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When I talk with my students about goal-setting, I encourage them to think hard about their goals and really hone in on what it will take to reach that goal. I encourage them to create SMART goals, along with an action plan. Often, our thought process is general and vague - this leads us to set goals that we aren't going to meet, which is why people often give up on their New Year's resolutions. "Saving money" and "losing weight" are common goals that many people have, but these are example of non-SMART goals. Likewise, many students set non-SMART goals when it comes to their academics. SMART is an acronym that can help students set personal and academic goals. I break it down here:  Specific: A goal of “getting good grades” is too general. Instead, specify what exactly will be accomplished. What grade are you shooting for? In what class? A SMART goal would instead look like “Raising my Geometry grade from a B- to a B by next semester.” Measurable: Establish... read more

Every piano teacher uses different techniques and styles of teaching in their piano lessons. The way they teach is usually based upon their 'teaching philosophy' or their beliefs on teaching and learning and how they incorporate these beliefs into their lessons. Most experienced instructors will have a written teaching philosophy and students/parents should not hesitate to ask their teacher to share it with them. Two important concepts to consider within a teaching philosophy are 'performance goals' and 'learning goals'. There are pros and cons to both, so let us first read the following descriptions: -Performance Goals: emphasis on doing better than others and publicly proving one’s high ability. Approaching academic challenges with the desire to gain favorable and to avoid unfavorable evaluations of competence. Performance goals include learning a piece for competitions, recitals, or to impress teachers/parents/peers. -Learning Goals: emphasis... read more

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