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Desert Highway
Thoughtful writing authored and shared by members of of the Thinking Collaborative community to support others on the journey.

Sustaining the Journey

AS & CC in the Classroom

Authored By:

Thinking Collaborative


October 03, 2016

Adaptive Schools and Cognitive Coachingsm in the classroom can be very powerful. The September 8, 2016 of ASCD Express included an article by Patricia A. Hanson entitled “Starting the Conversation About Academic Goal Setting” (Volume 12 | Issue 1). Hanson writes about the importance of asking students both to define and describe what goal setting is and to encourage them to see the importance of developing the practice. In the early days of an English 12 class in Upstate New York where students were concurrently enrolled in a high school course for college credit, one teacher would frequently have planning conversations with students.

Hanson recommends a series of closed questions like:

• Do you set goals for yourself? Why or why not?

• What kinds of goals do you set?

• What is a recent goal that you set? Did you achieve it? How?

• How do you respond if you do or don’t achieve your goal

Instead, a teacher trained in Cognitive Coachingsm might ask questions like:

• What might be some of your goals for class (for your writing, for your reading life, etc) this year?

• What will it look like, sound like, feel like when you are successful?

• What might be some strategies that you can utilize to develop your essays?

• What might be some things you want to do really well this year in class?

Students could document notes from the planning conversations in their classroom writing portfolios. In addition to the essays, the teacher and the students could establish a coaching log to record short-term and long-term goals. Hanson writes, “Creating conversations about goal-setting in our classrooms, as well as what is working and what isn’t, allows students to engage in their education. Students learn the value of setting long- and short-term goals, and they learn from their peers about different ways to set goals and how to respond in a positive manner when we reach—or struggle to reach—our goals. By creating spaces to discuss goal setting and recognizing their successes and misses, students become vested in a true community of learners.” The goal of CCsm and its “sister body of work” Habits of Mind is to create self-direction in individuals. Goal setting via Planning Conversations is a first step.

Moss and Brookhart write in Chapter Four of Advancing Formative Assessment in Every Classroom, “It’s no secret that students learn best when they are actively and intentionally engaged in their own learning. But classrooms full of actively engaged students don’t just happen. They are created when teachers intentionally work to develop self-regulated learners who set their own goals, select effective strategies to reach those goals, and monitor and adjust what they do depending on the demands of the task and their own strengths and needs.”

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