The road to hell

No, that’s not intended to betray any kind of supressed love for the music of Chris Rea.

A little arithmetic to begin:


That 13 is a number of hours, by the way. Think of it another way. That’s 13 literacy or numeracy lessons, or somewhere a little shy of 3 full school days. This is a little estimate of the annual time expenditure on writing out lesson objectives in exercise books, assuming it to be done twice a day.

Of course, writing down the learning objective, along with some little checkboxes to colour in/draw smiley face, takes many pupils more than the slightly conservative 2 minutes that I have allowed in my calculation. That 13 hours could so easily be 19.5 or even 26 with younger primary pupils. Imagine that. 26 hours spent on… not an awful lot.

I’m not opposed to sharing learning objectives per se, nor with sharing them with children: but laboriously recording them, along with AfL boxes, on each and every piece of work done in literacy and maths represents time that could be better spent. The teacher or teaching assistant spending time printing then sticking them into books on students’ behalves is no better a use of time.

2 responses to “The road to hell

  1. It’s a neat point but there are 2 things to consider here.
    1) Writing down LOs is not the point. Often this is just an exercise in tutting at the slowest writer. But, there’s a fair amount of evidence (much of it from Dylan Wiliam) which explains why communicating the LO makes more than merely a marginal gain in children’s learning – if they can articulate what they’re supposed to be learning then they have so much more control over what’s going on in their lessons.
    2) I’ve completely failed to copy & paste links to some blogs into your comment box – probably the fault of my iPad. But try googling 50 ways to introduce learning objectives for some more imaginative ways of using LOs in lessons. Some of these may take longer than 2 minutes but there may be other learning occurring.

    And yes, drawing AfL boxes is just the work of Satan and is to be shunned.

  2. Thanks for the comments David – sorry it didn’t pop up immediately; I’m new to this and still haven’t switched off comment moderation. It’s really gratifying to get feedback and you are the first comment directly on my blog.

    I actually agree that it is important for teachers to ensure that pupils know what they are supposed to be learning. This is an issue that I will be returning to.

    The intention here was to a highlight a particular practice, as an exemplar of a low educational impact secretarial task which, in the context of a single lesson seems innocuous enough, until the opportunity cost of this activity is fully extrapolated. I’m glad you agree that AfL tick boxes are a time waste. Yet there are still consultants & SLT members insisting that this be done, under the banal auspices of ‘best practice’.

    I’m always on the lookout for quality link bait, and only last night came across some really inspiring ideas on LO/LI/WALT being treated usefully, purposefully and creatively to actually support learning

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