In this post we look at Learning Intentions or, as we prefer to call them Learning Outcomes. Why outcomes? - We think it better reflects the idea of observable skill development.
You are probably well aware of the concept of Learning Outcomes; the notion of making sure that the intended learning that the teacher hopes will take place is well understood by the students. The observable data on these outcomes is collected (formally or informally) during the lesson and can be used to provide feedback to the students and shape possible interventions for the next lesson.
Let's look at how this works in our foundational comprehension course - SharpReading Stage 3. Rather than a smorgasbord of Learning Outcomes that the teacher attempts to cover (two weeks on one - tick it off and move on - we call it the comprehension smorgasbord) we initially have only one learning outcome which can later be broken down into 'Specific Learning Outcomes' as needs become obvious.
Our 'Share the LO' is a 4-step process that we encourage teachers to follow every lesson (2 mins max).
It goes like this...
1. State the LO - this is what we are learning to do (Unpacking Sentences).
2. Explain the LO - this is why we are doing it.
3. Model / practice the LO - this is what it looks like.
4. Get Students to verbalise the LO - Now, can you tell me what I just said?
Why the repetition? Why the pattern?
Students enjoy repetition. We think it is boring way before they do.
To provides security for the anxious and reluctant learner.
It provides accountability for actually tuning in (What did I just tell you?)
It forces you the teacher to become more and more creative with your explanation of the learning - What does it mean to unpack a sentence and why do we do it?
It forces the students to verbalise the learning - this is a very powerful process for the learners.
So many times we do a great job setting up the lesson and then (usually because of time pressure) forget to review the learning that has or hasn't occurred.
SharpReading Wrap-ups look like this
1. What was it we were working on today? Why?
The responses (or lack of them) are very revealing
2. Are you getting better at this? How do you know?
Are the students aware of acquiring the new skill? It may take a while before you start getting some genuine responses but it is worth persevering.
3. Teacher Feedback
Your chance to confirm what they may be thinking about themselves or to reassure those who don't know. This usually focuses on 'better than before'.
4. Next Steps
The learner goes away knowing what to expect for the next lesson, even if it is just 'more of the same'.
How important is this process?
We call these two pieces (Sharing the LO and The Wrap-up) the essential 'Bookends' to all successful lessons.