I spend quite a bit of time during the summer reading articles and blog posts to see what other librarians and educators are doing around the country and finding ways to improve my own practice. I was quite taken with a blog post by Vicki Davis at the Cool Cat Teacher Blog about soft goals.
I hadn’t heard the term before, but I was pretty sure I knew what it meant. Soft goals have to do with concentrating on who we want our students/patrons to be rather than what we want them to do. Davis says, “Intentionally think about your soft goals because these give you a canvas upon which you will paint your class activities.”
This idea is easily extended to the library in the school, since it is indeed a classroom, but also to the public library as well. I know that it’s difficult to slow down sometimes and bring explicit intent to our daily interactions with our students/patrons, but it is necessary. And I truly believe that it will bring better service.
Some of the ways that I want my students to be include curious, kind, brave and generous. I am thinking of ways that my curriculum can foster this. The books that I choose to read, the books I pull for display, the the bulletin boards and even what home-screens are on the computers all play a part in fulfilling these soft goals I have for my students. I plan on making sure that research projects can reflect some of these goals as well by emphasizing teamwork and risk taking.
As things seem to pick up speed for our students/patrons it is our job to slow things back down. Bring intent to the table, rather than the answers. It really is about the process rather than the product.