The University of Iowa

Clearly Communicating the Learning Objective Matters!


Explicitly communicating objectives is a tenet of effective instruction for students with learning difficulties, yet the practice is often overlooked in research. This case study of a novice middle school geography teacher illustrates how the qualitative and quantitative differences in the ways a teacher communicates the learner expectation can influence both student learning and behavior. Contrary to concerns that objective-led lessons result in student passivity and superficial learning, lessons that maintained a focus on a well-crafted objective actually increased student engagement and fostered opportunities for deeper thinking. Examples of the three steps in clearly communicating objectives are provided in connection with teacher-student dialogue, highlighting what happens when the steps are and are not present in the instruction. (Contains 3 figures.)


Reed, D. K. (2012). Clearly communicating the learning objective matters! Middle School Journal, 43(5), 16-24.

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