After seeing a tweet by @teachertoolkit and then reading Dr Debra Kidd's book * and joining in with and reading lots of discussion on here and on twitter about learning objectives or intentions recently. I have come to the conclusion that I am for sharing learning objectives so that children know what they are learning. However there are a few problems that I have with them.
I have seen LO: I can tell the time.
Then looked at the learning that has taken place within that lesson. The children had actually learned to tell the time at O'clock and 1/2 hour increments only. At the end of the lesson can the child tell the time? As stated in the learning intention? In my opinion no.
I have seen arguments saything that it shows progress over time. So if the LO was 'I can tell the time' would it show progress if in lesson one they learned O'clock, lesson two in 15 minute intervals, lesson three in 5 min increments etc? I don't think so.
Well you might say that the learning intention was too vague and should be: I can tell the time in 5 minute increments or as I have witnessed use a context.
LO: I can tell the time.
Context: 24hr clock notation.
I can see how this is useful in class so that children know what they are learning.
In English I see the same I can write a narrative opening. However if a child in Year 6 writes: 'Once upon a time there lived an alien called Zarg' for a narrative set in space will they be meeting the learning intention? Probably not. We need to make sure we are sharing success criteria with pupils. Then discuss and model responses to these success criteria so that children can achieve them, rather than making them copy down learning intentions which are often too vague or over complicated.
On twitter a number of arguments for learning intentions copied into books was so that children could review the work that they had carried out. In my 10 years of teaching I don't think I have witnessed any primary school teachers reviewing work in books beyond the previous (occassionally the previous two) lessons so that surely can't be the reason, the pupils should remember what they learned in the previous session.
Another argument for having LO in books is so SLT or other 'scrutineers' can see the learning that has taken place. By looking at an LO someone cannot tell what learning has taken place. They can tell what teaching has taken place but not the learning, for this to occur they need to take the time to look at the work in the books and see how well the pupils have grasped the concepts. They can link the date of the work with the LO in the planning in order to match the teaching intention with the learning that has taken place.
In summary I can see the benefits of sharing concise and specific learning intentions with children along with success criteria, however I feel that copying them down in every lesson may be a waste of time in most situations. Especially in those practical lessons where pupils are forced to open their books, write the date and learning objective before closing their books and getting on with the practical activity.
Your Comments are welcome!
Happy New Year
I have dashed off this blog at speed, please excuse spelling or grammatical errors or point them out in the comments.
Rob from Literacy Shed