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Reflection in Focus: Setting Learning Goals

Reflection in Focus: Setting Learning Goals

Author: Trisha Fyfe

This lesson will introduce learners to one component of lessons on which they might reflect. 

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Welcome to a tutorial on Reflection in Focus, Setting Learning Goals. In today's tutorial, we will discuss the following two questions. What are learning goals, and what are the outcomes? And also, how can a teacher reflect on learning goals? How can we look at those and take a deeper look at our own teaching based on those?

So let's start by talking about what exactly are learning goals? And to do this, we can use Marzano's teacher evaluation model. And you can see here that there are four different domains in Marzano's model, classroom strategies and behaviors, planning and preparing, reflecting on teaching, and collegiality and professionalism. And it's those domains one, two, and three that really lead to that student achievement in this model.

So we're going to actually go further in depth to domain one, classroom strategies and behaviors. And it's here that Marzano's 41 key elements of classroom strategies and behaviors are. In domain one, Marzano has developed 41 different elements of classroom strategies and behaviors. And these can be grouped into different categories, three categories to be exact.

And these categories are, first, routine events. So which lesson segments involve routine events? And the strategies that are listed here are provided to refer back to routine events. For example, here are the first three of those strategies and elements. Number one, providing clear learning goals and scales or using rubrics. Number two, tracking student progress. And number three, celebrating success. Remember these are just the first three of those 41 elements of classroom strategies and behaviors.

As we move into the second category, we have lesson segments that address content. And a few examples of those are number six of those key strategies, identifying critical information, number seven, organizing students to interact with new knowledge, and number eight, previewing new content. The last of those three categories of these strategies and behaviors and those key elements is lesson segments enacted on the spot.

And here are numbers 24 through 26, noticing when students are not engaged, using academic games, and managing response rates. So again, by these examples you can see that these key elements are specific tools that you can use as a teacher. You can turn these into questions, which if you research any further these 41 key elements you'll see that this has already been done multiple times. You can use these as tools to reflect on your own classroom and your activities.

So as a teacher, it is really important for you to remember those learning goals and the importance of learning goals. Some important things to consider when you're setting learning goals are the importance of setting very clear, articulate learning goals, goals that students really can use and understand without any questions. It's also important to use student-friendly language in your scales and rubrics. So, the use of scales and rubrics is essential both for you as an instructor so that you have a way to evaluate your students consistently, but also for your students so that they know what they are being evaluated on.

It's important to use student-friendly language in those scales and rubrics so that they can really truly understand what is being asked of me. It's also important to ask your students, what are your learning goals? Get your students' individual learning goals. What do they have in mind as far as what they want to learn? What are their goals for learning? Where do they want to go with their learning?

Now that you've set some really effective learning goals, it's important for you to learn how to reflect on your learning goals or reflect better upon your learning goals. It's important for you to reflect on a few different areas. So really examine these areas in your teaching. First, make sure that you know the difference between learning goals and assignments. What is the difference between a learning goal and an activity or an assignment?

Do you know that you have clear learning goals and clear assignments? Do your students know that? Do you communicate those differences to your students effectively? If not, or if not consistently, how can you communicate this better? As far as your communication goes between yourself as a teacher and your students, you really want to make sure that you're focusing on, how can you better this communication?

And student involvement, of course, is always, always important in a classroom. How involved are your students in their learning goals? Are they helping you to create learning goals by giving you ideas of what they have in mind for themselves? Do they design their own learning goals? Can they explain your learning goals? How could you do all of this better?

So many questions to ask yourself, but really that's what reflection is all about. So let's review what it is we learned today in this tutorial. We answered the questions, what are learning goals and what are the outcomes? And also, how can a teacher reflect on learning goals? So remember, we talked about some outcomes of setting learning goals.

What behaviors do we have as teachers that can help our students in this process? And also, how can we as a teacher reflect on the process of setting learning goals as well as what our learning goals are in our classroom? As always, I've enjoyed going through these ideas with you in today's tutorial. I hope you find these ideas surrounding reflection to be very valuable, useful tools in your own classroom.

So how can we apply these ideas? Let's reflect using these questions. What might the challenges be to applying Marzano's key elements to your own teaching? How can you better communicate your learning goals? For more information on how to apply what you've learned in this video, please view the Additional Resources section that accompanies this video presentation. The Additional Resources section includes hyperlinks useful for applications of this course material, including a brief description of each resource.

Notes on "Reflection in Focus: Setting Learning Goals"


(00:00- 00:22) Introduction/objectives

(00:23 - 01:04) What are Learning Goals? Marzano’s Model

(01:05- 02:57) 41 Key Strategies of Marzano

(02:58- 04:00) Criteria for Learning Goals

(04:01- 05:17) Reflecting on Learning Goals

(05:18- 06:31) Review/Reflection

Additional Resources

Module 2: Establishing and Communicating Learning Goals

This is a section from Handbook for the Art and Science of Teaching by Robert J. Marzano and John L. Brown. Scroll down for reflection questions that you can use in your own practice to improve teaching strategies.

North Dakota Department of Education: Curriculum Website

Scroll to the second section on using standards to create "I can" statements (learning goals). Here you will find sample "I can" statements and a template for developing "I can" statements for your classroom.

Montgomery County Public Schools: 10 Basic Quality Tools for the Classroom

Scroll down to find templates for student goal setting action plans. These tools and strategies engage and empower students to own their learning and data. In addition, these tools and strategies are important elements to cycles of continuous improvement in the classroom.