Smart objectives for lesson plans

Written by david stewart
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Lesson planning competencies are important for an educator. Having a lesson plan ensures that you set goals and outcomes for students, and motivates you to reach them as well. In addition, it helps you manage your time and assess student progress constantly. The SMART -- Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely -- method of lesson-planning enables you set realistic goals and outcomes for students.

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Set Aims and Objectives

Aim is the purpose of your lesson. What is the purpose of the day's class? What lesson are you going to teach? From aims come objectives. Objectives refer to what you expect your students to do after completion of the lesson. If you are a technology teacher and your class for the day is on, say, Windows 95 Operating System,, your purpose or aim is to familiarise your class with Windows 95 OS. You expect your students to be familiar with Windows 95 OS interface by the end of the class, which forms your objective.

Make Objectives Specific

In order to be SMART, objectives need to be as specific as possible. Taking the Windows 95 lesson-planning example, "Familiarize students with Windows 95 interface" is a general vague objective. You can make it specific by listing different objectives such as "To show students Windows 95 screen and desktop elements," "To teach students to use the mouse on Windows 95 desktop."

Decide Evaluation Parameters

A SMART objective is measurable. You can evaluate a student's progress on the lesson only when you can measure the objective. For the Windows 95 lesson plan, you can make the objective measurable by declaring students that have achieved a specific task as successful. For example, "Each student should list at least five Windows 95 screen elements in his notebook after switching off the screen. He should use the mouse competently and select at least 5 items on the screen in the very first attempt."

Ensure Achievable and Relevant Objectives

The objectives you set must be realistic and achievable for students. For example, you need to have computers and your students should have appropriate vocabulary pronunciation and understanding skills for the Windows 95 lesson plan to succeed. Similarly, the lesson plan should be relevant to students. For example, the Windows 95 lesson plan could help students in their upcoming school project or the technical vocabulary could be of use in their literacy lesson class.

Define Objective Time-Span

What is the time limit for a lesson? How much time do you intend to give to teaching students about Windows 95 interface? You could define a time limit such as "Two half-hour classes to teach students about Windows 95 desktop and interface." It is important to understand your students' learning capabilities and review your lesson presentation strategies to come up with a realistic time-span.

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