Classroom Clinic – Policy Problems
“Dear classroom clinic,
My school has lots of rules that I disagree with, a typical example being writing down Learning Objectives in every lesson. What do you think about this?”
The first thing we must note in response to this is that every school is different. What works well for one cohort in one school in one catchment would not necessarily work for a different year group, a school only streets away or in a different part of the UK. Therefore it is understandable that this school may do things differently from your previous experience.
We cannot comment on individual school policies as, while the age of some may warrant a review and consequent update, it is the prerogative of Senior Leadership and Governors to decide on Teaching and Learning policy.
Whilst there have been many examples of recent research suggesting that writing learning objectives wastes time (why not have a read of some examples here and here), many KS4 and KS5 students find them useful to track topic coverage, especially when used alongside Personal Learning Checklists.
Have a look to see what the policy says exactly in regard to Learning Objectives. Is it suggested? Is it a compulsory ‘red line’? Do not be afraid to challenge the policy in a polite and respectful manner, but ensure it is the correct forum, possibly line management or a departmental meeting first and foremost.
Make sure to maintain a pragmatic and constructive approach, remembering that a key Teachers’ Standard is to: develop effective professional relationships with colleagues, knowing how and when to draw on advice and specialist support.
Here are some suggestions for if students do have to write the Learning Objective to ensure you’re not wasting learning time:
- Students turning the LO into an “I can…” statement. The idea is that they can say it at the end of the lesson with confidence.
- Students break the LO down into required steps/success criteria.
- Students list the things they’ll need to know/be able to do to achieve the LO.
- Students turn the LO into a fun catchy title for the lesson.
- Students turn the LO into an exam question – possibly to be answered at the end of the lesson.
- Students select the best LO for the lesson from three options (one being silly, another being too complicated, etc.)
- Students highlight key vocabulary and command words or learning verbs.
- Students write down what success will look like instead.
- Students write themselves an exam question to be answered at the end of the lesson.
- Students use the LO to identify the areas that they might find challenging this lesson. Acknowledging this at the start of the lesson will help foster a Growth Mindset.