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Accelerated learning

Describe the anticipated outcomes

It is important that the teacher is clear about the learning objective of each lesson.  It is not enough to engage in an activity (however enjoyable) just because it keeps the class occupied for a lesson. 

 

In its Key messages about assessment for learning document (part of the Key Stage 3 Strategy), DfES says that "Teachers should start with what they want the pupils to learn and then decide what strategies and activities will best enable that learning.  Planning should be learning led not activity led."

 

The learning objective should be written clearly and simply and displayed for all to see throughout the lesson.  It is not always necessary (and may not be appropriate) for students to write this into their books.

 

The learning objective should be phrased in simple terms.  It has been suggested that teachers enlist the help of the useful acronyms; WALT, WILF and TIB.

  • "We Are Learning To ..." (the learning objective)

  • "What I'm Looking For ..." (the assessment criteria - how will I know if I have achieved the objective)

  • "This Is Because ..." (places this lesson into context)

If you are uncertain about setting learning objectives, ask yourself:

  • By the end of the lesson, what will the students know? ... and how will this be demonstrated?

  • What will they be able to do? ... and what new skill will they have acquired?

  • What will they have made or done? ... and what will they have learned in the process?

It is quite acceptable (indeed, it is good practice) to differentiate the outcomes.  E.g.: "By the end of the lesson all of you will be able to xxx, most of you will be able to yyy and a few of you may even be able to zzz."  This sets a baseline for everyone to aim for, without restricting those students with special aptitude.  Encourage students to set the appropriate target for themselves.

 

Help students get a sense of excitement about what they are learning.  After all, there are not many things that are as satisfying as mastering a new skill.  Doing so can create a sense of achievement and instil a sense of personal pride.  Enthuse students by telling them:

  • How they will feel?

  • How this is going to benefit them immediately and in the long term?

  • What opportunity there will be for them to demonstrate or use what they have learned?

Remember that boys in particular will respond to a sense of challenge.  Set them a target or a time limit.  Better still, encourage them to set themselves targets.

 

It may be appropriate to demonstrate the skill the students are working towards.

It may be appropriate to show them examples (e.g.: a musical composition, a dovetail joint, a still life sketch in the style of Cezanne, etc.)  If these examples have been made by other students (e.g. last year's Year 7 class), it reassures the students in the class that the outcome is within their reach.

Accelerated learning overview

Learning environment - The big picture - Outcomes - Input - Activity - Demonstration - Review