academic performance. And the role of self-esteem in learning and children feeling more capable, motivated, is well documented. Ownership over their learning is paramount at ICS and student feedback regarding the planning and goals setting programme has been highly positive. Upon reflection, Primary student assertions included:

“Goal setting helped me as a learner”.

“In Grade 4 it was like learning going towards me but now it is like me going towards the learning”.

“What I like is that It pushes me to do my best”.

“It’s important because before I was saying that I can’t do this, and now I believe in myself”.

In short, goals-based learning is a dynamic approach that builds collaboration, creativity, along with children’s critical thinking skills. Youngsters who were apprehensive about attaining a certain skill or knowledge are bolstered by seeing their defined learning goals come to fruition, and the confidence to take charge of one’s own learning endeavours is empowering. 

To learn more about our self-directed learning in the classroom, prospective families are invited to attend our upcoming Primary School Open House, scheduled for Thursday 31 March 2022. Those interested in becoming more familiar with ICS and the IB’s Primary Years Programme (PYP) are kindly requested to reach out to our Admissions team at or telephone +41 044 919 83 00.

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