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Tutor Tip of the Month: Working with learner goals

Goals can be a road map to help you and your student plan for the development of the skills your student needs to reach his or her full potential. Rather than be intimidated by trying to identify goals, realize (and reassure your learner) that goals are the way to achieve what we want and dream. If we don’t know where we want to go, we won’t know how to get there or what steps to take!

To make goals become more manageable, work with your learner to map out the steps to the goals. These activities, or action steps, also are the little steps that move us toward the goal. For each action step, talk through the activity and identify what information is needed to achieve it (research would be a new action step). Work out which activities can be incorporated into tutoring sessions. If achieving the goal requires new skills, such as learning to use email or a checking account, developing and practicing those skills can be part of tutoring.

Some people benefit from a visual reminder of the goal and the path to the goal. This can be a chart or a collage of photos from magazines or the Internet. It doesn’t need to be fancy. It just has to help keep our eye on the goal and our progress toward it, and to remind us why we want to get there.

(Resource: “Identifying Student Needs,” from Tutor Exchange Newsletter, Winter 2004. A publication of the Southern California Library Literacy Network)

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