This unit was all about goal analysis. Over the years, I have had a number of interests ranging from golf to triathlon to working on a Masters. One of the characteristics that has been a uniting factor in all of them is having focus. On many occasions, I have noticed that my progress towards any any desired result has been directly proportional to how clearly I had laid out the goal. When I have a plan with distinct and measurable benchmarks, I get to where I want to go more times than not. Without such a plan, where I end up is anybody’s guess. I guess Yogi Berra was right when he said “if you don’t know where you are going, you might end up someplace else”.
When it comes to designing instruction, it is hard to overstate the need for clear goals. As a teacher, I have always had an idea of what i wanted my students to get out of a given lesson. The lessons have been designed around conveying some information or just general ideas. As I worked through this unit, it finally became clear that the hit-or-miss success of these lesson is likely due to a lack of focus on the goals of the lesson. That is my take away: when it comes to figuring out the path to a destination, I must become more diligent about specifically defining the destination itself.
Now, I have known that setting goals or learning objectives is important for some time (even if I haven’t always been great about sitting down and doing it formally), but I have also realized that there is a great deal of importance in making sure you know that you have arrived. Again, as a teacher, i have relied on grades. if students are getting A’s, clearly my objectives have been reached. Viewing objectives through the lens of ID has made me realized that the grade may not be a clear indicator of reaching the goal. Specificity is important, but so is the ability to recognize when a goal has been reached. “The students will understand…” has started many objectives in my planning. The problem is that ‘understanding is very subjective and may be very difficult to measure.
Just as has been the case in my many other goal setting experiences, setting clear and measurable goals for my students is critical to their success.