Education Buzzwords: Goals and Objectives Revisited

Goals and objectives can be scary terms. Especially for spontaneous people like me. I won’t say much here, because I think we all have a pretty good idea of what goals are.

When planning your curriculum, it can be a daunting task to create an entire set of goals for 13 years worth of school. I’m not suggesting that – seriously, who has the time.

If you’ve been following my articles and working along with me, you have a pretty good idea of what each course is about. Now, I want you to pick one course and state exactly what you expect the student to be able to do (or at least be better at) when they’ve completed the course. If figuring out what you want to student to know by the end of the year is too long term, go ahead and think in shorter terms – what should they be able to do by Christmas time?

Some courses, like math, will have a long list of goals. Others, like reading, may be short. That’s okay. Now take those goals and see if any of them need to happen in a specific order. Go ahead and rearrange them, if necessary.

Once you have a list of ordered goals, think about each of those goals individually and determine what smaller steps could be taken towards that goal. Or, perhaps, the goal you listed is actually a smaller step towards a bigger goal. These smaller steps are objectives. Again, order them within their goal.

And that’s it! You have now defined what you are going to teach in a course. The “how” of teaching comes later. For some examples, you can see my goals here. This is, of course, not the only way to do it. I have found it the most effective for me, and I’m that much closer when my next student comes along.


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