Teaching 101: Start with what you want learners to learn, your objectives, then work back from there to design the learning. I’ve written about how I think teachers should ‘start with why‘, but in ‘Making Learning Happen‘ Phil Race brings something else to this idea.
On the concept of learning objectives, he writes:
“We should not just start with some outcomes, then work out some criteria whereby we measure whether students have achieved them or not. The evidence of achievement is what it is all about – the learning outcomes are really a means of setting the scene for the area in which the students will head towards furnishing this evidence.” (Race, 2010:44)
Throughout the book, Race argues that the best way for effective learning to happen is for learners to be actively doing something, a well worn argument, but his application of this to the design of lessons and learning experiences above is one of the most persuasive arguments for a ‘maker curriculum‘ I have come across.
If learning is all about being able to apply what you have learned in different contexts then perhaps we should do as Race suggests, and ‘start with how’; how are learners going to demonstrate their learning, what are they going to do, and what will it actually be useful for. Rather than starting with the abstract learning objectives, maybe we should start with the objectives of the learning.
Race, P (2010) Making Learning Happen: A Guide for Post Compulsory Education. 2nd Edition. London: Sage.
Photo: (cc) Ryan Joy on Flickr