Making it Clear: The Importance of Educational Objectives

The best instructional objectives I’ve created not only gave my students a clear understanding of what was expected of them, but a motivational incentive to embrace the learning materials. It’s been demonstrated repeatedly that the incorporation of music and art increase a child’s enthusiasm and grasp of the materials.

I therefore try to utilize the arts in my classroom whenever possible. A recent lesson on the California Missions provided an excellent opportunity to challenge my students to demonstrate their newly gained knowledge through the use of their individual creativity.

Students were asked to create a model of the California Mission of their choice, and to write and accompanying report about it. We also learned and preformed some of the music regularly heard in the missions at that time.

By integrating these aspects into the curriculum, the students felt that they were getting a chance to do something new and different in class, and to display talents not normally rewarded in traditional classroom settings. Parents were rewarded with a performance by their child, and the student’s models supplied an educational artifact, serving to remind them of the lesson and what a “super cool” teacher instructs them.

Test scores were markedly higher when compared to assignments in which students were simply asked to write a report; oral presentations by the students were vastly improved, and parent involvement substantially increased.

While I use no particular educational model regularly, I find that augmenting the textbook’s instructional objectives with my own criteria almost uniformly results in a far more successful educational experience.

As a student, I’ve always found clearly stated instructional objectives to be essential. With them, learning the material and demonstrating that learning is readily achievable. Without them, you’re shooting in the dark, only hoping to hit the instructor’s undefined educational target.

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