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TEFL Masterclass – Learning Objectives – Not Just For Teachers

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Holly Morgan – Teacher Trainer & Academic Coordinator.

Holly Morgan is the Academic Coordinator at English Path and has been working and teaching in the ELT industry since 2014. She has worked in Spain, Japan and the UK and holds a BSc in English Language and a DELTA certificate from Cambridge Assessment. She has taught a variety of levels and ages but is particularly interested in Business English and Teacher Development.

What you will learn

In this workshop, we will look at the role of lesson objectives when planning and delivering a lesson.

Initial training courses always teach us how to write lesson objectives for our lesson plans, but what about the objectives we share with our students? Lesson objectives can be utilised in a variety of ways in the classroom; they can motivate students, demonstrate progress and most importantly, give the language a real-life use outside the classroom.

We will look at how to write student-focused lesson objectives, differentiate between ‘weak’ and ‘strong’ objectives and think about how we can use our objectives as another teaching tool in our toolbox.

Workshop Summary

The Role of Lesson Objectives in Education

The importance of learning objectives in education is frequently understated, often mentioned only within the context of lesson planning during teacher training courses. In reality, learning objectives not only serve educators in guiding lesson structures and facilitating efficient learning, but also provide students with clarity on what is being taught and how. These objectives play a vital role in formal observations, helping evaluators gauge the success of a lesson.

Crafting Achievable Lesson Objectives

The creation of lesson objectives commences with defining the type of lesson – a textbook-based lesson, a skills-based lesson, or an outcomes-based lesson. SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) objectives should then be designed to provide a clear outline of what students should achieve by the end of the lesson, how this learning will be measured, and whether the objectives are feasible, relevant, and timely.

Objectives for Educators and Learners

It’s crucial to recognise the dual nature of lesson objectives. For educators, they help maintain focus on language skills, grammar, vocabulary, communication, and teacher-related factors. Meanwhile, learners’ objectives aim to help them apply their learnings beyond the classroom, and these should be clearly communicated and referenced during class, emphasising what students can achieve with their newly acquired language skills.

Bringing Learning to Life

One of the primary responsibilities of teachers is to ensure that students can apply their new language skills to real-life situations. Thus, objectives should align with real-world applications, taking into account the functionality of the language and skills being taught. Teachers must critically evaluate the practical relevance of language points presented in textbooks and design their own materials when necessary.

Language and Skills-Oriented Objectives

Consideration should be given to both language-oriented objectives, focusing on aspects like grammar and vocabulary, and skills-oriented objectives, concerning reading, listening, speaking, and writing. After examining these uses, teachers must articulate objectives that are accessible to students, highlighting the benefits to their lives, and ensuring that they are timely, measurable, and specific.

Examples of Effective and Ineffective Lesson Objectives

Various examples of lesson objectives illustrate the need for specificity, real-life context, and clear measurable criteria. Effective objectives provide a concrete context for the skill or language point being taught, thereby increasing the lesson’s practicality. Conversely, vague or overly general objectives fail to engage students and can lack relevance to their real-life contexts.

Integrating Objectives in Class and the Final Takeaway

Lesson objectives should be visibly displayed at the beginning of each class, serving as a roadmap for students. These objectives should be revisited during and at the end of the lesson as a tool for reflection and consolidation of learning. Ultimately, lesson objectives are not just bureaucratic necessities; they are a crucial part of the learning process, capable of significantly enhancing students’ confidence and motivation. It is through these objectives that educators can equip their students with the skills and knowledge they need to confidently navigate the real world.

Reflective Questions

Have a quick think about the reflective questions below in order to get the most out of the workshop:

  1. What do you consider when writing your lesson objectives? Why?
  2. Do you display objectives on your board? How do you use them in the lesson and are they the same as those on your lesson plan?

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