Four Steps To Achieve Your Goals With the Australian Teaching Standards

“All successful people have a goal. No one can get anywhere unless he knows where he wants to go and what he wants to be or do. ”

Norman Vincent Peale

As stated above by the famous author of The Power of Positive Thinking, Norman Vincent Peale, and by athletes across the globe, goals are essential to driving improvement. Without goals, individuals are more likely to be stagnant and become frustrated with their work or skill set because they are unable to measure their growth and success.

To prevent these feelings from arising in teachers, The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) created seven Australian teaching standards to set a clear outline of what is expected of teachers in each career stage, as well as, provide teachers with a guideline for how to improve their practice and advance in their career.

This article will model how teachers can effectively use Australian teaching standards to set goals.

If you are new to the Australian teaching standards or are looking for an overview of how the standards were created and organised, we recommend beginning with this article.

The Importance of Clear Goals

Before we begin setting goals, it is important to discuss the five characteristics of a properly set goal

Australian teaching standards | Leaders of Evolution

In 1981, George Doran, Arthur Miller, and James Cunnigham coined the acronym SMART to easily summarise the key elements of goal with an increased chance of being accomplished.

Specific – What exactly will you do?

To ensure your goal is specific, start by answering the questions who, what, and why.

Measurable – How will you know if you succeeded?

Make sure there is a clear point at which you will know you succeeded. After all, what’s the point of setting a goal if you cannot accomplish it?

Attainable – Is it possible for you to achieve your goal? 

Anyone can set big goals; however, they are purposeless if there is no chance they can be achieved. Be sure to ask yourself if you have tools necessary to accomplish your goal. Setting too lofty of a goal can be defeating. Instead, work with a series of smaller goals that progress to your larger goal.

Realistic (sometimes also swapped for relevant) – Are you actually in the position to achieve your goal?

Be realistic with yourself. Is this goal feasible? In addition, is it relevant to your long-term goals or other life values?

Timely – When will you meet your goal?

Answer the when. An open-ended goal leaves time for you to procrastinate and put things off. Setting a deadline for yourself allows you to work backwards and progress toward your goal when necessary.

Using these five characteristics as a check-list for goal setting is a great way to set yourself up for success and make sure the time and effort you put toward goal setting does not go wasted.

Applying SMART Goal Setting to the Australian Teaching Standards

Luckily for teachers, the Australian Teaching Standards outlines what is expected of teachers at each stage of their career. This eliminates the guesswork and is a great starting point for teacher goal setting.

To set a goal using the Australian Teaching Standards follow these four steps.

Step 1: Carefully review your most recent evaluation and career stage.

During your review, see if particular standards jump out at you, possibly because they interest you most or are your strengths or areas of improvement.

For this example, I will imagine that I am a graduate teacher that is especially interested in planning and implementing effective teaching (Standard 3).

Australian teaching standards | Leaders of Evolution

Step 2: Select a standard and a focus area.

Although Australian Teaching Standards are interconnected, to keep our goals specific, we want to hone in on a focus area within one standard.

For example, I will select Focus area 3.1 – Establish challenging learning goals.

Step 3: Contrast the descriptors of your current career stage with that of the stage one above you.

Within these descriptors, you will be able to identify the actions necessary to improve in that focus area.

The graduate description of 3.1: Set learning goals that provide achievable challenges for students of varying abilities and characteristics.

The Proficient description of 3.1: Set explicit, challenging, and achievable learning goals for all students.

By contrasting these two descriptions, I can see that I must make learning objectives explicit and personable to each student in order to improve in this area.

Step 4: Work your way through SMART.

Now that you have identified what is necessary to improve, you need to set a goal that meets all five SMART characteristics. Write a goal and ask yourself all five questions. 

A SMART goal for this example may be: During the first week of our next unit, I will communicate personalised learning objectives during an individual conversation with each student.

If you can answer each question your goal is set to go!

Leaders of Evolution and SMART Goal Setting

Just as professionals need to set goals to continuously improve, at Leaders of Evolution, we believe it is beneficial and rewarding to teach students how to properly set goals.

To view our free goal setting worksheet and learn more about how our programs can help your students succeed- click here.

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Hannah Hunt

Former Division 1 lacrosse player who is still trying to get her fill of competition through local club sports and intramurals. Hannah is her happiest when doing something active or spending time with friends and family. Currently living abroad with her husband, she stays busy learning the language, exploring new places, and cooking fun recipes.


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