Should we let students work out lesson objectives for themselves?
In her exciting and refreshingly practical book The Spider Strategy, Marcella McCarthy draws our attention to a clever strategy called Invisible Sun.
The point of Invisible Sun is to keep students in the dark and purposely not tell them what the lesson objective (LO) is.
Marcella recommends that we have the LO written out somewhere but covered up and then students have to work out what this is as the lesson progresses.
This technique is an unusual way of engaging students as it gets them to speculate and unearth the purpose of their activities. It becomes a sort of mystery to solve and students have “a real sense of achievement when they get it right.”
Make It Fuzzy
Another way to approach the sharing or not sharing of LOs with students is to present them with options.
The Fuzzy Objectives strategy involves writing three objectives up at the beginning of a lesson that are visible.
By the end of the lesson, students have to work out two objectives that are incorrect or fuzzy and which one of the three objectives is the actual aim of the lesson.
Fuzzy Objectives might sound like it will confuse students but this depends on how you write the three alternatives. One of the best ways of writing them is to implant a couple of misconceptions as options and this will support students to recognise faulty thinking.
Try Invisible Sun and Fuzzy Objectives and share these ideas with your colleagues.