To quote Robert Marzano’s A Handbook for Instruction that Works, “Students learn most efficiently when they know the goals of a specific lesson or learning activity. This makes intuitive sense. If students are aware of an intended outcome, they know what to focus on. When setting objectives, the teacher simply gives students a target for their learning.”
According to the Understanding by Design model, the following four criteria should be established:
- The objectives are posted where students can easily see and refer to them
- The objectives are written in language the students can understand
- The objectives are written to be focused, but not limiting
- The objectives are used by students and teacher throughout the lesson to monitor progress towards learning
Please check out the following excellent resource on ways to engage students in understanding and interacting with the lesson objectives. Scroll down to the bottom to view Powerpoints on the concepts and sample teacher developed exit tickets and reflection sheets. They are excellent exemplars to check out and adapt.
I have seen an increase in learning objectives throughout classrooms–new additions in the past week seen in the classrooms of Kati Welch, Karla Evers, Deb Cote, and David DellaCioppa. Go to Jocelyn Fassett’s room to see both learning objectives and unit essential questions. Check out Tammy D’Amato’s class to see unit objectives and key terms outlined. Sara Travers makes direct connections between the objectives and the practice problems. The department with the most consistency in posting learning objectives is definitely the world language department as a whole. You can see lesson objectives posted clearly for each class everyday.
The Learning Objective Challenge: To increase the amount of written learning objectives communicated to our students across the entire school.