Writing Objectives

I have always thought that writing objectives is not that difficult. These are statements that would signal out the main purposes of the lesson. It is what the teacher plans his / her students to be able to do by the end of the lesson. The teacher predicts in a way what skills his / her students will aquire (or reinforce) after a particular subject have been dwelt upon. I have to admit that I was a bit wrong.

The first thing I did was to look up the definition for “objective” in the Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics (3rd edition, 2002). I discovered that what I was actually doing was writing general objectives, i.e. I was describing aims “in very general terms”. This works for objectives written in a much boarder sense when one is not specific. Whereas, there should be other objectives, “specific objectives” which are “more detailed descriptions of exactly what a learner is expected to be able to do at the end of a period of instruction” [Richards and Schmidt, 2002: 370]. In my opinion, the first corresponds to the term “goal”, while the second to “learning objective”.

Afterwards, I examined the various ways of writing a good learning objective. As the objective stands for the teacher’s instructional intention, it should be stated clearly, just like in any other type of communication. As a matter of fact, I liked Dr. Bob Kizlik’s idea: “The purpose of a learning objective is to communicate” [www.adprima.com/objectives.htm]. Thus, the learning objective is the means by which the teacher communicates his / her intentions to all the people who are interested in it.

The teaching process, as part of the communicative network involves several constituents. There’s a sender [Teacher], receiver(s) [Student(s)], a specific context [Classroom] and an intention that governs this interaction [the learning objective].

Dr. Bob Kizlik speaks of three parts that make a good learning objective:

  1. the conditions (a statement thet describes the conditions under which the behavior is to be performed);
  2. behavioral verb (an action word that connotes an observable student behavior);
  3. criteria (a statement that specifies how well the student must perform the behavior). [www.adprima.com/objectives.htm]

This model resembles the ABCD model, there’s only A missing from the above pattern. I think that the ABCD model is better, because it is very easy to remeber (this was done on purpose, as a rule the condition precedes the audience). This model should become the ABC of writing a clear objective.

A – audience – Who?
B – behavior – What?
C – condition – How?
– degree – How well?

I also liked the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy, which I think is extremely useful. I knew about it, but I mostly used it when I was telling my students what to do in exercises, test-papers, or other assignments.

The information I found is very useful. It is good that we were given examples of how to write good learning objectives. I liked the Examples of Activities: English Language Arts [www.adprima.com/examples.htm]

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