Transfer goals are an incredibly important part of creating a meaningful curriculum plan that will help your students achieve long-term success. Jay McTighe, author of the award-winning book Understanding by Design®, discusses the importance of transfer goals at length in his work.
Every discipline has goals that guide what students will learn and demonstrate over the course of a unit, a semester, or an entire school year, but transfer goals go beyond the arbitrary time boundaries of an academic institution and help educators recognize the big picture: giving students the skills necessary for success that will last the rest of their lives.
In order to better understand transfer goals, it’s useful to take a closer look at how they operate in different disciplines. Here we’ll explore some of McTighe’s suggested transfer goals for health and physical education.
A Closer Look
McTighe lists the following transfer goals as examples (though not exhaustive ones) that could be used for health and physical education classes.
- Make healthful choices and decisions regarding diet, exercise, stress management, alcohol/drug use throughout one’s life.
- Play a chosen game skillfully and with good sportsmanship
As you can see from these representative goals, transfer goals are rooted in the discipline in which they are introduced, but they also reach beyond the bounds of that discipline to show connections between different fields.
An Interdisciplinary Perspective
This connection is crucial because it prods students to decompartmentalize their own understanding of their educational goals and achievements. This can be especially important in a class like P.E. After all, P.E. classes often take place in a different setting than other classes, and—depending on the school schedule—it may occur with less frequency or be one of only a few classes taught by a different instructor. In other words, the institutional set up of a class like P.E. can make it more likely that students see the lessons learned there in an isolated way.
However, by ensuring that the curriculum for these classes are planned with transfer goals in mind, educators can show students the connection between their physical education lessons and their other classes, ultimately demonstrating the interconnectedness of all of their educational experiences.
By connecting P.E. to things like stress management and healthful choices regarding diet, exercise, and drug use, these transfer goals connection physical education lessons to science and psychology in a direct way.
Building “Soft Skills”
What’s even more important is that these transfer goals touch upon life lessons that aren’t confined to a single discipline. These so-called “soft skills” include things like time management, interpersonal communication, and self-awareness, and they are important skills to master for the workplace and to ensure a successful social life in school and beyond.
In these examples transfer goals, the focus on sportsmanship and making healthful decisions is directly aligned with these kinds of soft skills that are crucial for helping students develop the sense of self and interpersonal skills necessary for long-term success.
Overall, setting transfer goals in physical education and health helps establish this discipline as a core component of al lifelong strategy for self-care and positive social interactions, and these are invaluable lessons that students will use throughout their entire lives.