Clarifying Learning Goals

With planning currently being in the spotlight of school life, it’s an ideal time to clarify some common misconceptions amongst certain planning terms.

Learning Goals

A good lesson plan will come to enhance a good lesson. It makes sure that the lesson has been thought out before hand, and is well prepared for. It aids towards having a clear lesson structure and ensuring that adequate time has been allocated for the introduction, main body and plenary. In this post, I will focus on other parts of the lesson plan, specifically, the lesson objectives/goals and outcomes/success criteria.

Learning targets/goals/objectives, are all the same and should describe, in child friendly language, what the children will be learning in that particular lesson. The way in which they are worded is what makes them different to the Teaching objective, which has the specific curriculum links. They should start with a verb to map the learning outcome, following Bloom’s taxonomy relevant levels of learning. Refresh your memory by looking at the image below, I bet it brings back memories of when you were studying to become a teacher. It sure did for me… 😉


Schools use different systems for setting objectives and teachers will be expected to follow those specific guidelines. However, no matter what system is used, according to the TES, pupils are advised to copy the learning objectives into their books so that they can refer to them both during and after the lesson. This keeps both pupils and teachers from swaying away from them; it also helps with pupils’ self-assessments.

When setting the learning objectives, one needs to be clear about what you expect the learning outcomes a.k.a success criteria to be. Not all pupils will be able to access the knowledge, skills or understanding in the same way, which means that the outcomes need to be differentiated.

To set the learning outcomes, teachers need to ask themselves:

  • By the end of this lesson, what do I want pupils to know?
  • What should pupils be able to understand?
  • What should pupils be able to do?

These statements may be expressed using the language of differentiation, like this:

  • All pupils
  • Most pupils
  • Some pupils

Remember that learning outcomes or the success criteria need to be ‘SMART’

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and TIME-BOUND.

Once your outcomes are clear, assessment methods to gauge pupils learning, will be easier to decide upon.

There are many different ways to display the learning objectives in your classroom and you will find lots of ideas on Pinterest and other such sites. Here is what I have chosen to do this year, and so far I find it works very well. The children are actively engaged by reading it and knowing what to expect for the week to come. The learning objectives/goals are changed every Friday at the end of the school day so that they are ready for the following week!

Learning Goals

Here is an example of the Literacy learning objectives for the week:

FullSizeRender 2

I hope this post will help you, fellow colleague, with your planning.

Happy planning! ❤

Till next time…

Peppi Orfanogianni


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