I went to a two-day workshop two weeks ago that was quite enlightening. One of the presenters told us how prepared he was for every class he ever taught. He had all the curriculum expectations that he was covering written down on his lesson plans. He knew what he was teaching and what his student were to learn each and every day.
He asked us if we did the same thing. Heads nodded in agreement. I know that I certainly do the same thing. He then asked if we ever share this with the students.
There was a pause in the room as most of us realized that we don’t.
“Why not?” he asked.
He then revealed to us that there is often a disconnect between what students think they are learning and what teachers think they are teaching. He pointed out some research that had been done on the subject. It even happens at the university level as well.
“It took me 17 years to figure this out,” he said.
It seems so simple. We can write a learning goal for each lesson. This learning goal should be clear and concise. It should be in student friendly language that describes what students are to know or be able to do at the end of the period of instruction.
It would be so easy to write a learning goal on the board for each lesson.
“I can . . .”
That’s all we need to do. “I can add three digit numbers.” or “I can write a list of items in a complete sentence.”
I section off a portion of my board to write the agenda for each and every day of school. The agenda is detailed enough that my students know what to expect every period all day long. It wouldn’t take much to add a section for a learning goal as well.
I started this practice this last week. I know that my students haven’t quite been living up to my expectations. I thought that I’ve been very clear about them but I know that I can be more clear. Learning goals sound like such a simple and easy concept. I wonder why I never thought of it before.