Learning Objectives

At tea last night, over jam on toast my daughter, 8 asked her elder brother what he liked most and what he disliked most about school. He said he liked “games and PE and maths because you don’t have to do any writing in those lessons except of course the learning objectives.”

“do you have to write a learning objective every lesson?” I joined in

“yes”

And my year 3 daughter confirmed she had to the same as well. “But sometimes they let you write LO instead of learning objectives.”

So my children know exactly what they are going to be learning. They can measure their success or not at achieving it. They know where the lesson is heading.

In the lessons I teach to my KS3 and KS4 classes I want my pupils to know what I am trying to help them learn. I want them to know how it links to the last lesson and where they should be by the end of the hour. But I also want them to enjoy the learning, to develop a taste for investigation, for enquiry and for the PROCESS of finding out. If the lesson structure is all about the goal at the end of it and whether you are red or amber or green in achieving it, then where is the emphasis on “HOW” going to come in?

My SLT also want me to teach ‘objective led’ lessons just like it looks like the SLT are asking my children’s teachers to do. Teachers are supposed ‘light the fires’ of our learners. How can we balance these two strands? How can we open up our lessons so the pupils can take some control over the learning yet still fit in with the demands of curriculum and SLT ? How can the lesson both allow the students to experiment with finding out and know what they have to achieve in order to pass exams?

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4 thoughts on “Learning Objectives

  1. I understand your concerns whilst at the same time being an enthusiastic supporter of objective lead lessons. Remember, it’s possible to do anything badly and just because some objective lead lessons suck doesn’t make this a de facto position.

    Without objectives (or intentions, aims, outcomes etc.) we have no tangible means to measuring students’ progress and if we aren’t measuring students’ progress what on earth are we doing? Effective AfL, effective teaching for that matter, relies on knowing how are students are performing and acting on this knowledge.

    I can’t see any reason why L/Os should get in the way of exciting learning – they merely provide a structure within which fire lighting can take place. That’s not to say we should adhere slavishly to a single approach to using them. Some of my favourite tricks are getting students to write their own objectives; only revealing the objective at the end of the lesson; representing the objective in pictures etc.

    You ask whether it’s possible to teach objective lead lessons that can capture the imagination of students. I answer: hell yes!

    • Thanks david
      I agree I like this way of approaching L.Os because it seems to so easily generate AfL in lessons

  2. I’ve always been suspicious of Lesson Objectives for same reason. I use them, but if I can find a way round them I often go that route.

    I do like to start with an image and get the children to ask questions or make comments, then return to this slide at the end of the lesson and get the children to answer those questions and revisit the comments. This is especially effective in RE.

  3. thanks Old nick.
    If you look on the other post about differentiated learning objectives 2 of the 4 ideas on the linked document are from our RS teachers. also @learningspy who commented above has suggested a similar idea to yours; he has introduced LOs through using pictures… i havent tried that one yet myself though

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