SAIIER 2019:Isai Ambalam School - Critical skills of Goal Setting and Perfection
|Critical skills of Goal Setting and Perfection leading to inculcating deeper values and improved school environment|
A project of Isai Ambalam School
This was an action research project for teachers at Isai Ambalam School, the primary purpose being to effect positive changes in the school.
The research questions were:
- How does an application of the critical skills of goal setting and perfection make teachers more effective at what they do?
- What role does reflection and sharing over time have in the ability to sustain effort in applying these skills?
- Can repeatedly applying these two critical skills result in imbibing deeper qualities of the Mother of Perfection, not only in the work but also in oneself?
- Is there a sustained improvement in children, especially in recurring learning difficulties due to applying these methods?
- What is a meaningful and effective way to equip children with these critical skills?
Description of project:
Out of the 11 full time teachers who participated in the research, 5 teachers had some experience with goal setting and perfection before. The rest of the teachers were new to this approach.
All the teachers first watched the DVD from Thalir-Thiran-Thittam on ‘Win with goal setting and Win with perfection’. Role-play was demonstrated during every pause of the video. For example, we showed the comparison of two pictures by enacting the play from the video. They understood how perfection should be and also its process. Through the DVD they also learnt how a goal should be converted into ‘SMART’ (Specific, Measurable, Acceptable, Realistic and Time-bound) goal. There were 2 lessons in perfection and 5 lessons in goal setting. The DVD explained educational goals, professional goals and self-improvement goals. We have taken education and professional goals for our research project.
The teachers took notes on the videos and afterwards discussed and practiced making the goals they had into SMART goals. Then a volunteer came up with activities where were worked to understood the process of perfection. After that, the teachers, including STEM Land teachers, who were available at that time wrote their experiences on goal setting and perfection.
This research focuses on the full time teachers who were exposed to goal setting and perfection and continued to write their reflections and participated in future surveys, materials, etc.
The teachers and the students have benefited. At the beginning the new teachers found it difficult to understand to make the task into specific goals. But after writing 2 to 3 experiences, they got clarity on what they were doing. Then they took weekly goals based on the needs of the children and completed them.
The teachers are able to write their teaching, learning experiences on planning and perfection. They are able to review their work. They are able to finish the work on time. They are able to come on time to school every day. They are also able to share their daily reflections in the morning circle and conversed in English. Their communication skills have improved. They are also able to write their experiences in English with simple sentences.
A very important change in the teachers was their ability to distinguish between outputs and outcomes. This helped them target improving outcomes in children rather than only creating the outputs that they had focused on before. The result of this was that children improved in their abilities beyond only being able to answer specific questions in the text book, e.g. their ability to read a newspaper and other books.
Even the small goal of ‘meeting on time in the morning to share before school starts’ has seen an increase in the number of teachers who make it on time.
We observed that the learning difficulties of the students reduced. Self motivation of the students was increased. They have increased curiosity for learning new things. They started taking responsibility of their individual work. They became more aware of completing their homework.
The teachers also noticed the changes from the students like, making less mistakes in languages, increased habit in reading, involving in classroom activities enthusiastically and taking responsibility.
We also saw a few improvements of the event which the children put up for parents at the end of each term. By the end of the school year we were able to see a distinct difference in the event compared to the earlier ones due to planning, time management, organizing the programs, and variety of activities. We saw that many of the activities reflected things the students had learned differently and their outcomes. We also saw an increased number of parents who came and stayed till the end of the program.
With the help of this project we have created the environment of planning and execution rather than reactive fire-fighting. The teachers acquired the skills of preparing the right plan based on the needs of the children. They learnt to complete the goal perfectly. In time teachers were more organized and prepared for the classes, and they also prepared Teaching and Learning Materials for the students. They are able to feel the sense of perfection set by the Mother in their work, and they carry on the vibration in their own life too.
Most challenging about this project was that teachers found reflection in writing really hard especially in English. Although each teacher gave in many reflections by the end of the project, they found it really difficult to do in the beginning. The teachers are able to reflect on goal setting and perfection after an activity is done, now, but recording it in writing is still something they do only when asked.
The activities and experiences of the teachers have had three-fold impacts on them:
- All the teachers who took up these two skills vigorously practiced learning their academic subjects, and they will use it in their personal life too.
- These encouraging outcomes have now resulted in a positive manner in the entire academic year of 2018-19 for creating a Collaborative Learning Community.
- It supported the teachers to convert problems to SMART goals that can be achieved within a certain time.
Towards the closing of the year we teachers had a week together where we read a chapter on the three principles of true education and their application to a school (in the book Psychic Education). We felt inspired and our insights were deep, and we felt that perhaps while we could see the functional improvement through the DVD we used (which was created with a corporate culture), we could undertake something that would inspire us and connect with our spiritual nature. We will be taking this up in the next academic year with the help of a personality development program.