Mike Gershon: Target Tokens

A simple way to keep learning on track

How do you help students implement their targets during your lessons? And how do you keep their attention focussed on their targets? After all, this can easily drift onto other things as the lesson progresses and learning develops.

One option is to use target tokens.

Target Tokens

This is a simple, time-saving way to keep targets at the forefront of students' minds. It also makes it easy for you to keep track of who has moved on and who might need a reminder or a helping hand. Here's how it works:

At the start of the lesson, give each student in your class a token. The simplest option is to cut up a couple of sheets of coloured card, creating as many tokens as there are students in your class. Bright coloured card is preferable as this is easier to see at a glance.

Explain the target tokens are there to remind students that they should be trying to implement their current target during the course of the lesson. Ask learners to place their tokens somewhere prominent on their desks; and to hold them up in the air for you to collect when they think they have successfully implemented their target.

A few things follow.

First, you and your students now have a bright visual aid to remind you both that targets remain a focus during the course of the lesson - even in the face of new content and learning opportunities.

Second, when students hand their tokens in you have a perfect opportunity to check the efficacy of their efforts and to set a new challenge if you feel they've been successful.

Third, and finally, as the lesson progresses you will soon see which students are either forgetting about their targets or struggling to implement them. You can then visit these students to offer support, advice and guidance.

If you and your learners like the technique, why not get them to make their own, named tokens?

You can then laminate these and hand them out over and again, giving students a greater sense of ownership in the process.


Mike Gershon
Mike is recognised in the the UK and overseas as an expert on teaching and learning. He is the author of more than 80 books and guides covering different areas of classroom practice, including a number of bestsellers. Mike is also the creator of two bestselling online courses, covering outstanding teaching and growth mindsets.