Saturday, March 28, 2015

Principles of Teaching: Determining and Formulating Objectives

           Lesson objectives are the first things we need to think about as teachers in preparing our lesson. These objectives become one of the bases or most of the time the primary basis when we decide about the support instructional materials to be used, the methods or approach to present our lesson and the assessment strategy to measure our student’s learning. In view of these, here are the principles in determining and formulating goals and objectives. These are adapted from Corpuz and Salandanan (2007).

1. Begin with an end in mind. I always hear this back in college days and still applies to me as a teacher. This implies that we need to have clearly defined objectives in our lesson. These objectives give our lesson a purpose, a goal in which we need to aim at the end of a class period.  We will avoid wasting our time doing things unrelated and insignificant to our objectives and focus our attention and effort in achieving these objectives. The objectives are like our destination in a long and winding road. If we know where our destination is, then all we need to do is to think and perform ways to reach it.

2. Impart to the students the lesson objectives. Seldom teachers do this. We tend to start our lesson immediately without sharing to the students our lesson objective for the day. If we teachers inform our students about today’s lesson objectives, it gives students the idea the “we are all in this together”. Learning becomes collaborative and is not solely controlled by the teacher. It gives the students as well the opportunity to embrace the objectives both as their personal or even class target. That at the end of the period, they are expected to achieve these targets making them more motivated to learn.

3. Objectives must be holistic. These must include the three domains namely cognitive, psychomotor and affective. This perhaps is my most remembered and most applied principle in formulating instructional objectives. When I became a teacher, some of my colleagues asked me why I always have three objectives when in fact I could just put one objective per day. Of course I always tell them that I religiously adhere to the CPA objectives because I want to make learning holistic.
    The idea of having CPA objectives implies that as teachers, we don’t want to have only one dimension given focus in our teaching and learning process. For our students to become well-rounded individuals, we need to address each domain, most especially the affective domain, for them to make learning more meaningful. If we will just focus on knowledge and skills, then we may produce students who are intelligent and competent yet lacks deeper application of their learning for the common good. Learning, without embracing it, just becomes repetition of facts, thus no significant change happened to the learners.

4. Make the lesson objectives relevant to students’ lives.  Once I asked my Math teacher in high school where can we use functions in our daily lives. She couldn’t answer me satisfactorily so this made me less motivated to learn the topic. What is the use of giving effort to something that is futile? This would be the danger if our students find our lesson objectives irrelevant in their lives. As teachers, we need to explain to our students that the lesson objectives are applicable in our lives, that what we teach are useful in their homes, in school or in their future work.

5. Our lesson objective must coincide with the general aims of the Constitution as well as the vision and mission of the Department of Education and the educational institution we are working with (alliteration or assonance? Hehe..a lot of sion-sion….hehehe). Seriously speaking, our instructional objectives must spring out of the broader aims as stated in our laws. The objectives, even in the classroom level, still must contribute to the realization of the vision and mission statement of the school, the department and the general aim as a whole based on the Constitution.

6. Lesson objectives must aim for higher-ordered thinking skills. Again, our objectives should not be settled on merely repetition of facts. In the age of information explosion, there will always and always be new ideas and knowledge to be learned. To make our students life-long learners, we need them to develop critical and creative skills so that they will not just receive existing knowledge rather generate new knowledge and ideas. As the cliché goes, we need to teach students not what to learn, but how to learn. Metacognition should be also developed.

7. Last but not the least, who would forget that lesson objectives should be SMART??? Do I still need to define this? Okay. S stands for Specific, M- Measurable, A-Attainable, R-Result-oriented (and Relevant) and T- Time-bound (and Terminal). Do I still need to explain these further? Hehehe..This would be your assignment…

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