The Marzano Research Laboratory (MRL) conducted a study to evaluate the relationship between student learning and effective teacher pedagogical practices in online learning. The study specifically looked at Edmentum’s online solutions in three instructional settings—pure virtual, blended, and classroom/lab—across four purposes: original credit, credit recovery, intervention, and Advanced Placement®.
Previously, we have taken an in-depth look at tips #1 and #2. Today, we will be looking at best practices when implementing tip #3 into your classroom or school.
Tip #3: Clearly presenting the goal/objective for each assignment
Although there’s always room for creativity and experimentation in education, a lesson should never be delivered with a “let’s see where this goes” approach. Every instructional day, every task should have a clear goal to accomplish.
The idea that the goal should be clear is an important point. Not only should you understand the goal, but so should your students. Just as in a road trip or field trip, you wouldn’t want to leave with a car or bus full of students and not know where your end destination will be.
When is it important to communicate assignment goals/objectives?
A lot of schools and districts mandate that teachers post the day’s learning goals and objectives somewhere on their board but don’t say anything about teachers having to use kid-friendly or age-appropriate language in that goal or even discuss it with the students. Just writing the goals on a board is structurally flawed.
Instead, the day should start with a frank, age-appropriate discussion of what you hope the students get out of the day’s lesson, what success looks like in the endeavor, and what they can expect if success is hard to come by. When you transition to a new task, even if it’s under the same goal, remind them of why they’re doing this work.
What are the best ways to communicate assignment goals/objectives?
It isn’t to say that you shouldn’t use your board to post your goals. Visuals serve as good reminders throughout the lesson. Just make sure to write the goals in age-appropriate language that is easily understood by everyone in the room.
Students often come into the classroom asking what they’re doing today. In response, you probably spend the first few minutes of class going over the day’s agenda. It doesn’t take much to add in why you’re asking them to accomplish these tasks. When you move to a new task, remind them of the goal/objective.
Potential roadblocks to success
It will come as no surprise to hear that learners can have short attention spans. If you are in the middle of a multi-day lesson with the same goal or objective, they can feel as if they aren’t making any progress or they may simply forget the goal. If you find yourself in this position, break up a larger goal into smaller parts that are easy to follow. Still take time to explain the big goal, but cover how the smaller goals fit into the whole. You want to help them feel invested in what’s going on in the class every day.
Want to see more of the instructional strategies the Marzano Research Laboratory determined in the study? See all 13 Marzano best practices in online learning here.
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