Problem solving and goal setting are important components of self-determination that young people learn over time. This study describes and validates a model of teaching in early elementary grades that teachers can use to infuse these activities into existing curricula and programs. Can young children set goals for learning using the Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction, and can teachers implement this model in a variety of subjects and settings with students having diverse learning needs? Our results show that even the youngest students (ages 5 - 6) were able to set goals and use the model to achieve. Teachers used the model effectively to support the investigation of student interests, the facilitation of choices, and the goal setting and attainment of young children.
Palmer and Wehmeyer’s work motivates MARIO’s commitment to setting personalized learning goals at all stages of development. This study has implications for MARIO Educators at all levels, but particularly those who are supporting younger learners.