Setting SMART targets for a new academic year | A-Star Classroom
Often as the new academic year approaches, teachers start getting excited again about all the new things they’re going to try out with their new class – new displays, new topics, new seating arrangements, initiatives, pedagogies…the list goes on.
Over the years, I’ve learnt the importance of setting SMART targets. If you haven’t come across this acronym before, check out the link below:
SMART stands for the following:
- Time Bound
I bet many of us could make a long list of all those ideas we tried to put into practice that didn’t work…usually because it became bottom of the priority list once school was up and running, it was far too time consuming and other initiatives took its place, or quite frankly we didn’t give it enough time before we decided the children weren’t engaging and perhaps it wasn’t having the impact we intended. In itself, this is by no means a wasted exercise, as by trying things out, we begin to hone in on those initiatives that really work and are specific to the children we have in front of us. Education is certainly not a ‘one size fits all’ sort of vocation!
However, as I look forward to this September following the most challenging year I have ever experienced, I’m keen to make sure that my targets are SMART and I’m kind to myself throughout the process of setting them, implementing them and measuring their impact.
Restrictions during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021 have impacted children both personally and academically in so many different ways. One restriction which left a gaping hole in the daily lives of the children I teach was the lack of singing. With a whole-school target being children’s wellbeing, this seemed an obvious first target for Music at my school. This is already specific, it seems easy to measure its impact, it was absolutely actionable through using singing again in music lessons and potentially weekly singing assemblies (advice pending), was realistic as this is already part of a music teacher’s timetable and it was time bound – I would include singing in my weekly lessons and gather pupil voice at the end of the term.
I wanted my second target for our Music curriculum to be based on extra-curricular learning. This was again something which we really felt was missing from the last academic year. It’s often during extra-curricular activities where you really notice a child’s talent and enthusiasm for a specific aspect of the music curriculum and can see them flourish outside of the classroom environment. This year I’ll be taking on a Key Stage 1 choir, a Ukulele Squad and a Samba Collective. My second target will be to grow these as extra-curricular opportunities.
Finally, my third target is based around the implementation of our Music curriculum. Through pupil voice, carried out at the end of last year, it became really clear that children loved ‘doing’ music. They perceived music to be an active, physical subject in their timetable and an opportunity to be creative and imaginative. Having embraced the online learning culture throughout various lockdowns last year, I had to become creative in musical activities that children could engage with from home. Children have clearly now returned to school desperate to get their hands back on the instruments and to create. My third target is more of a pledge – to allow children the space and freedom within the curriculum to compose, create and express themselves imaginatively. This is a great way to get children to explore timbre and texture through instruments and discover their own authentic music-making journey.
To conclude, my three targets for this academic year are:
- To get singing!
- To grow our extra-curricular opportunities
- To allow space and time for children to creatively explore, create and discover
What will your three SMART targets be for this academic year?
Katie Miner - Primary Music Specialist