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Miss Matters of CLASS™ on Clarity Of Learning Objectives

07 Mar 2014 by Miss Matters


I’m having trouble understanding what teachers need to do to in order to be highly effective in the Instructional Learning Formats (ILF) indicator, clarity of learning objectives. What’s the difference between the behavior markers advanced organizers, reorientation statements, and summaries? I’m totally at sea on this one.



Your question is one that many people struggle with. Miss Matters is always delighted to be able to provide an anchor for more accurate observations.

Teachers are effective at focusing student attention toward learning objectives when most of the students can tell what it is they are learning. They are less effective if students have no idea how to focus their attention.

There are three basic ways that teachers can help children focus their attention on an activity or lesson—before, during, and after.

1. Before the lesson. Teachers tell students what they will be learning. They may make a statement that begins, “We are going to …” (the rest of the sentence might be “… compare hot and cold,” or "… talk about what animals do in the winter,” and so on).

  • This marker is called an advanced organizer because it helps organize the students’ focus to the point of the lesson.

2. During the lesson. During the lesson, the teacher may notice that students’ attention has wandered or that the conversation has gotten off-track from the purpose of the lesson. In that case, the teacher may refocus their attention by using a phrase that helps get them back to the point of the lesson—something like "Let's make sure we are talking about …".

  • A phrase like this would be an example of a reorientation statement because it brings the students back, or reorients them, to the lesson’s purpose.

3. After the lesson. At the end of the lesson, the teacher finds a way to tell the children what they have just learned. This may begin with a phrase like, “We just talked about…”

  • This marker is called a summary because it wraps up the purpose of the lesson.

Of course, during the course of the lesson, the effective teacher keeps questions and directions clear and targeted on the learning objective.

In summary, beginning the lesson by telling its purpose (advanced organizers), keeping the focus on the objective during the lesson (reorientation statements), and summarizing what the lesson was about (summaries) are three ways teachers can maximize student engagement and their ability to learn from their lessons.

Well, that’s clarity of learning objectives in a clam shell. Hope you are no longer adrift.

Happy Coding!