Are you a teacher that gets your students to copy down their learning objectives every lesson? And if so, have you ever thought about the amount of time our kids spend writing these ?

OK, lets work it out together – I’m going to make a conservative estimate that the average time it takes to copy down the LO’s in each lesson is approx 3 mins.

  • 3 mins x 6 lessons per day = 18 mins
  • 18 mins per day x 5 days per week = 90 mins
  • 90 mins x 39 weeks per year = 3,510 mins
  • 3,510 mins = 58.5 hours
  • 58.5 hours is the equivalent of approx 2 weeks of learning time

And we all know from experience that if we are asked to copy something down very quickly that we don’t really read or understand what we are writing, we are just trying to copy down the words as quickly as we possibly can to make sure we don’t get left behind. So therefore, are the students even learning anything in this 2 weeks of learning time? I wonder how many of them could tell you what the LO’s were straight after writing them down if you removed them from the board and asked them to close their book?

My experience tells me that there are varying different reasons for this exercise taking place in every lesson. Maybe it’s a good strategy to settle kids down as they enter the class straight after break or lunchtime, maybe it’s so students can look back on their work and remember the clear focus of the lesson, or maybe it’s just for your external accountability to satisfy Ofsted! Either way, it interesting to reflect on this process and think about the reason behind this exercise, what you are trying to achieve and ultimately how the students are benefiting from it?

Something that always sticks with me that a colleague once said is that “If you are doing something that has no educational benefit to the students in front of you, then you need to question why you are doing it”.

Contributed by Jon Tait

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About Staff

Assistant Head Teacher at a large secondary school in County Durham, UK

2 responses »

  1. Stacey Reay says:

    I find this very interesting Jon and an issue that Ofsted should address. Yes, copying down learning objectives can settle some classes down but what valuable learning is taking place? If a child can recall the learning objectives at the end of the lesson have they truly succeeded and made progress? The real value should lie in the students learning what you intended and that in most cases is void of copying down objectives. The use of learning objectives seems to be a double edged sword; I can see and understand their use but like you have outlined is it, ultimately, a waste of the students’ time?

  2. Josie Geatches says:

    Whilst I do understand the point made and agree to some extent, I do believe that for specific lively classes it is a very useful way of quickly settling a class and forming a routine. One of my classes needs the security of knowing what is expected of them when they step into my room. I think that 3mins to settle them is a price worth paying if they can then access the remainder of the lesson in the appropiate calm manner. Plus I always verbally go through the objectives anyway and it allows time to sort out any toilet / pen issues that always come up and slow down the pace of the lesson.

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