Working through the Extend Teacher for Learning Module, the activity Misunderstood resonated with me. It seems that there are one or two concepts which persist as issues year after year. Even when explained once, they are often immediately confused. One of the concepts my students tend to have a lot of trouble with is Goals vs. Objectives. I can explain it one week and the next, there is confusion again.
After a few years of showing a slide with text that explained the difference and having no success in having it stick in student memories, I went to a new graphical format.
Ahhhh! That seemed to do the trick! Make it visual, make it a story. Then students will remember.
My new approach shows Frodo setting off to drop the One Ring into Mount Doom. The mount has a goal post and shows the ring dropping in – reaching a goal. The goal is something that is further off and defines the direction that they must go in. The objectives are a series of measurable steps that must be taken to achieve the goal. So in my new description, Frodo and Sam have to complete a number of objectives before they can get to the goal. These objectives show tangible things they need to obtain or do. Obtain food for the trip, sharpen Sting, walk the first leg of the journey to Rivendell. These objectives need to be accomplished before they can get to the goal
My learning from this is that when students seem to be stumbling with learning a concept or coming back repeatedly to ask for clarification, it means that the story needs to change. Misunderstood concepts need to have a new perspective that’s relatable in order to achieve that “Oh! I get it now!” moment.