BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVES

 

Behavioral objectives that are useful in the classroom must meet certain criteria.  The four essential elements of a well-written behavioral objective are outlined below.  When writing a behavioral objective, evaluate it using these criteria.

 

1.   Good behavioral objectives are student-oriented.  A behavioral objective, which is student-oriented, places the emphasis upon what the student is expected to do, not upon what the teacher will do.

       Sometimes teachers use instructional goals which emphasize what they are expected to do rather than what they expect of their students.  Such teacher-oriented objectives only have the value to the extent that they direct the teacher to do something, which ultimately leads to student learning.  A teacher attempting to help his or her students attain the goal of solving long division problems may work out some of the problems on the blackboard, explaining each of the steps involved.  A teacher-oriented objective associated with this behavior might read something like:  "To explain the steps of long division on the blackboard."  Notice that this might be a helpful teacher activity, but it is only one of many possible activities that could help the students reach the goal of solving long division.

 

2.   Good behavioral objectives describe learning outcomes.  The important thing to keep in mind here is that we are interested in what the students will learn to do.  In other words, it is the learning outcome that is important, not the learning activities that should lead to that outcome.  To say that students will practice long division problems, using two different methods, is not to specify a learning outcome; it describes a process.  It specifies an activity designed to help the students reach some outcome.  As such, it is a student-oriented activity, not an outcome. Your objective should reflect outcome language, rather than process phrases.

 

        It may be helpful to you as a teacher to determine what kind of learning activities you may want your students to carry out.  However, determining which learning experiences and activities are most appropriate for your students can only be made after you have decided what it is you want your students to accomplish.  Once learning outcomes are identified and described, then activities that are appropriate for attaining those outcomes can be determined.

 

3.    Good behavioral objectives are clear and understandable.  The first prerequisite for a clear and understandable objective is explicitness.  It should contain a clearly stated verb that describes a definite action or behavior and, in most cases, should refer to an object of that action.  People observing the products of those behaviors should agree in their judgment about whether the behavior had occurred as stated.

 

4.    Good behavioral objectives are observable.  The evaluation of learning outcomes hinges on the ability to observe those outcomes.  The key to an observable objective is an observable verb.  Consequently, when selecting behavioral objectives for use in your teaching, watch the verbs! The verb must describe an observable action or an action that results in an observable products. 

OPENING A LESSON

INTRODUCTION

       Set induction refers to those actions and statements by the teacher that are designed to relate the experiences of the students to the objectives of the lesson.  Effective teachers use set induction to put students in a receptive frame of mind that will facilitate learning -- be it physical, emotional, or mental.

 

       Set induction has as its first purpose - to focus student attention on the lesson.  The first motivational function of the teacher is to engage the student in learning.

 

       As its second purpose, set induction attempts to create an organizing framework for the ideas, principles, or information, which is to follow.  Telling students in advance about the way in which a lesson is organized is likely to improve their comprehension and ability to recall and apply what they hear.

 

       A third purpose of set induction is to extend the understanding and application of abstract ideas through the use of example and analogy.  An idea or principle that is abstractly stated can be difficult for many students to comprehend.  Moreover, many students who do under-stand an idea or principle have difficulty in applying their knowledge to new situations.  The clever use of examples and analogies can do much to overcome such limitations.  The fourth and last purpose of set induction is to stimulate interest and involvement in the lesson.  The point here is that active involvement at the beginning of a lesson can increase curiosity and stimulate student interest in the lesson.

 

       An effective lesson introduction should have as its purpose at least one of the items listed and discussed above.  A good example is the teacher who wishes to teach the concept of categorizing and brings a collection of baseball cards, record jackets, or even a basket of leaves to class.  Then the students, divided into groups, are asked to categorize their collections and explain how and why the chose what they did.

 

Uses of Set Induction

1.    To focus the student's attention on the presentation the teacher is about to make by employing an activity, event, object, or person that relates directly to student interest or previous experience.

 

2.    To provide a structure or framework that enables the student to visualize the content or activities of the presentation.

 

3.    To aid in clarifying the goals of the lesson presentation.

 

4.    To provide a smooth transition from known or already covered material to new or unknown material by capitalizing on the use of examples (either verbal or nonverbal), analogies, and student activities which students have interest in or experience with.

 

5.    To evaluate previously learned material before moving on to the new material or skill-building activities by employing student-centered activities or student-developed examples or analogies that demonstrate understanding of previously learned content.

 

CLOSING A LESSON

CONCLUSION

 

       Closure refers to those actions or statements by teachers that are designed to bring a lesson presentation to an appropriate conclusion.  Teachers use closure to help students bring things together in their own minds, to make sense out of what has been going on during the course of the lesson.  A good way to think about closure is to consider it the complement of set induction.  If set induction is an initiating activity of the teacher, then closure is a culmination activity.  Research into the psychology of learning indicates that learning increases when teachers make conscious effort to help students organize the information presented to them and to perceive relationships based on that information.

 

       Closure, then, has as its first purpose to draw attention to the end of a lesson or lesson segment.  Many teachers have neglected the development of this important skill.  Often, typical closure procedure goes something like this:  "Okay.  There's the bell!  Get going!  You'll miss your next class!"  "Enough of this!  Let's close our books and line up for recess."  "The bell?  All right, we'll stop here and pick up at the same point tomorrow".  "Any questions?  No?  Good.  Let's move on to the next chapter.  These forms of closure completely ignore the fact that effective learning depends on the effective sequencing of lesson presentations.  And one of the most important events in effective sequencing is providing opportunity for feedback and review.  Closure must be planned just as carefully as its counterpart, set induction, and timing is critical.  The teacher must be aware of the clock and must begin to initiate closure proceedings well before the activity is due to end.

      

       A lesson's conclusion is not enough.  A great deal of information and a great many activities may have been covered, and it is the teacher's responsibility to tie it all together into a meaningful whole.

 

       Finally, closure has as its third purpose to consolidate or reinforce the major points to be learned.   Having signaled the end of the lesson and made an effort to organize what has occurred, the teacher should briefly refocus on the key ideas or processes presented in the lesson.  The ultimate objective here is to help the students retain the important information presented in the lesson and thus increase the probability that he or she will be able to recall and use the information at some later time.  Closure, then, is the skill of reviewing the new points of a lesson, of tying them together into a coherent whole, and finally, of ensuring their use by anchoring them in the student's larger conceptual framework.

 

Uses of Closure

            1.    Attempts to draw student's attention to a closing point in the lesson.

            2.    Reviews major points of teacher-centered presentation.

            3.    Reviews sequence used in learning material during the presentation.

            4.    Provides summary of important student-oriented discussion.

            5.    Relates lesson to original principle or concept.

            6.    Attempts to lead students to extend or develop new knowledge from previously learned concepts.

            7.    Allows students to practice what they have learned.

 

(Note:  Closure does not have to be teacher-centered.  Have your students do one of the above-mentioned items.)