The Importance of Goals and Feedback in Improving Teacher Practice
As a teacher in the classroom, I taught the same three or four courses every year. And every time I sat down to plan instruction, I would refine and improve my worksheets, tests, and exams to better reach the learning goals for each lesson, unit, and course. But determining how close I got to those goals was a time-consuming and sometimes impossible task. And I was not alone: one study found that while teachers recognize the importance of critical thinking skills, they are not able to clearly define the skills necessary for critical thinking (Choy & Cheah, 2009). With its expertise in generating and categorizing questions into critical thinking goals, LessonWriter is a great resource for doing just that!
Types of Goals and Feedback
Not every student in each classroom has the same mastery of various critical thinking skills. For instance, some students may be struggling with reading comprehension, so you would want to concentrate on the goals of knowledge and comprehension. Meanwhile, another group within the same class—working with the same text—would already be comfortable with that work. These students would need more assistance with organizing and expressing ideas, with an emphasis on the higher-level goals of analysis and synthesis. The challenge is to ensure that an assignment meets the needs for each group within a class.
Strengths of Lessonwriter’s Goal-Setting and Feedback Features
With traditional methods of establishing goals and creating learning materials based on those goals, feedback about whether they have been achieved is both time-consuming and inexact. You may want to aim for 25% evaluation questions in a lesson, but short of precisely identifying the skills category for each question and keeping a running spreadsheet, how will you know? LessonWriter makes that easy: when you use the program for creating your learning materials, it keeps track of the percentage of questions that fall into each category.
How to Use LessonWriter’s Goal-Setting Features
LessonWriter not only lets you create as many differentiated groups within your class as necessary, but also provide feedback on how well you are meeting your instructional goals. For each group, choose a custom combination of critical thinking goals, including Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation—making sure that your total is 100%.
LessonWriter can help you in your classroom every day. Whether you need help differentiating instruction, supporting literacy across the curriculum, or crafting critical thinking tasks, Lessonwriter can help you reach your goals, while saving time!
Want to read more about defining and implementing goals in the classroom? Check out these great resources!