Teaching Is Not About the Teacher

The Necessity of Properly Written Educational Objectives

Have you ever heard a teacher make a statement like, “I don’t teach math, I teach students.” This is an interesting statement and this manner of thinking should impact each of us who are teachers. Regardless of what we are teaching, we must keep in mind that our focus ought to be the students, not the subject matter. We are placed into the classroom for the purpose of impacting our students; our goal should be to teach the subject matter in such a manner that each student is changed.

Properly Written Educational Objectives Are Essential for Effective Teaching

Are you writing educational objectives which focus on the student, the subject matter, or you—the teacher? For example, an objective written like this, “I will lecture on early American literature,” is focused on the subject matter, not the students. An objective written like this, “I will complete the unit on fractions,” is focused on the teacher. However, an educational objective written like this, “As a result of this unit of instruction, the student will match the fifty states and capitols,” is focused on the student and how he will be changed as a result of the instruction.

Do you see how student-centered objectives will generate the subject matter and methodology which will accomplish your objectives? Focusing on the end result in the life of each student will drive the teacher to teach the material in such a way that each student will be prepared to demonstrate the attainment of the objectives.

Properly Written Educational Objectives Are Essential for Effective Testing

The objective, “I will lecture on early American literature,” does not give any indication of how the teacher will measure to see if the objective has been met. However, “As a result of this unit of instruction, the student will match the fifty states and capitols,” sets up a system of test questions to measure if the objective has been met. Obviously, in this situation, a matching exercise will effectively measure if the objective has been reached.

Teachers shouldn’t be administering tests and quizzes as a method of punishment or filling time. Rather, tests and quizzes ought to be tools to determine if objectives are being met. It all ties together. The effective teacher plans a course and writes measurable objectives as a part of his plan. He then teaches the subject matter in an interesting manner which can be understood and which causes the student to learn. And, finally, he tests the students to measure whether or not the objectives have been met.

The key to writing measurable objectives is the use of action verbs which can be observed. Write your objectives with these types of verbs: identify, match, list, demonstrate, evaluate, critique, etc. Avoid using verbs which cannot be observed: know, understand, really know, learn, perceive, think, etc. Once you have written your educational objectives using measurable verbs, test writing will come easily. Simply write the questions in a manner which will measure those observable verbs.

An effective Christian teacher will plan, teach, and evaluate. That’s how we improve our teaching. That’s how we measure whether or not we are impacting our students in the classroom. After all, it’s all about them and the changes taking place in their lives. It’s not all about you and me!

If this article was a help to you, consider sharing it with your friends.