Making Learning-Objectives Accessible Through Vocabulary
Let’s discuss using vocabulary to make learning-objectives accessible. The premise here rests on the practice of sharing our objectives with our students. Theoretically, doing so helps students to better understand the purpose and expected outcomes of a given lesson. If that is accurate, then the more we become comfortable and adept at sharing our objectives with students, the better they will learn.
When teachers get to a place in their craft where creating learning-objectives becomes relatively easy it is due, in part, to their having acquired a good bank of relevant vocabulary. Similarly, when students get to a place where they grasp the meaning of a learning-objective pertaining to a particular content area, it involves their also having acquired relevant vocabulary.
Once we recognize this, we are on the road to helping students get the most out of our instruction. We can help students to first learn task specific/content-area specific vocabulary that, in turn, can be used to inform and express our learning-objectives. The implications for this two-part process should not be underestimated. Revealing relevant vocabulary to students ahead of time and then using it with them in meaningful contexts not only facilitates how they will learn a given lesson, but how well they will learn it.
That all sounds great, right? But it also sounds like a whole lot of work! So, in the spirit of mitigating workloads through helpful shortcuts, here is a quite useful four-page vocabulary menu of objectives-starters, verbs, phrases, etc. to choose from. Plus, there are definitions conveniently included on the page entitled, “Language Frequently Used in Academic Task Instructions”.
If you skipped the link above, here it is again: http://ell.nwresd.org/sites/ell.nwresd.org/files/u6/Objective_Signal_Words.pdf
Just know, while you still may need to obtain some vocabulary from a content-area specific glossary in order to complete your objectives, this objectives vocabulary resource can save you time and “brain strain”! It also has the potential to provide us all with a tasks and objectives language in common. Thankfully, the folks who wrote it have shared it online, arguably making learning-objectives more accessible to teachers and students alike.
Postscript comic relief: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQFKtI6gn9Y