What’s In a Day’s Learning?

Teachers, how do you feel about daily learning objectives?  I know these are considered of tremendous importance by many educators and leaders in our field. And while I do carefully write an objective for my lesson on the board each day, I’ve always been less than convinced of the significance of these stated goals. The truth is, I probably can’t even count all of the objectives I have going into a day of teaching… and many of the best student outcomes at the end of the period are things I didn’t predict would happen that morning, and certainly didn’t announce on the board.

I know that what I’m suggesting is messy.  Why not just pretend that learning is simple and that it can be predicted and measured in a day?  We can and DO pretend… but most teachers also know that the learning of any one student cannot even be predicted and measured in a year!  See my recent post, Did It Sink In Right Away? and the comments below for evidence of this reality.  I can (and will) keep writing objectives that match my immediate curricular goals and state standards.  But these paint a very superficial picture of what I’m really after in my classroom.  So what’s the overall effect on teacher and student thinking of focusing on bite-size, standardized daily learning goals? Could we find a better way?

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