During the past several years, writing learning objectives, targets or goals has become an increasingly common practice. According to Robert Marzano, the importance of communicating to students what they are expected to learn and be able to do via learning goals and objectives was emphasized as early as 1949 by Ralph Tyler, an educational philosopher. This practice is strongly emphasized in Making Content Comprehensible for English Learners, The SIOP Model by Jana Echevarria, Deborah Short and MaryEllen Vogt. Language objectives may include a wide range of topics, and often reflect the state's English Language Proficiency Standards. Students may be asked to incorporate specific vocabulary into their speech as they discuss the academic topic, build vocabulary into their writing or nonlinguistically indicate their understanding of the terms they are reading or hearing through gestures or sketches.


Words and phrases such as "similar to," "despite the fact that," "subsequently" and "consequently" are specialized, academic terms that indicate the language function, but are not always easily incorporated into speech and writing by students.
While the authors of The SIOP Model advocate for writing separate content and language objectives, others are advocating for the incorporation of language skills into content objectives.
Once objectives have been written, it is important to consider how you will share the objectives with students.
Whether incorporating one, two or all three types of objectives listed above, research has demonstrated that writing objectives helps students to stay focused on what they are to learn, determines what is important and keeps classroom activities focused. Erick Herrmann is an educational consultant specialized in teaching English learners, and he runs Educating English Learners.


Tyler noted that a well-written objective should clearly communicate the knowledge students should gain as well as how this knowledge will be demonstrated. Throughout the lesson, it is beneficial to share with students how the activities and tasks they are engaged in are helping them to meet the stated objectives.



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