The Learning Objective Controversy

The other day whilst reading an article by Philip Beadle I came across I very interesting point about learning objectives within the classroom. I think that this is a great article and agrees with many of the beliefs I feel.  I have been within classrooms and have seen children say “oooooh I have finished the objective, I don’t have anything to do!”  Within the classroom between 9-3:30 there is always something to be done.  By writing the learning objectives onto the board first the children see what is “expected” when really this is what we think they can achieve in the time set.  Why therefore can we not write this and let them work at the speed and finish so more learning can be done?  I understand that by not putting learning objectives up some children may work slower and drag out the exercise because they do not know what we as teachers expect them to do within the lesson, within the same idea however they could be working at a faster pace and get twice as much done.

I feel that a comprimse would work best therefore.  Knowing which of your pupils should be finishing more than the expected general learning objectives it is a definite bonus.  For the lower ability children it is still a good idea but they should be monitored to ensure that they do no fall behind and achieve what is expected of them.

“But why must children know what the objectives are at the beginning of the lesson? Why can’t we ask them to guess what they are going to learn, or tell us what they learned at the end of the lesson? Why can’t it be a surprise?”

If as teachers we ask what they have learnt and for a few lessons they do not understand what we expect, it reflects upon us as teachers.  For some this is a worrying and daunting task which may look badly upon them, but isn’t that a good thing?  If your class have not been learning what you have been expecting you know that you need to change and something needs to improve.

If you do not care about this and the improvement for your students, quite frankly you should not be a teacher in the first place.  Criticism is always a bitter pill to swallow but if it is for the benefits of the majority it is something which needs to be done.

If not providing leaning objectives provides this honest feedback then that has to be a good thing, and if they are learning at the expected level or even higher that is also great.  For me I can not seem to find a negative idea for not providing the lesson objective at the start of the lesson.  As Beadle states, “I dare teachers reading this to try a week where they don’t share lesson objectives with the pupils, and see what difference it makes to their learning. Letters, containing the phrase “sod all”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.