Introduction to Goal Setting


Introduction to Goal Setting

Learning Objective

To help students begin to understand the importance of setting goals to reach their dreams


road map, motivational


Basic Skills: Listening; Writing

Information: Interprets and communicates information

Instructions for Conducting the Activity

Brainstorm with students the different words we use to talk about what we want to do in the future such as:

• dreams

• hopes

• wishes

• wants

• goals

• aspirations

Provide students with copies of the handout: “Student Goal Scenarios”.  Choose some scenarios to read aloud in class while students read along. Have students look at the goal scenarios, individually or in pairs, and answer this question about each scenario: “what are the writer’s goals for this year?”

Students can break out each of the goals and record them on a worksheet.  Then ask students to write down short answers to the following questions:

• What were some dreams or hopes that I had for my life when I was a child?

• What hopes or dreams did I have about my career when I was younger?

• What hopes or dreams do I have for my life now?

• What hopes or dreams do I have for my career now?

• What do I need to do to reach my dreams?

• Where do I see myself in five years?

Students can share their answers in pairs or in a large group.

Then, as a class, brainstorm reasons why it is important to have goals. Some answers might include:

• something to work toward

• need a road map

• motivational

• need something concrete

Explain that when we can see clearly what our goals are, then it is more likely that we will achieve them. You need to start with a goal in mind. Having a plan helps you to get to where you want to go. It is important to remember that goals are not set in stone. Goals may change over time as we change.

Extension Activity

Have students practice writing goals through journals or prompts. Use a selection of those goals to illustrate the process of setting realistic goals and to inspire other students to write their own goals.

Student Goal Scenarios

1. Farouk moved here from Pakistan two years ago. His English is so-so. He has a good job and he saved some money. He doesn’t want to live in an apartment anymore. He is thinking about buying a house but he doesn’t understand the financial systems in the United States very well.  He also doesn’t understand the culture of Americans so he doesn’t have many friends. What are his goals for this year?

2. Min Wei is from China. She is at school to learn English. She is 65 years old and she went to the doctor. She is not healthy right now. She smokes because she is very stressed about her new life in the United States. She is also very lonely in the United States. She needs to meet friends and find a place to go for recreation. Her friend goes to the library but Min doesn’t have a library card. She knows some people go to community events but she is shy and afraid.  What are her goals this year?

3. Luis moved here from the Dominican Republic five years ago. He speaks English but wants to learn more. He works now, but he doesn’t make much money. He needs to find a new job. He knows he could get a better job if he used computers, but he doesn’t know about computers.  Luis knows that he can be a citizen of the United States now because he has lived here for five years. What are his goals this year?

4. Blanca is from Ecuador. She moved here a year ago. She is studying English. She has two kids, and they are in elementary school. They need help with homework, but she isn’t sure she is smart enough to help them. She didn’t finish high school so she doesn’t have a diploma or GED. She wants to get her GED. She is also tired of taking the bus to pick up her children and she has a car but not a license. What are her goals for this year?

5. Nubar has many goals for the future. Some of his goals will take a long time, even if he works hard. He will study every day to get his GED. In about three years, he wants to start college to become a computer technician someday. He and his girlfriend want to get married and have children sometime in the future. He will need a good job so he can help his family. What are his goals for this year?


Adapted and used with permission from the Lawrence Public Schools Adult Learning Center

Integrating Career Awareness into the ABE & ESOL Classroom



Author: Dennis Hickey

There are no limits to success to those who never stop learning. Learning will nourish your personal growth. I hope you enjoy this website and visit often so you keep learning and growing too!

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