Teaching approaches: Learning objectives

From OER in Education

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Readers may find the file Sharing Learning Objectives and Outcomes particularly useful for thinking about their use of Learning Objectives. Well written Learning Objectives may involve differentiated outcomes, which highlight core concepts for pupils to engage with. It is often useful to show students these objectives, so that they understand where they're at, and where they're going in their learning. Teachers should consider whether the tasks they are setting and planning for will allow learning to occur, rather than considering what learning may occur from the tasks (although of course there is normally a bit of both). It may be useful to think about particular 'Talking Points' around the learning objectives, questions that might be asked, and misconceptions to deal with.

What is effective questioning?
With respect to questioning, it should be born in mind that questioning is effective when it allows pupils to engage with the learning process by actively composing responses. Research (Borich 1996; Muijs and Reynolds 2001; Morgan and Saxton 1994; Wragg and Brown 2001) suggests that lessons where questioning is effective are likely to have the following characteristics

  • Questions are planned and closely linked to the objectives of the lesson.
  • The learning of basic skills is enhanced by frequent questions following the exposition of new content that has been broken down into small steps. Each step should be followed by guided practice that provides opportunities for pupils to consolidate what they have learned and that allows teachers to check understanding.
  • Closed questions are used to check factual understanding and recall.
  • Open questions predominate.
  • Sequences of questions are planned so that the cognitive level increases as the questions go on. This ensures that pupils are led to answer questions which demand increasingly higher-order thinking skills but are supported on the way by questions which require less sophisticated thinking skills.
  • Pupils have opportunities to ask their own questions and seek their own answers. They are encouraged to provide feedback to each other.
  • The classroom climate is one where pupils feel secure enough to take risks, be tentative and make mistakes. (Adapted from Questioning Research Summary, section What).

How do questions engage pupils and promote responses?Invalid tag extension name: section
Using questioning effectively involves planning in two ways, first, in terms of thinking about the sorts of questions you might ask, and any Differentiation which might go into those. Second, in terms of building a classroom environment which is conducive to effective Questioning and high quality Dialogue.Invalid tag extension name: sectionPupil response is enhanced where

  • there is a classroom climate in which pupils feel safe and know they will not be criticised or ridiculed if they give a wrong answer;
  • prompts are provided to give pupils confidence to try an answer;
  • there is a ‘no-hands’ approach to answering, where you choose the respondent rather than have them volunteer;
  • ‘wait time’ is provided before an answer is required. The research suggests that 3 seconds is about right for most questions, with the proviso that more complex questions may need a longer wait time. Research shows that the average wait time in classrooms is about 1 second (Rowe 1986; Borich 1996). (Adapted from Questioning Research Summary, section How).

Relevant resources

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