Friday, August 17, 2012

Clarifying Learning Goals

"Arguably the starting place for all effective instruction is designing and communicating clear learning goals" (Marzano & Brown, 2009, p. 9).
This week, I shared e-mails noting our progress toward the expectation that all teachers will post learning goals each day.  Part of Design Question 1 in The Art and Science of Teaching is to track progress.  You can see on the table below our progress throughout the week. 

You will notice there are two lines.  The blue line tracks how many learning spaces had posted learning goals when I dropped in. The red line tracks how many learning goals were both posted and specific to the curriculum of the learning space.
There is a difference between learning (or curricular) goals and goals for behaviors.  Learning goals can be traced back to district curricula or other established standards (TILS, CCSS, GLEs, etc.).  Behavior goals can be traced back to established expecatations (PBIS expectations, team or classroom rules, etc.).
In order to precise to the framework in The Art and Science of Teaching, goals should be viable.  Viable goals are connected explicitly to the curriculum and can be taught to understanding in the time given.
So, what about goals for things like behavior, learning expectations, and community building (particularly given that design question 6 is about teaching processes and procedures explicitly)?
Posting a goal, any goal, meets the expectation surrounding learning goals at this time (so if you posted behavior goals this week, you were not wrong); however, I encourage you to make posting learning goals that are tied to curriculum your habit.  Already this week, I have had conversations with teachers about the difference between the two, and I will begin offering feedback now that I have made this clarification.
So, where do you account for expectations regarding behaviors? If you are planning to teach behaviors, all of which are in support of learning, make them a part of your agenda.
Yes, but . . . I understand that at the beginning of the year teachers may chose to focus on community building, procedures, and expectations; however, classrooms that focused on curriculum day one did not appear, from my observation, to suffer any lack of community or understanding of procedures and expectations.
Quick Quiz
Which of the below are learning goals per The Art and Science of Teaching (AST) framework?
  1. Students will understand the importance of team community.
  2. Students will be able to construct tables, graphs, and equations to represent linear patterns of change.
  3. Students will understand how words work together in a sentence.
  4. Students will be able to state Hixson's three PBIS expectations.
  • Work as a department and with coordinators to determine the best learning goals for your curriculum.
  • Include an objective with your goal to account for any behaviors you may be teaching.
  • Note in whatever sub plans you may leave the learning goal the sub should post and/or review.
(Numbers 2 and 3 in the Quick Quiz above are learning goals that are most precise to the AST framework.)

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