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Providing Clear and Concise Learning Objectives and Progressions

Principals and other school leaders know how important state and national content-area standards are and how they need to be aligned with written and taught curriculum. They also know about the challenges involved in keeping instruction tied to these standards while also providing students with authentic learning experiences in the twenty-first century. How can a leader help teachers and students stay focused on what they are learning in a lesson, a class, and throughout the school year, and how does this learning contribute to college and career readiness? What can a school leader do to improve or enhance this effort? Why is setting clear learning objectives so important for district and school leaders?

A major goal of teaching is to help students connect their learning experiences to their goals and aspirations, to be motivated and engaged in the process, and, at the same time, to be able to show mastery of the learning standards. Clear learning objectives can help guide the teaching and learning of all students, including those with personalized and individualized plans. What can principals do to help teachers align their learning objectives and lesson plans with standards? Principals can model by using objectives to guide their meetings. They can provide professional learning for teachers within grades and content areas to develop strong expertise in the school. While teachers can set clear learning objectives in their individual classrooms, making the practice systemic is an important role for the school-level leader. Clear learning objectives help teachers stay focused on what and how they teach, and help students monitor their own learning. Whether in a job or postsecondary learning, students will need to be able to align their activities with set objectives.